The Different Types Of Hosting
It's easy to finish off this introduction to the different types of hosting in a few paragraphs. Unless... There's also an explanation of which type is suitable for what kind of website. So let's get the laundry list and tech geek speak out of the way first, and then try to match each type against a specific customer profile.
The main categories under which any and all packages are classified by web host companies are based on the choice or type of server. It can be a shared server or a dedicated one, or a virtual private server. It can even be cloud hosting, where shared resources from the cloud are provided to customers on demand via the internet.
That wasn't so hard, was it? OK, let's make it a little more complicated. Shared hosting is where many customers share the same server, and are provided limited access to resources and tools. A dedicated server, on the other hand, offers exclusive use of the server to a single customer who gets full control and administrative user rights.
VPS is a middle of the road solution where hypervisor technology is used to create virtualized instances of a server for each client. So while the client is actually getting only one of several partitions on a server, it appears as if the client has exclusive use of a full server. The client gets the same administrative rights and control as with a dedicated server.
Cloud hosting is the most powerful solution out of all these options. The client doesn't need to keep an IT infrastructure. Instead, everything including resources, software and files are provided from the cloud. It's a bit of a stretch to try to explain the cloud here, but in a nutshell - it's like an electric grid which has tremendous capability, but single customers only pay for what they use.
Shared hosting doesn't have a lot of sub-types, but the other three do. Customers can choose from managed or unmanaged servers. Under the managed type, the host company will take care of the administration. Under unmanaged, the customer has the responsibility to install and manage everything from the OS to the web server and the tools necessary for setting up a website on the server.
Right, so that takes care of the geek stuff so let's get down to business. Which of these types is suitable for a typical customer? It's a relative question that depends on the customer profile. When an individual or company is just getting started and needs a simple website without any security issues and no expectation of heavy traffic, it's best to go with shared hosting which is very cheap.
Larger companies and those with heavy traffic and/or a need for high security (such as storing customer profiles, ecommerce transactions, etc.) should opt for a more powerful solution. If the budget permits, then the best choice is a dedicated server. If there are budget limitations, the a VPS will do just as well, especially for companies which have just started growing and expect a lot more traffic in future.
For companies whose IT infrastructures have grown bloated with servers and networking equipment, not to mention IT staff, transferring everything to a cloud can provide a lot of relief. It completely eliminates the need to maintain the IT setup, and offers the hugely powerful capability of a data center, but without the cost since the company only pays for the resources accessed and used.