There are four main types of cheap web hosting package: shared, virtual private server (VPS), cloud and dedicated server. Understanding the different types of web hosting and their key benefits is essential if want to find the best host for your website.
Shared Web Hosting
With this type of plan, your website will live on a single web server with many others.
You essentially share the software, hardware, capacity and performance of the server with other users. This includes sharing things like the CPU, disk space and RAM.
For the most part, this tends to be the very cheapest web hosting option. It is best suited to small personal projects rather mission critical business use.
Mainly because the speed and availability of your site can be affected by other users who may be consuming high amounts of resources.
Think about it. A server can only cope with a limited load at any moment in time. Too many users and processes being run at the same time will slow it down. In extreme cases, a server will be unable cope. It will stop responding and your visitors may not be able to reach your website at all if that happens.
This is unlikely to happen if you choose a well-known host. Good companies monitor usage carefully. If a user is consuming more than their fair share of resources, their account tends to be suspended pretty quickly.
However, there are a few more pro’s and con’s you should know about before choosing this option. Read more: What is shared hosting?
Virtual Private Server (VPS) Solutions
A VPS is a step up from sharing a server with other users. With VPS web hosting, your website lives in its own virtual environment. You get to choose the amount of RAM, processing capacity and disk space available to your virtual server AND only you will be able to use it.
You are not limited to the software installed and managed by your Web host either. You can install software of your choosing. For example, you could choose to run Nginx or Lightspeed web server software rather than Apache.
Pricing is very affordable for a low spec, entry-level VPS. Prices average out at $5 USD per month but, the cheapest VPS hosting solutions start at just $2 per month.
The downside to choosing to host using a VPS, is that you need to tech-savvy. The responsibility for installing, updating and managing server software and security in your hands, rather than those of your web host.
Read more: What is VPS hosting?
If you have no interest in having technical responsibility, then cloud hosting is worth considering. This setup is similar to the shared type. The main difference is that your host will store and serve your website from a pool of web servers, rather than one standalone machine.
This means that the speed of your site is less likely to be affected by other website owners. When resources begin to approach unsatisfactory levels, web hosts can simply add more servers to the pool.
From your viewpoint, it is equally useful to know, that you can specify the amount of resources you would like to use.
If you are starting out, it makes sense to begin with a low-spec combination of RAM, CPU cores and disk space. As your needs change, you can change your combination (up OR down) to suit. This gives you the option to manage the amount you spend on hosting per month.
Dedicated Server Options
For larger projects, and those that require higher levels of privacy and security, the only serious option to consider may be dedicated server hosting. Essentially, this involves having a server that is dedicated to your use alone.
You are responsible for software installation, updates and security but, the hardware is usually supplied and managed for you by your hosting company. The exception to this is Colocation. Where you to run servers, that you own, in a data center managed by a service provider.
Clearly you will need technical knowledge for both these options. HostMiser can help you learn the basics but, this is not an option that should be chosen lightly.
Expect to pay a minimum of $30 USD (£30 GBP) per month for the cheapest (managed) dedicated hosting plans.
In-house or Self-service
Rather than pay a third party, you COULD do everything in-house. This option requires technical know-how and funds. You will need to purchase hardware, pay for an Internet connection and (optionally) a system administrator.
Hostmiser.com and the page you are reading right now are served from a self-hosted platform. And, all of this is run from the home of the founder!
However, you should consider different types of web hosting first. Professional web hosting is cheap, easy to come by AND recommended.
Unless you have very good reason to do otherwise, that is the route to follow. I am just a miser (and a little geeky), so I choose to self-host.