Every penny that you invest in your business needs to be carefully thought through. Especially, if you are a beginner, things get even trickier for you to decode when it comes to technical details.
Web Hosting is one such factor that needs careful inspection before you zero in on a hosting plan and provider. While most providers promote web hosting as an “affordable” product, decoding the science behind those affordable plans is nowhere similar to shooting a fish in a barrel.
That said, it’s not rocket science either. All you need to do is to understand your requirements and align them with the features offered by various hosting plans.
To begin with, let us understand some of the essential features of a web hosting plan:
Glossary of Essential Features of a Web Hosting Plan:
It is the amount of storage space provided to you by the web hosting provider. You need disk space to store your web files which may be composed of text, images, video, audio, etc.
It is the amount of data that can be transferred over a period. It determines the load speed of your website. More bandwidth means more speed.
It is the percentage of time that a hosting server remains up and running for. A 99.99 percent uptime means that your website will go down for eight hours in a year.
Easy-to-use Admin Panel
Admin panel is the gateway or the dashboard that lets you manage your websites. An easy-to-use admin panel ensures that you do not require through technical know-how of operating a CMS. Cpanel is considered to be the most convenient admin panel.
It refers to the support which is available to you in the case of a breakdown. This support may be available to you in the form of chats, phone calls and emails.
Now that you understand the terms you have to look for while choosing your hosting plan, let us explore the types of web hosting.
Different Types of Hosting
- Shared Server Hosting
- Virtual Private Server
- Dedicated Hosting
It is the very nature of your website and the potential traffic it can receive that decides which hosting will be suitable for you. Let us understand them one-by-one.
1. Shared Hosting
As the name suggests, shared hosting is when multiple websites are hosted on a single server, like a building shared by multiple businesses. It has its pros and cons. You get to share a server with other websites, which means that you share the cost of the server as well. Shared hosting helps in reducing the costs since the expense of the server and its resources are spread over to all the customers/packages hosted on the server. This kind of hosting is perfect for personal websites, small and mid-sized businesses that don’t require all the resources of the server.
Even if hosting providers promote it as “unlimited this and that,” the fact is, it’s not unlimited. It cannot be. Shared hosting puts limitations on services like disk space, monthly traffic, email accounts, FTP accounts, databases etc.
A server is like a computer. When it says that the same device is used by multiple websites, it precisely means that you are sharing the same RAM and CPU, the Apache server, the MySQL server and the Mail server with other businesses.
Who needs Shared Hosting?
Small businesses, new bloggers, and anyone who is just starting out should preferably opt for shared hosting considering that you do not need to spend a fortune on hosting when you don’t really need it.
Considering that the monthly visits on your website would be somewhere between 0-5000, you can easily manage with a shared hosting plan. You will never use all the features listed in the plan, so it is better to go with a reputed name because most of the providers offer similar products. The only difference you will experience would be the customer support. Although WordPress is widely popular, you might as well choose Linux or Windows depending on your preferences and requirement. If you are looking to find an easy-to-use solution, most shared WordPress hosting has a beginner-friendly admin panel like cPanel or Fantastico.
- Isn’t good if the there is a spike in traffic.
- There may be restrictions on the files and the applications that can be run on the website.
- Lesser Resources are available to you, and if your site outgrows them, you will have to upgrade which is easier to do with reputed hosting providers than with the lesser-known ones.
- Low levels of security as compared to other hosting options. However, since you have just started, you have a considerably lesser risk of security threats.
A peek into Shared Hosting plans from Bluehost:
Expected Visitor Per Month: Low
Price: Starts from INR. 289 per month
Plans From Bluehost: Standard/Business/Pro
Domains Supported: One/Five/Ten
What You’ll Get:
- Unlimited Disk Space
- Unlimited Data Transfer
- Unlimited Email Accounts
- Global CDN
- Hosting On High-Performance Servers
- Virus Protection
- 99 percent uptime
- Customer Support
2. Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting
There is always a midway to deal with human concerns. So, here it is to deal with your hosting woes. VPS is the bargain between shared and dedicated hosting for situations when neither of the extremes suits your needs.
VPS hosting uses virtualization for creating isolated virtual machines for you with dedicated resources and full access. With guaranteed resources including CPU, RAM, HDD, and Bandwidth, it gives you complete control and even if there are other virtual servers present on the same hardware, you server remains unaffected and acts as a dedicated server (with limitations, of course).
While co-location is an option where you rent rack space and internet connection from a data center and manage your hardware on your own, it is a rather expensive thing to deal with considering that you need human resources to manage the server and to deal with crisis situations.
Who needs VPS Hosting?
If you are sure that shared hosting is definitely not what you need, and confused whether breaking the bank for dedicated hosting is the need of the hour, give VPS a shot. It is ideal for people looking to get full control of their server space in a fraction of the cost of a dedicated hosting.
VPS plays a balanced character between the beginner shared hosting plans and a dedicated hosting or co-location. It gives you complete access to install and configure your preferred programs like PHP with Postgresql, Zope, Plone etc. Also, you can host mailing or FTP server and multiple websites using Apache’s Virtual Hosts which is almost a luxury that you get with dedicated hosting. Given the root control, you can use your virtual server for backup, storage or any way you want.
If your website expects a monthly visit of around 5000- 20000, you are good with VPS. It also allows you to choose bigger plans according to your requirements as and when required to a certain limit. Although, there are other factors you need to consider.
- Expensive than shared hosting
- Medium to high security, but not as good as security levels of dedicated hosting
- Requires involvement in terms of installations, maintenance, security, and updates because you are in complete control of your virtual server in most cases. You can deal with this issue by opting for a provider that offers managed support.
- Inappropriate allocation by the provider in some cases in an attempt to oversell the space to as many users as possible. This leads to issues at peak times. However, going with a trusted provider and being informed of the number of virtual servers on the hardware will help you combat this matter.
A peek into VPS Hosting plans from Bluehost:
Expected Visitor Per Month: Medium
Security: Medium to High
Option: Linux Hosting
Price: Starts from Top of Form
INR. 1,199 per monthBottom of Form
Plans From Bluehost: Standard/Enhanced/Premium/Elite
Server Resources: CPU/RAM/HDD/Bandwidth
What You’ll Get:
- Managed Support
- Additional cPanel
- Programming Support
- Domain Name Feature
- Various Platforms
- Operational Software
- 99 percent uptime
- Customer Support
3. Dedicated Server Hosting
It’s like renting an entire building to set up an office. It is the type of Internet hosting in which the client leases an entire server which is not shared with anyone else. It comes with enhanced performance and security. You get the flexibility of choosing your resources. There is no cost of purchasing your server, but you are obviously paying a high amount to get a dedicated server in comparison to what you pay for shared and VPS hosting.
Dedicated Hosting ensures the best possible server security. Moreover, you can rely on the server for better uptime, higher bandwidth, and unlimited space. You can host unlimited websites on a dedicated server and you will never have to worry about load speed.
Who needs dedicated hosting?
Big business websites with higher traffic need dedicated hosting. E-commerce websites typically go with dedicated hosting considering the heavy amount of traffic that they have to deal with especially during sale times. If your website receives over 20000 visits every month, you need dedicated hosting. With dedicated hosting comes the responsibility of managing the technical aspects of installations, updates, security, and configuration. If you are not willing to take that elephantine task, it is recommended go for Managed Dedicated hosting.
- High Costs
- Need technical skills to manage if you are not choosing managed hosting
- You still don’t have physical access to server
- You might not be using every feature that your plan offers.
A peek into Dedicated Hosting plans from Bluehost:
Website: www.anye-commercewebsite.com or www.anyhightrafficwebsite.com
Expected Visitor Per Month: Large
Security: Very High
Price: Starts from INR. 10,499 per month
Plans From Bluehost: DS1-IN/ DS2-IN/DS3-IN/DS4-IN
Server Resources: Intel Processor/ RAM/HDD in RAID 1/ Bandwidth/ Free IPs
What You’ll Get:
- Control Panels cPanel/WHM
- WHMCS as Billing Panel
- Support: Core-Managed & Fully Managed
- Root Access
- Ready In Minutes
- Best Hardware
- Speeds of up to 1Gbps
- Failover With HDD in RAID 1
- 99 percent uptime
Over to You
Long story short, you need a shared hosting plan if you are expecting lesser site traffic, VPS hosting if you have outgrown the features offered by shared hosting, but still aren’t ready to spend big bucks, and dedicated hosting if you are expecting a high amount of site traffic and profits. Choosing a web hosting plan for your business might not be a herculean task, but it definitely requires a lot of thought and knowledge. If your requirements are more complex and you are still confused about which plan you need, you can consider consulting an expert to guide you through the process and align it with your requirements.