When it comes to hosting, there is plenty of fish in the sea. More and more hosting providers have sprawled over the last few years, making the final choice a very difficult one, especially for newcomers that do not have prior experience with servers and their management. Because of this, the following article is aimed exactly at such people, who want to make a choice but do not really know what they should be looking for. So without wasting any more precious time, let us get right into the nitty-gritty of the science behind choosing the correct hosting provider.
Different hosting types
Before starting your provider research, you must first identify the server type which you are going to need for your needs. Generally, there are 3 main hosting options that you will need to pick between – shared hosting, dedicated servers and virtual private servers, the latter of which is usually named VPS for short. Each server type is different and has its own advantages and drawbacks when compared to the other 2 types. But which one should you choose?
Shared hosting – cheap, easy to operate, beginner-friendly
Shared hosting is the cheapest option that you can go for and it is also the easiest one to manage, making it a good choice for complete beginners. However, this is where the advantages of this alternative come dissipate. Shared hosting, judging by its name, involves sharing resources between multiple server occupants. This means that if a server has a set amount of processing power and storage, it will need to be split between all users.
Moreover, this can result in some hosted websites or applications consuming more of the aforementioned resources, which can result in the other apps becoming slower in their response time due to the fact that they are going to be lacking in the needed resources. Because of this, shared hosting is a good option for users, who have small websites like personal projects, portfolios or local store pages.
It is not advisable to utilize shared hosting with large websites that perform many server requests and are quite interactive in nature such as online eCommerce stores and service provider sites and apps that would require booking rooms or tickets for example. Overall, shared hosting is very beginner friendly due to the fact that it is largely managed by your provider.
Dedicated servers – top of the host chain
Dedicated servers, on the other hand, are at the complete opposite end of the spectrum. They are quite expensive and for a reason – the entire server is reserved for one user. Consequently, this means that you are not going to be required to share the server’s resources with anyone else. Due to this, dedicated servers are usually the go-to option for most online eCommerce stores and businesses as well as service providers, who have websites and applications that contain a large amount of content such as images and text and are also quite interactive. Such servers are capable of handling the traffic of a large number of concurrent online users.
However, be warned that such servers are very customizable and have a number of additional features that might be difficult to understand and configure if you are just starting out – with great power comes great responsibility after all! While there are a number of hosting providers that will be willing to help you manage your dedicated server, most providers let you have full, unmanaged control over the entire server.
Ultimately, because of their price and features, dedicated instances are a recommended option for many large companies and businesses that predominantly perform their sales and services online and have a large number of daily clients, orders and overall user interaction.
VPS servers – best cost-value alternative
Virtual private servers are the final option that you can decide to go for. Overall, they are mostly regarded as combining the best of both worlds, due to their affordable price and the many features that they have to offer.
They utilize virtualization technology to create multiple virtual machine instances on the same server. If you are confused about what this means – it is basically like having multiple folders on a hard drive with each folder being an independent entity with its own resources. Similarly, each virtual machine has its own unique resources, meaning that the given website or application does not have to share them with other occupants, despite being located on the same physical server. They have a portion of the resources that are specifically reserved for them.
Moreover, such servers are still easy to operate from a beginner’s point of view, while also providing more advanced and experienced users with a plethora of additional functions such as full root access. VPS servers are also renowned for their scalability. But what exactly do we mean by that?
Being able to add or remove resources from your server rather than having to change your entire hosting plan is what we define as scalability. This is a very good ability to have due to the fact that you can always accommodate the traffic that you are getting on your website or application. In particular, this is very useful to businesses and companies that operate on a seasonal basis and get influxes of traffic at certain times of the year, rather than having a constant stream of users all year round.
Overall, virtual private servers are a good option for both beginners and seasoned professionals due to the many features that they offer.