Theoretically, any web hosting plan can be used to run a website. However, to be able to choose a hosting plan that is best suited for the online project you need to understand what are the differences between types of web hosting services.
Admittedly, many web hosting providers do offer multiple types of hosting service:
- Shared Hosting
- Dedicated Hosting
- VPS (virtual private hosting)
- Reseller Web Hosting
Besides these “commercial web hosting services” we can also mention the “free hosting” and “home hosting” that are hard to recommend but must be discussed so that you have a comprehensive understanding of the matter at hand.
Shared Web Hosting Service
Shared Hosting is one of the most common hosting services, where the web hosting provider is using one server (computer) to provide hosting services for multiple clients (meaning that clients share computer resources). Because clients “share” resources, the overall cost of hosting is relatively low, making it very appealing for the end-user.
Modern computers (and especially servers) are more than capable of providing hosting services for multiple websites, meaning that Shared Hosting will be an adequate choice for most websites, while only a website that is highly resource-heavy (compute and/or storage wise) would need a better one.
Dedicated Web Hosting Service
Dedicated Hosting is a service that provides dedicated server resources that are at the disposal of your website 24/7. What this means is that a specific amount of CPU cores, RAM, and storage space is dedicated to your website even if it does not need that much.
This kind of hosting is the best choice for compute-heavy websites, developer projects, large online shops that serve hundreds of visitors at once.
Additionally, Dedicated Hosting usually provides “root” access to the underlying resources (full control over the server) which in turn provides more hands-on control with how the website runs including the ability to operate settings on the level of the OS.
We must note that the Dedicated Hosting can be provided as “managed” or “unmanaged” and in turn, this dictates the price of the service. The managed service includes different levels of support from the hosting company staff (hence the higher price), while unmanaged leaves complete server management into the user’s hands and as such is a much cheaper service.
Virtual Private Server hosting
The VPS service is a kind of hybrid between shared and dedicated hosting services, where the overall experience is much more similar to dedicated servers with the “root” access to resources and the overall need for management.
On the other hand, VPS runs “virtual servers” while a number of these virtual servers are run on a single hardware server. The ability to manage and tinker with the VPS on the OS level makes this kind of hosting appealing to developers and specific online projects which need to run custom software but do not demand a huge amount of computing resources (CPU time, RAM… etc.).
Reseller Web Hosting service
Reseller Hosting is a service aimed at companies that need to provide web hosting services to a third party (their clients) and is not meant for the end-user (average website owner). For example, larger hosting companies such as Bluehost and HostMonster are much larger versions of reseller web hosting while they operate under EIG (Endurance Group International) resources.
Free hosting and home hosting as a subpar hosting options
You know how they say that there is no free lunch, and truthfully, the same can be said about free hosting – such services hold large caveats that make them largely unappealing.
Currently, some of the most popular free hosting options are WordPress.ORG and Google MyBusiness sites which provide you with means of building and hosting a relatively simple website under their subdomain.
The most important thing to note is that the EULA (end-user licence agreement) for such free services names these companies as the owners of the intellectual property you build as a free website.
As such, these companies hold the right to shut down and take offline your website, without notice and without the right for appeal, meaning you can lose it all if they deem it necessary.
Essentially, these free hosting services are a bad choice unless you are doing an online project of no value, which you can part with and have no remorse.
On the other hand, a very niche option may be a home web hosting, usually offered and operated by web admins from their homes.
The first thing to note here is that home internet connections are subpar to broadband internet links used by serious hosting companies. When peak traffic hours hit such a home server internet connection will saturate quickly, meaning that your website will be unavailable and you consequently you will lose profit.
Next, such home servers will in most cases have subpar hardware, with no hardware or data redundancy, meaning if the server hard drive fails you could lose your website to oblivion.
In the end, the home web hosting options should, again just like free hosting, be used only for low-value projects, school, or student projects that are used for testing and educational purposes, not by commercial websites.
Conclusion – How to choose a proper web hosting plan?
The most sincere advice I can give you is that you do not cheap-out when choosing a hosting plan. Seriously, web hosting services are affordable and the overall price trend is they either get even cheaper or they provide more resources for your website.
I would imagine that by now, reading through our article, you already have a picture of what kind of hosting your online project would need.
While any website can start with an affordable hosting priced around $2-3 per month, you should consider that your website will grow in popularity as well as size This means you will want to have some spare resources that will be used as the site grows.
Our advice is that you do not limit your site growth and success by going too cheap on your hosting service choice, but instead plan ahead with a scalable hosting solution