Last Updated on 8th April 2021 by Editorial Team (Victoria)
This article contains a detailed guide on the different types of web hosting and the difference between them.
Having a site online is great, but for your site to go live, you will need to choose the perfect hosting for your business.
Read our article on the difference between web hosting and domain name
Knowing which to choose makes it a lot easier, and that is why in this guide, you will learn about the different types of web hosting and the difference between them.
Different Types of web hosting
Basically, there are 6 different types of web hosting exist and they include:
- Shared hosting
- Cloud hosting
- Managed hosting
- Dedicated hosting
- VPS hosting
The choice as to which is best amongst the types of hosting depends on the needs of your site.
However, to deal with the differences between them, we will have to treat each of them individually.
Having said all that, let’s start with shared hosting
Shared hosting is a type of hosting option that serves multiple sites from a single physical server.
It simply means that alongside you (if you use shared hosting) many other sites are hosted on a single server and all make use of resources from that single server.
However, shared hosting stands as the best option for people looking for a budget-friendly hosting option.
It is relatively cheap because resources are shared from a single server to about a hundred or thousand websites depending on the hardware space available.
Additionally, with the shared hosting, you can get hosting for as low as $2.99
Like I stated earlier, that shared hosting serves multiple sites from its single physical server.
They do this by allocating spaces (where your web files are stored) for individual sites hosted with them.
Users don’t have access to each other’s file.
Each site shares the same hardware and software from that single server.
- It is cost-effective: shared hosting offers a cost-effective and budget-friendly hosting option ( you can get hosting for as low as $2.99 monthly), this is simply because resources are shared by multiple sites.
- Easy to set up: Additionally, You don’t have to worry about understanding any coding language for the setup of your site.
It is very straight forward and easy to set up.
Shared hosting comes with a Cpanel and necessary resources that allow you to manage your site easily.
- flexibility: Most hosting company comes with varieties of hosting options which means you can upgrade to any option anytime
- It is technically managed by professionals: Another unique feature about shared hosting is that most of the maintenance is done by your server. You have little to zero maintenance to do.
They offer professional technical assistance for all sites hosted with them.
However beautiful this hosting option looks, it still has its disadvantages and they include:
- You experience a slow load time due to the multiple sites hosted on a single server.
- Server crash due to tons of sites hosted on the server.
- Thirdly, You really don’t know who your neighbour is, they can possibly tamper with the .htaccess file in the root directory, thus exposing sites on the server to the security threat.
What is cloud hosting?
Cloud hosting is a type of hosting that makes use of different servers to serve sites.
You get the opportunity to make use of resources from the different servers that serve your site.
Also, because cloud hosting serves sites from different servers, if a server is down, another server is ready to serve.
How does cloud hosting work?
The easiest way to explain how cloud hosting works is to compare it with traditional hosting.
Traditional hosting serves multiple sites from a single server with all the website files stored on that single server, while cloud hosting serves sites from multiple servers and this balances load and maximize uptime.
In short, cloud hosting can be said to be a network of physical servers. Users request on your site is served from multiple servers
The benefit of cloud hosting
With cloud hosting, scalability is guaranteed, there is no need to worry about traffic spikes as they have available resources in place such as multi servers to handle unexpected traffic surges.
Also, you can upgrade your CPU and RAM in case of traffic surges.
Cloud hosting aids a better performance of sites hosted with them simply because it is loaded from multiple servers.
Flexible pricing structure
In some traditional hosting, you pay for unused capacity, but cloud hosting allows you to pay only for resources used.
Because cloud hosting serves site from multiple servers, backup is done automatically, hence if there is a disaster, recovery is easy.
Disadvantages of cloud hosting
Since your hosting is on the cloud, you will need steady internet access to upload web files and to also retrieve them.
This means that if there is a network disconnection, your site can experience some downtime.
In addition to this, the cost of data and maintaining your site depends solely on you.
Most cloud hosting services hardly experience downtime, except reseller cloud hosting services and this might be as a result of low internet connection, loss of power/electricity.
With cloud hosting, sensitive information is shared with a third-party cloud computer server, if hackers or hijackers get access to this information, your site is at risk.
Lack of support
Often, most cloud hosting providers do not offer supports to their customers, rather they refer them to their FAQs service. This is a total turn off.
What is managed hosting?
It is a hosting type where the service provider allocates dedicated servers and dedicated resources to a customer and still handle the management of that system on the customer’s behalf.
They basically manage your site for you.
Advantages of managed hosting
- Handles daily backups for your site.
- Scan your entire life for known security threat and deal with them appropriately.
- Optimizes your site for the best performance.
- Provides a top-notch support service.
- They help in setting up server to meet your needs.
Disadvantages of managed hosting
Managed hosting is expensive when compared to the other hosting options.
What is VPS hosting?
VPS is an acronym for Virtual Private Server and it is a hosting type that uses virtualization technology to allocate dedicated resources to multiple users on a single server.
It is a better option for site owners who have moved beyond the shared hosting option, and haven’t reached the dedicated hosting option yet.
Basically, VPS hosting serves as a balance between shared hosting and dedicated hosting option.
How do VPS hosting works?
A VPS server works by using a single server to host multiple virtual servers which are independent of each other via software called hypervisor.
Each virtual server has its own operating system which is relatively independent of each other because you all have individual dedicated servers.
This is why VPS hosting is both virtual and private, you have full control and similarly, each server works independently of the other.
However, VPS hosting is kind of similar to a dedicated server except that the latter is cheaper than the former.
Advantages of using VPS hosting
- You have dedicated resources like memory, CPU cores, RAM.
- When compared with shared hosting, VPS hosting is more reliable.
- With easy scalability, in the case of a traffic spike, you can easily upgrade your resources.
- It is more private as your files are independent of other servers and similarly, they don’t have access to your site’s files.
- In case of traffic spikes on other sites, you don’t have to worry, simply because you have a dedicated server that is not affected by other sites.
Disadvantages of using VPS hosting
- If compared to shared hosting, it is expensive.
- You need technical skills to be able to configure and manage servers.
- A mistake in the configuration of the server can expose your site to a security threat.
In dedicated hosting, the hosting provider provides a dedicated server with dedicated resources for a single site.
Basically, dedicated hosting is an ideal option for sites with very huge traffic.
The client is in charge of the whole server and can configure it to meet his needs.
Advantages of dedicated hosting
- Full control: The client is in full control because the server is dedicated to a single site.
- Flexibility: You can easily configure, add new software and resources to meet your needs.
- Unique IP address: A unique IP address is allocated to each server on the internet, the IP address is a set of numbers that help identify the location of a server.
Importantly, if multiple sites are hosted on the same server, they will all have the same IP address.
Peradventure, if one of the sites IP address is blacklisted, this affects all the sites hosted on the server.
But with a dedicated server, a unique IP address is allocated to a single site.
- Security: As I stated earlier, dedicated hosting is one of the best options when it comes to security.
with shared hosting, sites are served from a single server, so a breach in security by one of the sites affect the other sites hosted on the same server similarly.
Disadvantages of dedicated hosting
- It is relatively expensive.
- If you are not geeky, setting up your own server will be a problem.
Dedicated hosting is solely for business owners with very huge traffic like Google.
Types of hosting and their differences
The major difference between shared hosting and cloud hosting that the former serves multiple sites from a single physical server while the former serves from a different server.
Cloud hosting is more expensive compared to shared hosting.
Shared hosting is a perfect option for people with a tight budget and startups.
Shared hosting serves multiple sites from a single server while managed hosting, the service provider allocates a dedicated server, alongside dedicated resources to a client and still manage the system on behalf of the customer.
If you are just starting, shared hosting is the best option because it is relatively cheap compared to managed hosting.
Finally, you don’t have to be worried about backups, site performance and security with the managed hosting as your service provider does the job for you.
In dedicated hosting, a single server is dedicated to a single site while in shared hosting, a single server is dedicated to multiple sites.
A dedicated server is an ideal option for those with technical skills as they will be configuring and managing the server on their own, while shared hosting is the perfect idea for site owners with little to zero technical skills.
The basic similarity between the two is the single server they serve sites from.
However, the differences between them are this;
- While shared hosting serves multiple sites from a single server, VPS hosting creates virtual multiple servers within a single server.
- VPS hosting has dedicated resources while shared hosting does not.
- Shared hosting is relatively cheap compared to VPS hosting.
- In case of traffic spikes on another website, the whole server is affected on shared hosting, while in VPS hosting, it doesn’t affect you simply because you all have individual servers.
Dedicated hosting vs VPS hosting
Dedicated hosting is for sites with huge traffic while VPS hosting are for sites with medium traffic.
VPS hosting is relatively cheap compared to dedicated hosting.
Dedicated hosting has a dedicated server to a single site while VPS has a shared virtual server to multiple sites so resources are split between hosting accounts.
Cloud hosting vs VPS hosting
Cloud hosting resources are unlimited while with VPS hosting, resources are limited.
VPS hosting vs managed hosting
Under VPS hosting, we have the managed VPS hosting and the unmanaged VPS hosting.
In the managed VPS hosting your server including the setup and management is managed by your service provider.
while in the unmanaged VPS hosting, you have full control of your server and that includes setup and management.
Finally, we hope you have learned about the different types of web hosting that exist and the differences between them?
Remember that the shared hosting is for startups and those with a very tight budget, the VPS hosting is for those with medium traffic that have outgrown the shared hosting resources.
While cloud hosting is for those who want their site hosted on different servers.
Dedicated hosting is specifically for big companies like Google with huge traffic.
Finally, the managed hosting is for those who want the setup and configuration of their website done by their service provider.
Having said all that, I will say that your choice of hosting type depends on the type of hosting that meets your needs.
Thanks for reading, please do not forget to share, we will also love to hear from you about the type of hosting you prefer and why you prefer them.
Victoria is a graduate of biochemistry from the prestigious Kogi state University, Nigeria. She has a passion for writing and has written multiple content for blogs within and outside Nigeria. While she is not writing, she is reading or traveling round the world