When trying to find the right web hosting product, it is easy to get lost in the terminology and miss the forest for the trees. That’s why we’re looking at the basic types of web hosting products, and comparing their strengths and weaknesses to determine which web hosting solution is best for your website.
A sharing hosting company provides servers (essentially the hard drive of a computer) where a website’s details are stored. In a shared hosting package, your site is housed on a single server with other customers’ websites, and each website shares the processing power and Internet connection of that server (hence the name shared hosting). Unlike the other forms of hosting, this arrangement usually gives a user limited access to the operating system. And at the same time, this is by far the cheapest package because of you are sharing server space with other users.
One of the main weaknesses of shared hosting is that the sites only divvy out space on a hard drive, and do not make an effort to split up network bandwidth equally. This can lead to problems based on the bandwidth use of others on the server. If there is a heavy user on the same server, this can lead to performance issues for the others on the server.
Big picture: This package is ideal for new users who are looking for a cheap way to get their website up and running, or any user who doesn’t need a whole server’s worth of space to create their ideal webpage. In addition, this package is probably best for users who are unfamiliar with the process of web design and don’t want the extra tools of a dedicated hosting package, which take a lot of effort just to learn how to use.
A dedicated hosting company basically rents an entire server to the user. The server is not shared with anyone, giving the user complete control of the machine. In some dedicated hosting packages (called managed servers), the host will update the security and operating system, but apart from that, the server is in the hands of the user. Because you don’t have other webages on the server, you won’t be competing for bandwidth and worrying about another user compromising your security.
Depending on your experience, the amount of control can also be a disadvantage. Managing the server can take a lot of time and may involve a lot of struggle to learn for an inexperienced user. If you don’t have the skills necessary to manage your own server, dedicated hosting may not be the best option for you. In addition, the package is a lot more expensive than share hosting. You aren’t sharing the dedicated server with a bunch of other people and the host will charge you for it.
Big Picture: This web hosting solution is ideal for larger companies who need the space that a dedicated package can provide without worrying about having their security compromised by another user. This option is also preferable for companies who could use the freedom that having full server access can provide, and don’t want to be competing for bandwidth with others on the server.
Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting
VPS hosting companies provide a cross between dedicated hosting and shared hosting products. The space on a server will be partitioned, or divided, between a few users. Each block of space will be isolated from others on the server and will operate as its own server. Having an isolated VPS server gives you with the option to choose your own software, like a dedicated server, without having to pay dedicated server prices.
As with dedicated hosting, the biggest weakness with this system is its cost. In addition, server resources are also shared in a VPS arrangement, so slow downs can be expected when other users are hogging bandwidth.
Big Picture: This package is ideal for an experienced user who is essentially looking for the operating freedom of a dedicated host without paying dedicated host prices.
Cloud hosting companies link a cluster of connected servers to act as a large, single server, a.k.a. the “cloud.” This cluster of servers is managed by a hypervisor, which partitions the storage of the cluster. Each customer selects the amount of CPU, memory, and storage they wish, and the hypervisor partitions the space according to the consumer’s demands. This demand can be scaled up and down easily by the users depending on their changing needs. As with VPS and dedicated hosting, cloud customers have full access to their own partitions.
The novelty of Cloud is both a gift and a cruse. While it is a hot new toy, there are issues of security and privacy that that could arise (see http://www.hicss.hawaii.edu/hicss_44/bp44/st1.pdf). Due to its newness, it’s also difficult to predict the long-term stability of this product. Finally, new users may have a hard time in gauging their personal uses when signing on with a cloud host. They may end up overpaying for a product that is not fully used or underpaying just to have problems with space and bandwidth later.
Big Picture: This product is ideal for larger companies that can gauge changes in their needs for space, or experienced users who can predict the rise and fall in their sites’ traffic, and wish to tailor their packages based on these changes.
Not every package will work for every user, but hopefully this provides a little guidance on the hosting products available to help you decide which one is best for you!
Category: Web Hosting