Web hosts provide servers to customers. For the vast majority of website owners, a managed “shared server” is provided by a web hosting company. This is just what it sounds like: A bunch of website owners just like you share a single server that’s maintained by your web host. Besides the very occasional downtime, you otherwise don’t give your server another thought. There’s also “dedicated servers” which are only for websites that have over 3,000 unique visitors each day. It’s the same as a shared server, but you get the server all to yourself.
For many people, that’s all there is to web hosting—but they’re wrong. There are numerous types of hosting options out there. Some of them are subcategories of shared or dedicated servers. Here’s everything you need to know about types of web hosting to make the best decision for you, your website and business:
1. Free web hosting
This is a niche of shared web hosting, but worth noting. Instead of charging customers for web hosting, these companies offer limited services and may get revenue from advertising. However, when compared to paid web hosting, free web hosting simply can’t compete (of course). Like Hostt’s free hosting option.
2. Virtual dedicated server
Obviously, this is a type of dedicated server, but it splits up the resources of the server into a series of virtual servers. It keeps the resources delegated away from the hardware, which is often extremely high quality when you get into dedicated server territory. In some instances, the customers might be in charge of maintaining the server.
3. Reseller web hosting
This basically lets customer be the web host, and reseller accounts can come in a wide range of sizes. Some resellers let customers have total control, while others provide nearly as much tech support as a standard shared server provider.
4. Colocation web hosting
This is kind of like having a dedicated server, but in this case the client owns the colo server—not a dedicated server. You pay for the space the server uses, and your web host takes care of all maintenance. Unsurprisingly, this is the costliest web hosting you can get. However, bear in mind that the support you get is usually just for electrical, storage facility, etc. The actual support of the machine is up to the client (upgrades, etc.).
5. Cloud hosting
This is the newest kind of hosting and lets customers scale their hosting needs with clustered servers that are load-balanced. Many times, websites hosting via cloud are more reliable, which his party why cloud computing is a multi-billion dollar business according to Forbes. They’re not as vulnerable to natural disaster or local power outages, and clients only have to pay for the resources they actually consume (not a monthly fee). However, since there’s no centralization, this can cause privacy concerns for some customers.
6. Grid hosting
This is a type of distributed hosting. A number of nodes work together to create a grid, or server cluster, for a type of shared hosting package.
7. Clustered hosting
The umbrella of grid hosting, this is an approach that uses a number of servers that host identical content. The goal is optimized utilization of resources. It’s a great option for dedicated hosts, and it can keep database hosting and web serving separated.
8. Home servers
This is when a dedicated server is placed in a residence. You can host as many websites as you like (within reason) via a broadband connection. Oftentimes, old PCs are used to build these home servers, and they might be blocked on some ISPs.
How do you know which type of hosting is best for you? Do your research, ask questions, and heed warnings when one host offers an exceptionally high or low rate.