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Web Hosting Types: Understanding Key Features, Advantages and Differences

Jul 26, 2019 | Web Design, Web Hosting, WordPress


For any website to be successful enough to attract traffic in the long run, it is imperative that the front end, i.e. design element graphics, and content should be top-notch. However, once you have your website up and running, you will realize that while content is important. But so too is the need to host it in a manner that ensures that it remains safe from lagging and crashing issues.

This would be in the form of a hosting service that must be very reliable. Moreover, it should have the ability to offer continuous and seamless back-end support as well. This way, the visitors at your site won’t have to face any lagging issues

It is very important that you understand your own requirements precisely, before making a final selection of your service provider. In other words, you have to understand your very own needs and personal goals regarding your website.

Latency and Downtime Can Kill Even the Most Promising Websites

No one likes to wait for a website to open. And in today’s 4G enabled IT environment, a customer is liable to close any website that does not open within 2 to 3 seconds at most. This means that your web hosting choice is critically important for the success of your website.

Similarly, ‘downtime’ can also adversely affect your site’s reputation. Downtime may be described as the amount of time the site is unavailable to the audience. If people can’t access your website, then there is no point in having one at all.

Both latency and downtime can also affect your ranking on the popular search engines. Even if you use all the right keywords and content, it will still not feature in the top 10 rankings. This is because search engine algorithms are now smart enough to select only websites that are fast and accessible 24/7.

Switching from Free Web Hosting to A Paid Option

This is why you have to find that ideal web hosting service that will allow your small business to grow and evolve with the market in which you operate.

However, a plethora of web companies compete for your business and all of them have multiple web hosting plans. This creates a lot of confusion for a newbie. Add all the high tech jargon such as GB, bandwidth, DNS, etc. And many people interested in setting up an online business will become discouraged, due to the sheer complexity of the task.

Paid Options are Good Only for Growing Web Hosting Needs

Moreover, you should keep in mind the fact that even as your online business will grow, your web hosting needs will also increase and become increasingly more complex. While free and relatively inexpensive web hosting plans may seem ideal when your online business is in the startup phase. However, excess bandwidth usage can also mean increased latency. if your website becomes popular enough, the massive surge of visitors can also cause it to crash. This is the best time to beef up the site by switching to a high quality paid option.

You will have to look at your web hosting option along the lines of a steady progression from small to large scale hosting plans that should reflect the growth rate of your business.

However, figuring out the different types of web hosting services and their many pros and cons can be a highly challenging exercise, given the many options that are currently available today. Let us take a look at a few of the more common ones:

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is the most common type of hosting because it is one of the least expensive of the “paid” options, however it is exactly what the term implies. Basically, your website is hosted on a particular server that is shared by hundreds, if not thousands, of other websites. The main advantage of this type of set up is its shared cost. In fact, you have to pay as little as $5 to $10 per month for the privilege of sharing a very server with other websites.

Drawback of Shared Hosting

The biggest drawback of this sort of shared hosting account is that you will be at the mercy of the various other websites being hosted by the same server. This means that popular websites can affect the performance of all the sites that are hosted on the server. A very high rate of traffic can increase the latency levels of the server and all the sites that it hosts. If your site is also included in such a plan, then it will also suffer in the same way.

You also have security concerns to consider. While most shared hosting providers take security somewhat seriously, and you can trust them to look after the server to the best of their ability, what about all the other thousands of websites you are sharing the server with? Can you trust them to keep it safe? If any of them are lax with their online security they may be opening up “doorways” to let in the “bad guys” to every other site they are sharing the server with.

And, because you are sharing the same IP address on a shared server with other websites, if one of them is conducting fraudulent or shady activities on the server there is a high chance that your own website might be mistaken for theirs and blacklisted by search engines, warning visitors that your site is “unsafe” to visit. This can damage your reputation with your customers and clients.

A neighboring site that is hosting pornography, gambling or other types of content that search engines don’t want to index could prevent your site from indexing and ranking in search. Or, one that is spamming email from the server can get your emails marked as spam too, because you are sharing the same IP address as them. This means important emails might be blocked from reaching your clients and customers.

As a general rule, most new entrepreneurs who are in the process of starting any sort of online business start off with their own version of a shared hosting plan in order to minimize costs. Since they are not likely to attract a ton of traffic initially, it makes sense to opt for a shared hosting option, as long as they are aware of the pitfalls and problems that come with it.

Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting Service

A VPS hosting service is not the same as a dedicated server, but it is nonetheless, a reasonably close facsimile that basically operates within a shared hosting environment. This is a step above shared hosting.  But less expensive than acquiring your very own dedicated server. This is the ideal option for any small company that does not have the financial resources for using a dedicated server but still needs more control.

The biggest disadvantage of such servers is that they may not be able to handle large volumes of visitor traffic or sudden spikes in user activity.  Apart from that, your website’s performance is still affected by other websites that are present on the server.

However, by dividing the web hosting server into a series of virtual servers it is possible to ensure that every website is hosted on its own server. This holds true even if they all share the same physical server.

The most common users of a VPS hosting service are website owners who do not have the financial resources, or the technical knowledge needed to acquire their own dedicated web hosting service.

What is a VPS all about?

Basically, a virtual private server offers the low-cost benefits of shared hosting.  But it provides the same level of control as dedicated hosting. This way it is possible to customize your own software package on the server without relying on the server’s own legacy software systems.

Although we do not offer direct website hosting (i.e. we aren’t a re-seller in the traditional sense), we also offer website hosting to our clients as well.  Each client gets their own cPanel to use for logging in, the same as any other hosting service would offer.

When our clients hosting with us they are assigned to one of our VPS servers and the only people they share the server with are our other clients (we don’t do public hosting). So we are keenly aware of how many sites are on each server and what type of activities they are doing from that server. This ensures that their site doesn’t fall prey to the issues that can occur with shared hosting services.

It is also possible to limit the number of sites per server, latency on our servers and we can adjust things to make sure our clients get the best possible speeds. We can also ensure great security and hosting experience for their website.

For just a few dollars more a month. And by “a few” we mean anywhere from $3 to $7 over the average cost of a shared server.  Our valued clients get a superior hosting solution, at an excellent price. This is better than what they would get on the open market.

It’s a win for them and we feel good knowing our client’s website are performing at their best!

Reseller Web Hosting

Reseller hosting packages may be defined as a shared hosting account that comes with a few extra tools that will help the user to resell the hosting space. This is a relatively inexpensive option and can cost you around $15 to $50 per month. Depending on either feature and/or resource limitations or both.

This is a great plan if you intend to sell web hosting space as an important part of just about any business. But if you just want to host your site on a tight budget, you might be better off with a shared hosting plan.

Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting is fast becoming an increasingly popular option in the hosting industry. The term “Cloud” with reference to hosting services can have different connotations in different contexts.  E.g with hosting, it usually means many computers and servers working together.

And also running applications while using their combined computing resources. In a nutshell, this is a web hosting solution that has the potential to work through a network.

Here the internet enables different companies from all over the world to consume computing resource just like a power utility. This way it is possible for any company to use as many resources as they need. Albeit without the need to build and also maintain their very own computing infrastructure.

A great advantage of the cloud is that the resources required for maintaining a website are spread across multiple servers. This can substantially reduce the chance of downtime because of a server malfunction. Moreover, cloud-based hosting services are also highly scalable.

This means that it is possible for your site to grow over time. In a nutshell, you will be able to use the cloud’s resource as per your own requirements. And you will have to pay only for what you need and use.

Managed Web Hosting Services

Most hosting packages available today are almost certainly going to be managed by the service providers. Here, many different companies will come together to provide technical services. This includes software and setup and configuration. Apart from that, hardware replacement and maintenance patching and technical support aspects are also part of the deal.

Unlike the usual standard dedicated hosting packages, the hosting provider will also look after the day-to-day management of the OS. Furthermore, it will also focus on hardware, and other standardized applications.

WordPress Managed Hosting

This is a popular sub-category. The sheer beauty of WordPress lies in its innate simplicity. Its benefits are clear for many businesses. It is easy to set up and it is also very straightforward to manage. However, choosing a hosting provider exclusively for a WordPress site can be an arduous task.

Especially for those novices who do not have the requisite expert level knowledge or experience of the market. In order to fill this niche many web hosting companies specialize in WordPress managed hosting services.

Co-Locating Hosting Servers

It is not necessary to waste space and financial resources by keeping servers in-house or even at a private data center. You might consider ‘co-locating’ your hosting equipment by renting a small space in a co-location center.

This center will be a nexus point that will provide the bandwidth, power, and cooling systems that are necessary for keeping your server fully functional.  Space is usually rented out in different racks and cabinets that are present at the co-location site.

The main advantage of a co-location site is that it gives you easy access to very higher levels of bandwidth than any usual office server room. Albeit at a lower cost.

Taking Care of Ancillary Services

However, it is pertinent to note that you will be literally left to your own devices. In other words, you will have to take care of everything including the software the hardware and any auxiliary services that you might need.

While you may be able to hire an onsite systems administrator, it will be a hassle to make sure that he is on the job. There is also a very real chance of theft or unauthorized access to your valuable equipment.

Dedicated Servers

Acquiring dedicated server hosting means renting an actual physical server from your hosting company. This way you will have near-total control. For example, you will have access to Linux’s “root” permissions.

With a dedicated server, there is no need to worry about various other websites. This goes for any sort of shared server space. Especially one that can take up your resources while slowing your website down.

A dedicated server is usually the highest level of hosting service you will need. Especially if your online business is able to grow into a very large business. That is, one that attracts a lot of website traffic from your target market. Its main drawback is its cost vis-à-vis shared hosting.

But this should not be an issue because using a dedicated server means that the business has already reached a certain point. One where it can easily afford the required costs of acquiring your own server. The cost might be north of $100. But you might have to hire your own system’s administrator in order to utilize your dedicated server to its full potential.


Ultimately, whichever option you choose from so many different web hosting types, each will come with its own advantages and disadvantages. It’s important to know your options, before you settle on a hosting solution for your website. And to understand the pros and cons of each solution. Feel free to ask any questions about hosting you may have. We are happy to help!

If you are planning on using our company to build your new site, we highly recommend that you hold off on purchasing hosting until we discuss your project. I think you will find that we can offer a superior solution to what you will find on the open market.

Nora Kramer Designs, Team 2

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