Small Business Brief

Small Business Articles

[Home] [Submit Your Articles]

Article Categories

Subscribe to the Small Business Brief Newsletter!

Our free newsletter is delivered once a week and provides a digest of small business ideas and articles that inspire, inform and generally keep small business owners up to date with the information they need to succeed. Your email address will NOT be given to third parties.

Web Hosting Types ? Choose the One that is Right for Your Website

by Harold Leahmon

It is a jungle in the web hosting business world. There are thousands of web hosting companies competing for your business offering different types of web hosting. For the consumer it is not easy to determine which hosting type is best for their needs. It can often take some trial and error --- something that we would all like to avoid. In this article we help you choose the right type of hosting the first time around.

Choosing the Right Type of Hosting

It is important to choose the right type of hosting for your needs. The hosting types presented below represent a range of web hosting. We start with the least expensive with Free Hosting and move through Virtual Private Server Hosting and Dedicated Hosting to get to the most expensive which is Managed Hosting. In addition, depending on your needs, Co-located Hosting or Reseller Hosting might be what you need so those options are discussed as well.

Free Hosting

Free Hosting is free. Many times free hosting is provided free as long as your website provides advertisement space to the hosting company. This type of hosting is very limited as to the options, services and support that you can expect to receive when compared to any of the other paid hosting services. Free hosting is best for small, personal websites. However, with the cost of shared hosting being extremely low, it should be considered as well for personal websites.

Shared Hosting

Shared Hosting is the least expensive form of paid web hosting. As the name implies, with shared hosting, many web sites are hosted on a single physical server. This is generally the most economical option for paid hosting as many people share the overall cost of the server, server administration and maintenance. Shared hosting is a great option for sites that are simple and have a small amount of traffic. Conversely, if your site requires a specific database, customized programming and/or has a large amount of traffic, then shared hosting will not work well.

Virtual Private Server Hosting

Virtual private servers (VPS) are a form of virtualization that splits a single physical server into multiple virtual servers. As a type of web hosting, virtual private servers fills the gap between shared hosting and the next level of hosting which is dedicated hosting.

Virtual private servers allow root-level access to individual clients without requiring physically dedicated servers. They are most widely used by businesses and individuals that need a customized solution that cannot be filled in a shared hosting environment.

Virtual private servers have also become popular for their ability to establish production and test sites.

Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated hosting is a type of web hosting where you rent an entire server and the server is not shared with anyone else. This is more flexible than shared hosting and virtual private server hosting, as you have full control over the server, including choice of operating system, hardware, etc. Server administration can usually be provided by the hosting company as an add-on service. This is an area that you will need to fully explore if you decide to use dedicated hosting as some hosting companies are limited in the administration services they provide and if you are not equipped to be an administrator, you could have problems.

Managed Hosting

Managed hosting is a type of dedicated hosting where you rent an entire server that is not shared with anyone and the hosting company manages the server for you. There are vast differences between how much management is provided between hosting companies. Some managed hosting companies do everything for you and they charge a high fee for this. Others do a minimal amount of work, like daily backups and applying security patches when you ask for them to be applied. Typically, though not always, the more you pay, the more you get.

For really large sites, a custom cluster of servers may be required to handle extremely large amounts of traffic.

Co-located Hosting

Co-located hosting is where you put your own server(s) into a co-location center. A co-location center (also called a "colo") is a type of data center where you get access to a secure data center with access to one or more internet backbones, redundant HVAC, power and fire suppression systems to provide a higher level of security, performance and system uptime. The advantage is that you get access and full control over your server(s), but you do not have to invest in the entire infrastructure. Therefore, there is minimal cost and complexity.

Reseller Hosting

Reseller hosting is a type of web hosting where the account owner splits up their allotted hard drive space and bandwidth to resell shared hosting. Resellers can split up a shared hosting account or can split up one or more dedicated servers. Often, resellers are web consultants, web designers or web developers who resell the shared hosting as an add-on service to complement their other services.

Reseller hosting generally requires little knowledge of web hosting services in order to get started because resellers are generally not responsible for maintaining web server services or other maintenance related tasks. To the reseller's customers, the reseller is the web hosting company. However, in cases when technical problems occur, (for example, if the server goes down or the network connectivity to the server is down) the customer will call the owner of the dedicated server in which the reseller host is hosted for technical support.


How much should you pay for web hosting services? Well, the answer to this question really depends on what you are going to be hosting and is also tied to the type of hosting you select. If you are hosting a personal blog site, then you might be just fine to find a shared hosting plan for less than $5 a month. However, if you are hosting an online business site that handles credit card transactions and receives a lot of traffic, then you might need a server that is managed for you. This might cost you $500 to $1,000 a month or more. This sounds expensive, but, if your business relies on your hosting provider, then you need one that provides exceptional service, has backup power systems, multiple internet backbones, fire suppression systems, data backup services and knows how to deliver exceptional uptime. Another way to look at this is how much would it cost you in business for each hour your web site was down?

Typically, most hosting companies are very competitive with price versus features and services. As with most purchases and prices you often get what you pay for; however, when looking at very expensive hosting plans, you may be able to find equally capable hosting companies and plans with a significant price difference. That is, the most expensive hosting companies may not necessarily be the best.

Discuss this in our Forum

About the Author:

writes for Ingenuity Network. This article is part of The Ultimate Guide for How to Choose a Web Host. Please note that our community of WebHostingUsers is continually updating this guide and making it better. View the latest, unabridged guide here: Visit our website at for user to user web hosting ratings and web hosting help.

Copyright (c) 2007 Harold Leahmon

business cards

Small Business Ideas Forum - Small Business Opportunities - Small Business Articles - Small Business Resources - Small Business Software - Small Business Loans

Home - Contact - Privacy - Top of Page

Copyright © 2006 - 2008 K. Clough, Inc. All Rights Reserved.