The Different Types of Web Hosting

Looking for “web hosting” can be confusing as it encompasses a wide range of services. On the low end, you can spend 5 bucks a month or so. On the high end, you can put down thousands of dollars buying equipment, and thousands per month to host it in a datacenter. Here’s we’ll look at the most common types of web hosting and when they should be used.

Shared

This is by far the simplest type of web hosting. It’s called “shared” because your account is placed on a large server that is shared with a number of other accounts – usually in the hundreds. It’s cheap, easy and quick to set up (many hosts will do an instant setup – meaning your account will be provisioned automatically upon payment), and very easy to use.

However, it’s not intended for power users. If you have a lot of traffic, very strict uptime requirements, or need to run custom server software, shared is not for you.

If you’re a beginner, or don’t know what you need, shared is probably your best bet.

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Cost: $5-10 per Month

Semi Dedicated

This is a niche service – not offered by most hosting companies. But its intent is to bridge the gap between shared and dedicated hosting. It allows you to retain the ease of use and maintenance of shared, but gain the power of a larger dedicated server or VPS.

We consider it to be more cost effective for the vast majority of users who would otherwise move to their own server when they outgrow their shared accounts, which is why we are one of the few companies to offer it.

In short, semi-dedicated is shared hosting with more resources for higher traffic sites.

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Cost: $25-100 per Month

Reseller

This is a spin on shared hosting. It allows the user to create his/her own separate shared accounts on a server.

Reseller accounts come in handy not only for people who are reselling web hosting, but anyone with multiple web sites who appreciates the organizational benefits of keeping each site in a separate shared account.

Basically, buying a reseller account is like buying shared accounts in bulk.

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Cost: $20-100 per Month

VPS

A virtual private server is a way to achieve the flexibility (from a software standpoint) of having root access to a machine without having to spend the money on more hardware resources than you need.

Say for instance you need something that only requires a few hundred megabytes of RAM to run, but requires that you run a custom Linux kernel, or a custom piece of server software. VPS allows you to do this for only a few dollars a month, instead of the $100+ it generally costs to purchase your own dedicated server.

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Cost: $40-200 per Month

Dedicated Servers

A dedicated server is just what it sounds like, a physical server that’s dedicated to the user. It’s usually rented from a provider for a monthly fee. They provide the hardware and facility, and the user manages the software.

It’s a great way to get the hardware power you need, but it’s not the most flexible.

Cost can range quite a bit depending on your hardware requirements. A cheap server with a Xeon E3 and few gigs of ram can be had for around $100, a server with multiple multi-core CPUs and 64GB+ of RAM can easily cost $1,000 or more.

Cost: $125-1,000+ per Month

Colocation

Using colocation is cost effective for companies with large hardware requirements. It’s most cost effective with large numbers of servers, or very high end servers with expensive hardware.

With colocation, you provide the hardware, and your hosting company provides the space, power and bandwidth in a physical datacenter. The cost will vary widely, but for typical usage you’ll be paying somewhere between $75 and $200 per server.

It can be a great money saver over dedicated in the long run, since it’s generally cheaper to buy than rent, but it requires a substantial upfront investment.

Cost: $1,000+ Up Front and $75-200 per Month

 

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