Web Hosting for Small Businesses: Hosting Types and Costs

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Creating a website is now part and parcel of running a business, and one of its most basic foundations is a good web host. In fact, web hosting isn’t a matter of whether you need one or not, but more of choosing which one is best for your website.

If you’re a small business owner, however, shopping for a web host would sometimes feel like an impossible task, especially if you’re not well-versed with the technicalities of web design and development.

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You’ll be bombarded with different terms, different definitions and of course, a whole lot of options offered by thousands of companies that promise to deliver you the best web host out there.

What exact plan do you need? Do you need a dedicated server? What are the differences between VPS, shared and dedicated hosting? It’s easy to get overwhelmed. But if you were to make a good choice for your web host, the most important thing that you need to learn about is the options you have available.

First, why are there many types of web hosting?

One of the first things that might confuse you is the difference between a host and hosting plan. Hosting companies usually offer three basic types of packages for business owners: VPS, shared and dedicated.

These hosting options are usually compared through the type of technology used, the amount of management required from the user to run the host and the extra services offered by the hosting company.

So, what’s the difference between the three main types of hosting?

 To help you understand the options you have for a web host, we’ll break down the three most common types of hosting available.

Shared web hosting

This is perhaps the most basic and probably most affordable hosting option available because it’s used by most first time website owners. As its name suggests, shared hosting means that you are sharing one server with other customers. Your package usually includes a physical server and the software applications that come with it. Think of it like your home computer where you’ll have a CPU, RAM and hard drive.

Shared hosting is budget friendly option since you can already get a basic package for only £3-£10 per month. The only downside to this is that since you’re sharing a server with other users, you have no control over faulty websites on your network that could affect your own website’s performance.

VPS hosting

A virtual private server is an upgrade from the basic shared hosting package. Here, you’ll still be sharing one physical server but it acts like you’re using several separate servers.

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This means that you get to have the benefits of having a dedicated server but with the price of shared hosting, making it a great option if your website already needs more power than what your shared hosting package can offer.

One of the biggest differences between shared and VPS hosting is that while you will be sharing hardware and resources with other customers, each website will be allocated a dedicated space of computing resources to keep your website from being affected by other customers’ websites.

VPS servers also host fewer users than shared servers and each account is segmented according to the specific requirements of users.

VPS hosting is the best option if you’ve outgrown your basic package and you’re willing to spend more for a flexible host and you are able to manage your own platform.

Dedicated web hosting

As its name suggests, dedicated hosting is a package where only one user is taking up the space of an entire server. This single rental means that you have complete control over the settings of your server and you have more options when it comes to memory, OS, storage space and other setup features.

Being the only user of a dedicated server also gives you the benefit of not having to experience any bad neighbor effect.

Dedicated hosting offers the highest features that you could ever find in a host. That means it is a perfect option if you’ve already established your website and you are getting a significant amount of traffic because of growth.

Perhaps the only real downside to dedicated hosting is the price. Because of all the benefits that you’ll get, you’ll naturally be charged more per month than shared or VPS hosting.

It’s also very important to take note of the availability of a skilled person to run your website on a dedicated server. You may need to hire a server admin to manage your website because running it with little knowledge can prove to be quite difficult.

But if your website requires a lot of resources or you want it to be more secured, especially if you’re selling online, dedicated hosting would be a good investment.

Now, how do you choose the right hosting plan?

At the end of the day, choosing a hosting plan doesn’t have to be too technical or difficult. For one, you have to think about your current needs.

Are you just starting a website or are you upgrading an existing website? It’s very important to know all your website’s requirements before you start looking for options.

You also need to think about your budget. How much are you willing to spend for your hosting? To recap, shared hosting is the most cost efficient option that’s ideal for small websites or startups.

VPS hosting is the next step if you’re ready to upgrade your hosting but you cannot afford to spend for a dedicated server just yet. Plus, dedicated hosting is the priciest but considered most efficient option if you are running a website with huge resource requirements.

After knowing exactly what you need, you can start looking for hosting companies and evaluate their offers for your website. You don’t really need to be an expert to be able to choose the right hosting plan for your business. You just have to think like a business owner where you consider the benefits and disadvantages to decide on the perfect hosting plan.

Alex Mayer
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