You should understand the different types of website hosting available to you before your make your decision on what is right for you.
Although hosting companies use different terminology for what they offer and how much it costs, this should be a quick guide to get you started:
Free Website Hosting
Free website hosting is absolutely free. Typically, these companies use an advertising model to produce revenues but this is an excellent choice for personal website where you may not care about uptime or advertisements.
Free web hosting servers have declined recently due to the unsustainable revenue that it generates, but if your website isn’t mission critical (and you don’t mind if the company goes belly-up one day), then this is perfectly fine.
Shared Website Hosting
Shared website hosting means that the server your website is hosted on has many other websites as well. This means that resources such as computing power (CPU), web traffic (bandwidth) and web space (hard drive space) is limited.
Because of the low cost, this is usually a good starter-service. However, since it is in a shared hosting environment, if one website gets hacked, spams out or takes up a lot of resources, your website will be affected.
Dedicated Website Hosting
Dedicated website hosting means that the server your website is hosted on is dedicated to your company. Issues such as resources and hacking from a neighbor’s website is not a concern. The tradeoff here is cost. You will have to purchase, lease or rent the hardware yourself. The software is also your responsibility.
Co-located servers means you are renting space from a data center and you put in your own hardware. This is a good mix between shared website hosting and dedicated website hosting.
Virtual Private Servers
Virtual private servers are like dedicated servers, except it is on the same machine as other companies. This is all handled through “magic software” but basically, a portion of the server is segregated as “your server” and resource issues such as your VPS neighbor’s hard-drive space or CPU does not affect you.
Cloud computing uses a network of servers to simulate one server. The advantage is that your system can handle large spikes in traffic or hard-drive space because you are sharing the resources of the “cloud” network. The drawback is cost.
Managed Website Hosting
The options mentioned above are “do-it-yourself” services so you will need a certain level of technical expertise before you can use them.
Managed website hosting is often a totally managed solution. This means if you have issues with installing a new software patch or your website is being hacked, the managed company will help you to handle all of your problems. Typically managed solutions are more expensive than do-it-yourself solutions.
Another article will address “Which type of website hosting is right for you?”