Before attempting to get a web hosting provider, it is important to understand the basics of web hosting and what is available out there. If your head spins when you see the words “dedicated,” “virtual” or “shared,” a refresher is in order, as the web hosting industry can be quite confusing for the first-timer.
Here is a rundown on the different types of web hosting:
Shared and Virtual Web Hosting
Both shared and virtual web hosting are the same. This means that several virtual web servers will be hosted on a single host server. The number of websites sharing a single server can be in hundreds or even thousands. This is the type of hosting that is used by almost 90% of internet users.
Reseller Web Hosting
Reseller hosting is almost like owning a small web hosting company. This is hosting that allows you to create smaller hosting accounts to either given them away free or sell them to others and make money. You can create and control your very own cluster of websites, instead of using different hosting accounts for each website. Everything is under one roof.
Dedicated Web Hosting
This is the father of all other hosting plans. This plan is used by all the major websites you see. It is called dedicated when the server only hosts your website, in total contrast to the shared hosting where hundreds of websites are hosted on a single server. This hosting helps websites that have a lot of traffic, need a large amount of disk space and other services that are completely dedicated to them alone. You are the master of the server and the hosting company manages the equipment and connectivity, while the rest of the nuances have to be handled by you. But you must remember that while you have full control of the server, you do not own it.
There are two types of dedicated hosting; Unmanaged and Managed. This may be cheaper but you will also have to take up the responsibility of managing the server. For more information, read about Managed and Unmanaged hosting here.
Virtual Dedicated Web Hosting (VPS)
This type of hosting gives users a feeling of a dedicated hosting with their website being the only one on a server. In reality, the server hosts several other users, but separates the main server into several virtual servers. When you hear people talking about VPS, now you know what they mean.
Free Web Hosting
These services are offered completely free to users. This is great for beginners hosting their first website or creating a website for personal use, but you do get what you pay for. You are given limited options and the web hosts place advertisements on your pages in place of a fee.
Colocation Web Hosting
This is almost like a dedicated hosting service and the users own the colocation server. The company that is hosting the site will provide users the space to use the server, electrical support and internet access. A good collocation web hosting service may prove to be more expensive than the other types of hosting, but for businesses, it works out cheaper than hosting their servers in-house, while having better security.
Clustered hosting spreads the load of hosting across several servers, increasing availability. By clustering services across different servers and eliminating single points of failure, availability of your website is increased and you also benefit from several other services. For example, on a single hosting, if a reboot is needed, it stops functioning for sometime; whereas in clustered hosting, the service is always available. Many of the large websites use this form of hosting, as downtime is non-existent in this set up. It is almost like cloud hosting, where the resources of several servers are made available for a website to use when the need arises.
This is nothing but hosting your website or websites on a server at home. Most people convert their computers as servers to use for this purpose. It is connected to a broadband service.
These are the different types of web hosting plans offered by web hosts. Now that you know what each one entails, it is time to go ahead and host your first website online.