There are many different types of web hosting. So, it can be very difficult to figure out which “type” you need.
In the article, I hope to teach you everything you need to know about web hosting. There are many kinds of web hosting. I can easily see how people get confused so quickly. I will cover the following:
- Free Web Hosting
- Shared Web Hosting
- Reseller Web Hosting
- VPS Web Hosting
- Dedicated Web Hosting
- Colocation Web Hosting
- Cluster Web Hosting
- Cloud or Grid Web Hosting
- Self Service Web Hosting
- Managed WordPress Web Hosting
What is Web Hosting?
Any website on the internet has to have a host. This can be referred to as a web hosting service, which is defined by Wikipedia as
A web hosting service is a type of Internet hosting service that allows individuals and organizations to make their website accessible via the World Wide Web.
Ok, so that’s just a definition of a web hosting service. That may or may not mean anything to you.
So, in plain English, a web hosting service is a service that you pay for. They have “servers.” These servers hold the data for your website. Think of it as you are paying someone to store your data on their computer. It will allow others to view your content.
Different Types of Web Hosting
Free Web Hosting
This type of hosting is free. This means you don’t have to pay anything, obviously. Might want to consider free web hosting if you’re just starting out. You can learn a lot. If it doesn’t cost you anything, then I wouldn’t see why you wouldn’t want to use free hosting.
These 5 platforms might be a good option:
Also, they do have paid services, too.
Here is a couple free host:
With these hosts, you can always upgrade to a paid account if your account gets suspended for using too many resources.
Shared Web Hosting
Great for people on a tight budget. Webmasters typically start with shared hosting. Shared hosting is very cheap, but does have a major drawback.
A lot of these plans use an unlimited bandwidth offer. There are always limits to the resources you can use on a shared server.
There are lots of limitations with shared hosting. You are sharing your server with hundreds or thousands of other sites. Therefore, hosts need to monitor their resource usage for each site on the same server. A lot of hosts are quick to suspend your account when your resource limit is too high. For instance, CPU usage, RAM, and inodes have limits with these plans.
Shared plans can cost $2- $20 per month. Some shared hosts that get great reviews on tbwhs.com are:
Reseller Web Hosting
Reseller Web hosting is a plan that allows you to sell different shared plans.
Reseller plans have a control panel which allows you to have control over the billing, storage, RAM, etc. of your shared accounts. This allows you to have full control over different plans you can offer your clients. A lot of web designers use reseller hosting to help keep track of their clients. Also, they make month residual income from Reseller hosting.
Reseller plans come with these perks:
- Free website templates.
- White label technical support. Your host will take care of technical issues for your clients.
- Private name servers.
Reseller plans can cost between $15-$99/month. Some reseller hosts that get reviews on tbwhs.com are:
VPS Web Hosting
It’s still a shared environment. But, you have a lot fewer limitations.
VPS web hosting has a lot fewer websites on a single server. Servers are divided up into smaller “slices.” Each of these slices acts as a different server. Hence the name Virtual Private Server.
Usually, there are only about 10 to 15 clients per server.
VPS plans cost between $10-$200/month. Some VPS hosts that get good reviews on tbwhs.com are:
Dedicated Web Hosting
Dedicated hosting means you are renting a single server. There are no other sites on that server. It’s yours exclusively. You have full control over it. You also have “root” access.
People use dedicated servers because they have very high traffic websites. Other hosting plans will not have enough dedicated resources to host their website. Typically, you need to know how to manage a server if you want a dedicated hosting plan. Otherwise, you’re going to need too hire a server administrator. Hosts will offer managed and unmanaged servers, too.
Dedicated plans are usually $100+/month. Some dedicated hosts that get good reviews on tbwhs.com are:
Colocation Web Hosting
Colocation is where you rent “rack space” from a data center. Typically, you supply the server hardware. The host will provide the power, storage facility, and a uplink. You are liable for the server software, hard drive, backup system, etc. You are liable for hardware failures. You will have to replace the hardware if it fails.
This is for the advanced technical webmasters. Otherwise, you’re going to want to use a shared, VPS, or dedicated hosting environment.
The price varies for colocation services.
Cluster Web Hosting
Cluster hosting is sometimes confused with Cloud or Grid hosting. It is simply a group of servers that operate together and act as one “mega” server. The big difference between cluster hosting and cloud hosting is cluster hosting is over a smaller area. For instance, there could be a cluster of servers along the eastern coast of the United States.
Cluster host is typically billed on an hourly or monthly rate.
Cloud or Grid Web Hosting
Cloud hosting is also called grid hosting. Most people think cloud hosting is new technology, but really it’s been around since 1999. Amazon Web Services did mainstream the “cloud-based service in 2002.
Cloud hosting works this way; several servers work together to create one single server. Cloud hosting or grid hosting can withstand large spikes of web traffic.
Cloud hosting is billed for only the resources you use. Some cloud hosting hosts that get good reviews on tbwhs.com are:
Self Service Web Hosting
Self-service web hosting is done completely on your own. This is the most advanced web hosting. You need to have a place to rent that stores your server. Then you’re responsible for the cooling, power, bandwidth, hardware, system administrator, backups, etc.
Managed WordPress Web Hosting
Managed WordPress web hosting is for WordPress users only. Instead of using cPanel, Plesk, etc. your host handles all of that. You have access to the backend settings of your site through the WordPress dashboard. This kind of plan is perfect for those that are not comfortable with all the technical things that come with web hosting.
Technical support is very fluent with WordPress and should be able to sort out issues for WordPress users. Also, they update your WordPress framework, plugins, etc.
Managed WordPress plans can cost between $20-$1,000/month. Some managed WordPress hosts that get reviews on tbwhs.com are:
There are 10 different types of plans. It’s really up to you to decide which kind of hosting plan you need. Every person has different needs. Many hosts offer many types of plans. Therefore, you can always migrate to a higher or lower plan.
Most people start out with a shared plan in the beginning. Usually, you get price discounts if you pay a full year in advance.
Next, you can look at my recommended hosts at tbwhs.com. These have many user reviews and my expert review. They will highlight the features, price tag, performance, uptime, and customer support.
Please let me know if you have any questions down below.
Oh wow, I had no idea there was such a wide variety of hosting options available. I’m currently set up with a free hosting service, but I plan on making the switch to a better domain name soon, so I’m going to have to pick a hosting service. This article was really informative and helpful in teaching me about which kinds of hosting I’ll want to look into. I’ll have to do a little more research, but this was a fantastic starting point, thanks so much!
Yeah, free hosting is great, but one thing that I don’t like about it is at any given second they could shut your account down. I have heard horror stories from people that had a site on WordPress.com that got shut down. It violated WordPress’s TOS. I recall hearing a story where one person lost 3 years of work in an instant.
When you do decide to sign up for paid web hosting I would recommend shared hosting. A lot of hosts offer lots of different types of plans. This will save you the hassle of having to migrate to another host.
Thanks for outlining the many different types of web hosting. Honestly, I didn’t know there were so many. Recently, I’ve gotten promotional emails about a cloud-based hosting platform. It’s very cheap, about $5 for unlimited sites. I tried the free trial but found it frustrating to use. I’m also worried about if it is secure or not. How secure is cloud hosting?
That is a good question about cloud hosting and their security. Well, for cloud hosting they are secure as any other. A lot of people have the common misconception that other users could access other users data. This is not true, though. Also, I would say that cloud hosting is more secure than traditional hosting plans.
Most host will have some kind of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) or cloud storage services, too. For instance, with HostingSource.com you can purchase server backups. This will include 100 – 300 GB of storage backup. Provided you are using cPanel you can always use Backup Wizard. This can be set to daily, weekly, or yearly.
If you are using WordPress you can always install plugins. Here are some WordPress security plugins. Here are some backup plugins.
I’m trying to develop a website myself and this sort of stuff is completely beyond me usually.
I’ve seen in a recent comment you’ve talked about free hosting getting cut off all of a sudden. That would be absolutely brutal and something I wish to avoid!
I think you’ve done a really good job of explaining the key features. So thanks for the info.
Yeah, designing a website is the easier decision. There are a couple things you want to keep in mind:
Effective website design: https://blog.tbwhs.com/what-is-an-effective-web-des…
Best colors for your website: https://blog.tbwhs.com/best-colors-website-design/
But, yes free hosting is ok. But, losing all your data is not ok.
Wow, there are so many hosts that I had no idea. I am just getting into starting my own business and currently use WordPress for free. I think it is about time to upgrade to a paid one. I will be using your site as a reference when I decide to. Thanks for all this information!
Yeah, I remember in 2009 when I started my business. There was a lot to learn, but it’s well worth it. Paying for a hosting service is a must. You can really flush a lot of money down the toilet on hosting plans you don’t need. Over the years I have made this mistake. Over, my 8 years I have probably wasted 3-5k on paying for hosting I didn’t really need. Learn from my mistakes and start slow. Then when you need more resources, you can scale up.
Hey nice website you got here! I have never really been too knowledgeable about web hosting. Never really knew how to explain it. After reading your page here I believe I am fully capable of explaining what web hosting is. What is the benefit of having a free account being hosted vs a paid for one? More Security? What host do you use?
The pros of using a paid hosting service is you typically get better support since you are a paying customer. A lot of free host only offer limited support. For instance, you can only get help on a forum which takes 1-3 days to get a response.
Yes, security is usually much better, too. However, you can always install a WordPress security plugin if you have issues with security.
Over the past years I have used lots of hosts. Recently I did switched to Wealthy Affiliate. Their managed hosting service is very good. Also, they cost less than WP Engine, and a lot of other managed hosting plans.
Jack Taylor says
Thanks the explaining everything about web hosting in your article. You cleared up all the questions I had about how this stuff works. I’m new to internet marketing so I need all the info I can get. I saved your website to my favorites. Thanks again Garen!
Smith Roy says
Organizations looking to move to Cloud Computing, it is important to understand the different aspects of Cloud Computing and to assess their own situation and decide which types of solutions are appropriate for their unique needs.