Baffled by all the different types of web hosting? Unsure what they all are or which is the right one for you? You’re not alone. To help, this post will look at each different type of hosting and explain what they are.
What is web hosting?
Before we discuss the different types of hosting, it is helpful to understand what hosting is and why you need it. Essentially, your website is a set of files that you are sharing over the internet with other people. As a website, you want these files to be accessible all the time and easily found by anyone looking for the information you publish. To make this happen, your website content and the software that makes your website work have to be installed on a special kind of computer called a webserver. A webserver is connected to the internet 24/7 and enables your web pages to be downloaded to someone’s browser for viewing or interacting with. The webserver, therefore, is where your website is hosted and the company that provides the webserver is your web host or service provider.
The other important thing to mention is the operating system. Generally, all hosting is either run on Windows or Linux operating systems. While Windows is the most popular operating system for home computers, most website software is designed to run on Linux. When purchasing hosting, you will need to choose the operating system that your software needs.
Here’s an overview of different hosting types.
Shared hosting is the cheapest and most popular form of web hosting and is suitable for small business or personal websites. What makes it inexpensive is that the web host takes one large server and divides up the storage space for many different users. In effect, you will be leasing a small slice of a large hard drive.
While this slice can be big enough for all your website’s files and data, the downside of shared hosting is that you also have to share all the other web server resources, such as RAM and CPU. If lots of other users have busy websites, there may be times when your website is affected and loads slowly or performs poorly on people’s devices. It is similar to having too many programs running on your computer and finding that they lag or freeze.
Specialised shared hosting
Today, lots of web hosts offer specialist forms of shared hosting. In many instances, this is done by configuring the web server so particular types of website software can perform optimally. You may, for example, see WordPress, Joomla, Magento or Drupal hosting and these packages will also include other features to improve the hosting or make things easier for users of those types of software.
Additionally, some hosts offer shared hosting with particular types of control panel, such as the cPanel hosting here at eukhost. cPanel is a leading control panel whose user-friendly interface and comprehensive range of tools make it a breeze to manage your website. You may also find shared hosting packages that are specially designed for business users or bloggers.
A virtual private server (VPS) is the next step up from shared hosting. It uses clever virtualisation technology to create several small, virtual servers on a single physical server. The difference between shared hosting and VPS is that your VPS is completely independent of all the other VPS on the physical server, so you don’t have to share resources or endure the issues this can cause. You even get your own operating system.
The other chief difference is that a VPS package is much bigger than a shared hosting package. In essence, it is like a mini dedicated server, giving you substantially more storage, CPU and RAM. This makes it ideal to run large websites, multiple websites or other types of application for your business. The surprising thing about VPS is that they are cheap, costing from as little as £15.59 a month (at time of publication).
With shared hosting, a user gets a small share of a large webserver. The term dedicated server simply means that you get that entire server dedicated for your own use. This provides you with enormous amounts of disk space together with substantial processing power and RAM. This is ideal for bigger businesses that need to run large websites, store lots of data and run critical business applications which need to be online all of the time. Compared to VPS, these can be much more expensive solutions.
The cloud is a vast network of interconnected servers hosted in huge data centres. Using virtualisation, websites can be moved instantaneously from one physical machine to another, even across geographical locations. This means if there is a problem with the physical hardware, a cloud-hosted website or application will never go offline.
Cloud’s virtual technology also means that companies that need extra computing resources at a moment’s notice, can instantly have it at their disposal and in enormous quantities. What’s more, the cloud is paid for on a pay as you go basis, so you only pay for the resources you need as and when you need them. You can scale up or down at any time.
Accessible over the internet, cloud hosting brings with it many of the benefits of connectivity flexible working, working from home, collaboration, etc. It’s scalability also makes it ideal for carrying out big data analytics or making use of technologies such as AI, machine learning or the Internet of Things.
There are three different types of cloud hosting: public, private and hybrid. Public cloud is where the hardware, software and other infrastructure are shared with all the other cloud tenants and managed by the web host, whereas in a private cloud those resources are used exclusively by you. Hybrid cloud is where a company makes use of both private and public solutions, often with dedicated servers included in the mix.
Managed hosting is not a different type of hosting solution but a feature of many of the above. It is a service provided by the web host to manage your server for you. This will typically include looking after the physical hardware, ensuring the server is working optimally and updating the operating system on your behalf. For certain types of hosting, this form of server management is included in your package.
Some companies have extraordinarily complex IT needs which require bespoke hosting and support solutions. Service providers, like eukhost, have the infrastructure and expertise to offer these tailored solutions, often referred to as enterprise hosting.
As you can see, there is a wide range of hosting solutions available, ranging from the basic shared hosting needed to run a small website to the complex solutions needed by large companies to run a range of critical applications. Hopefully, this post will have given you a clear idea of what these types of hosting are and which is most relevant to you.
For more information visit eukhost.com.