A Guide to Understanding Different Types of Hosting

Newcomers to the W mnordPress community often underestimate the importance of web hosting for the success of their websites. Taking the time to understand what different types of hosting can go a long way and potentially eliminate the need to migrate your site down the line.

In most cases, you won’t have to change a web host if you want to switch to a different type of hosting because most leading hosting providers offer multiple types of hosting.

A reliable provider will eliminate the need to deal with pesky server issues that prevent your site’s visitors from accessing its content. Most importantly, you won’t have to learn how to migrate your website if the web host you choose can accommodate its growth.

Let’s look at the key characteristics of shared, VPS, dedicated and other types of hosting and how they can affect your site’s performance.

Glossary of Essential Hosting Terms

The terminology web hosts use to describe the services they include in the different packages they offer can seem incomprehensible if you’re starting your first WordPress website

We’ll cover some essential terms that could make choosing a hosting provider easier. 

  • Web host – An online service that grants website owners access to servers on which they can store their websites.
  • Web server – The term refers to hardware and software necessary for websites to function. Web browsers collect information about a website or one of its pages from servers and display it to a site’s visitor. 
  • Bandwidth – The maximum amount of data transferred from a server to a visitor’s web browser. Bandwidth often depends on the hosting type and plan you choose. 

Server hardware components such as SSD hard drive, CPU, or RAM affect the site’s speed and the amount of files site admins can upload to a server. 

Remember that these parameters usually don’t depend on the hosting type but rather on the hosting plan you choose.

Hosting Types

Don’t feel pressured to get the best hosting money can buy for your website if you’re starting your first blog or wedding website.

That said, choosing the hosting type that minimizes downtime and other technical server issues may help you develop your site faster and ensure its high position in search engine results.

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Here are some of the most popular hosting types for WordPress websites.

1. Shared Hosting

Web hosts rent the same server to multiple websites hence the term shared hosting. Consequently, your website will share the server’s resources like CPU or RAM with all other domains on the same server.

Shared hosting plans are inexpensive, which makes them ideal for new websites that don’t expect to attract tens of thousands of monthly visitors in the near future.

Besides affordability, ease of use is another reason website owners opt for shared hosting plans. This hosting type has a number of limitations. Most notably, your site will share resources with all other websites stored on the same server.

As a result, a traffic spike on another website can affect your website’s loading speed. Some web hosts promise that their shared hosting plans deliver 100% uptime or unlimited storage even though they cannot deliver on that promise.

Hence, your site might be down due to technical server issues even though the provider vouches for 100% uptime. In addition, sharing a server with multiple sites can expose your website to cyberattacks.

Best shared hosting providers: 

2. Managed Hosting

Scalability, security, isolated resources, and extensive customer support are among the most significant advantages of managed hosting. Nearly all web hosts offer managed WordPress hosting solutions dedicated exclusively to websites that use this CMS. 

Your site won’t get all the space on a server, so traffic from other sites can still affect its performance, but its loading speed shouldn’t suffer because the server is optimized for WordPress.

Moreover, the host will take care of all technical aspects of managing your site, and you won’t have to deal with daily backups, updates, or system maintenance.

The host will configure server settings for you and provide the support you need whenever you encounter a server-side issue on your website. 

Some managed WordPress hosting plans also include regular WordPress updates, a selection of WordPress themes, and a variety of plugins you can use to streamline your site’s management. 

Unlike cheap hosting solutions, managed WordPress hosting plans don’t limit the number of websites you can build or storage space, and they offer staging environments. 

Best managed hosting providers:

3. Virtual Private Server (VPS Hosting)

A more robust hosting solution like VPS could be a good option if you don’t want to share a server with other websites. A virtual machine creates an isolated space for your website on a server and simulates a dedicated hosting environment.

Although technically, you won’t have the entire server at your disposal, your website won’t be easily affected by the activities on other websites stored on the same server.

Most plans include admin and root access to the server allowing for more flexibility and customization. Hence, you can choose the server’s OS and install software without restrictions.

It’s worth adding that virtual private servers cannot handle unlimited traffic, so if you expect thousands of daily website visitors, you should consider dedicated hosting.

Still, most VPS plans include considerably more bandwidth than shared or managed hosting plans, which makes them ideal for admins that want to optimize their sites for speed. Opting for VPS hosting can increase your site’s uptime.

Best VPS providers:

4. Cloud Hosting

Rather than storing website data on a single server, cloud hosting utilizes a network of servers to store a website.

In doing so, cloud hosting effectively eliminates downtime due to server errors because if one server in the network is down, visitors are redirected to another server. Website caching is another advantage of cloud hosting.

What this means is that copies of your site are kept on servers in a cloud hosting network which ensures visitors can access it quickly regardless of their geographic location.

Although this hosting type is best suited for large websites, opting for cloud hosting during the early stages of your site’s development can help you prepare for traffic growth and expansion in the future.

Cloud hosting is becoming more affordable as more and more providers include it in their offers. Still, overspending on cloud hosting is unnecessary if you’re running a blog or a small online store.

Best cloud hosting providers:

5. Dedicated Hosting

Most websites don’t generate enough traffic to justify the cost of hosting them on a dedicated server. As a result, only large businesses utilize dedicated hosting plans to choose the hardware and software their server will use.

These plans enable website owners to rent an entire server and cut costs on buying, storing, and managing server equipment.

Most companies opt for this solution to maximize their site’s safety and eliminate the chances of traffic spikes on other websites affecting their site’s performance.

Dedicated hosting isn’t a good solution for companies that don’t have IT teams capable of maintaining the website’s server. Also, most dedicated hosting plans are considerably more expensive than other hosting options. 

Investing in a dedicated hosting plan could be the right solution if you’re managing a high-traffic site with thousands of pages containing high-resolution videos and other demanding content. 

Best dedicated hosting providers:

6. Colocation Hosting

The practice of renting space for server hardware in a facility operated by another company is called colocation.

Rather than renting virtual space on a server owned by a hosting provider, large businesses often opt to purchase the equipment and store their websites on their own servers.

The only issue is that creating a data center environment is often complicated and prohibitively expensive. Besides space, companies that want to keep their servers in the facilities they manage have to ensure that the structure has the necessary cooling and power output.

Colocation hosting provides a solution to this problem because it enables a company to have its own server infrastructure without having to deal with data center maintenance.

This type of hosting exceeds the needs of most WordPress users, but being familiar with it could be helpful if your business expands to the point where you need office servers.

Best colocation hosting providers:

Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a Hosting Type

The hosting plan you chose should be adjusted to your site’s current development stage. Spending additional money on a VPS is often unnecessary if a managed WordPress hosting plan can cater to all your website’s needs.

Let’s look at the factors that can help you determine the right hosting type for your website.

  • Site’s size and age – Shared or managed WordPress hosting can be an excellent fit for most new and relatively small websites. WordPress sites can benefit from managed hosting due to the extensive support web hosts offer.
  • Daily traffic – Hosting plans often limit the site’s monthly traffic, so checking how many visitors your website has each day can help you choose the hosting type that will ensure daily traffic doesn’t affect your site’s performance.
  • Site’s demographics – Cloud hosting can solve most server issues for websites with a worldwide audience.
  • Content type – Websites that focus mainly on web copy and don’t publish vast quantities of videos usually don’t need VPS or similar types of hosting that offer high bandwidth.
  • Expansion opportunities – Investing in cloud hosting or VPS can be an excellent long-term solution if you’re anticipating the site’s rapid expansion. Still, an advanced managed WordPress hosting plan is sufficient for most recently launched websites.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Websites Can I Have On a Single Server?

The number of websites you can run from the same server depends on your hosting plan and ranges from just one to unlimited.

Is Shared Hosting Bad for My Website?

Most small and medium-sized websites use shared or managed hosting. This type of hosting has its downsides, but it’s far from being bad for your website.

Can I Use Shared Hosting for WordPress Website?

Shared hosting plans allow admins to install WordPress on a server, so you don’t have to opt for managed hosting if you’re on a budget.

Is Cloud Hosting Better than VPS?

VPS keeps all your site’s data on a single server unless you can enable CDN, while cloud hosting utilizes a network of servers. In a way, cloud hosting is an upgraded version of VPS that ensures visitors can access websites quickly wherever they are.

Choosing the Hosting for Your Website

Shared and managed hosting plans are tailored to meet the needs of most websites.

Despite a slightly higher price, opting for managed WordPress hosting is a more reliable solution because you won’t have to back up your site manually, reinstall WordPress by yourself or deal with other aspects of server management.

VPS and cloud hosting plans are recommended for websites that outgrow shared servers but are not yet ready to transition to dedicated hosting. Hopefully, this article supplied you with the information you need to choose the best hosting type for your website.

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