When you’re developing your website, most times it will only be available on your local system. In order make it accessible to anyone, your website must be hosted on a server. A server is a powerful computer that must stay online 24/7 ready to serve up data for the websites it houses.
Servers are physically located in data centers, which are typically run and managed by different web hosting companies.
There are different types of servers with different benefits and drawbacks, thus there are different types of web hosting.
Types of Web Hosting
- Shared Hosting
- VPS Hosting
- Dedicated Hosting
- Cloud Hosting
- Methods of Hosting
- Managed Hosting
- Static Hosting
- Most basic type of hosting
- Good for small/unpopular websites
- Share resources w/ other websites on a single server
- If another website on your server has a traffic spike, it could negatively affect your site’s performance
- Easy to set up. Doesn’t require much technical knowledge
Great for beginners & small websites; those who don’t require much on-site interaction (10 – 20,000 month visits)
Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting is a middle-ground between Shared Hosting and Dedicated Hosting. Typically, when a website outgrows Shared Hosting, it will migrate to VPS Hosting.
With VPS Hosting, you are still sharing a server with other websites, but not as many. The server is broken up into smaller “virtual” servers with their own individual configurations.
This hosting benefits tech-savvy website owners because it allows them to make custom changes to their server configuration.
- Dedicated server resources.
- Ability to make custom configurations to your server.
- Higher uptime rates and faster loading speeds.
- More cost-effective than a dedicated server.
- Sharing the main server with other websites.
- Not as easy to set up as a shared server.
- Still has limitations in terms of what you can control.
With Dedicated Hosting, you will have a server that belongs to you and only you.
They’re great because…
- Top of the line in web hosting
- Site operates at peak performance
- Complete technical control over server
But they also have problems such as…
- one of the most expensive web hosting options
- high level of tech expertise required for installation & management
Dedicated Hosting is mostly for websites that get a high-level of traffic (>100,000 monthly visits), need the highest level of security, and/or need complete control of their server configuration.
Cloud hosting is a newer type of web hosting. It can best be described as a hybrid version of a VPS, but more cost-effective.
Unlike traditional hosting in which your website is stored on a single server, cloud hosting plans come with multiple servers, each with its own responsibilities. If one goes down, the others help to pick up the slack, making your website more immune to server malfunctions.
- High security
- Scale resources on demand & only pay for what you need
- Less unexpected downtime
- Pricing isn’t always fixed
- Unpredictable traffic can increase costs
- Limited customization
Methods of Hosting
I couldn’t really think of the perfect word to differentiate them, so I just went with methods, but basically by “Methods of Hosting” I mean that it is not a different type of server but rather a particular way of using a server / type of web hosting.
Managed Hosting isn’t so much a type of hosting as an IT provisioning model. All managed hosting entails is that the hosting company will handle the hardware and software setup, configuration, and maintenance of your server resources. Most hosting packages you will find online are likely to be managed.
Static Hosting is basically hosting for static websites. Static websites are fixed-content, HTML-based websites that display the same information to all visitors.
Static websites and static hosting have re-emerged as an effective way of stripping the unnecessary complexities from the (simple) web development process. They are great for performance and simplicity if you don’t need anything rendered on the server.
“Cheap” Static Hosting Options: Bluehost, Hostinger, etc.
Free Static Hosting Options: Github Pages, Netlify, Amazon S3, Firebase
Which option best fits you?
Shared Hosting: The most cost-effective option for low traffic websites
VPS Hosting: websites that have outgrown shared hosting
Dedicated Hosting: Enterprise-level servers for large websites
Cloud Hosting: Works best for websites that are growing rapidly and need scalable resources