If you’re a website owner looking into server options and you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, don’t worry, you’re not alone. A big part of the problem comes down to unique requirements. Small companies and large brands have distinctly different requirements for their websites.
Your first step in choosing a server for your website, then, is to sit down and very carefully plot out your requirements, so you know what you do and don’t need. Still, with thousands of web companies offering server packages in dozens of unique flavors, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed.
What you need is a little direction and a fair amount of insight to make an informed choice. Today, we’ll be taking a look at three of the most popular server types, their advantages and disadvantages, and who benefits from using them.
Shared hosting is a lower-tier server option named exactly for what it is. Many websites are hosted on and share the services of the same server.
This is one of the most common hosting package types provided by web hosting providers and used by millions of websites around the world.
System resources, maintenance costs, and server space are assigned to a pool of websites, all existing in the same server space. Think of it as a sleepover, where everybody unrolls their sleeping bags in the same living room. Each bag is their own, with a separate person inside, but everyone sleeps in the same space.
Lowered costs, as server maintenance expenses are split across all sites sharing the service
Low levels of technical knowledge are required by each site owner making use of the space
Hosting is often bundled with an easy-to-use control panel
Maintenance is usually handled entirely by the hosting service, making it a consistent, reliable choice for novice users
Sharing resources can drain server performance, with high traffic on one site pulling on the resources used by another site
As you grow and your needs mature, you may be frustrated by your inability to fine tune specific server settings as you need them
Security is often an issue, as users share access to the same server and may find ways to exploit their lateral existence with other sites
Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting involves one server partitioned into segments, each one for private use. Each site receives an allotment of resources to use from that server, meaning that nobody is affected by anybody else’s traffic. Their experience is closer to private hosting, while still technically being on a shared server.
VPS is an extremely popular option among many sites, striking a balance between the privacy of a dedicated server and the price of shared.
A big selling point for VPS is root access. Users receive root access to the server, meaning complete freedom to maintain their server as needed. Furthermore, VPS users can also make changes to server settings as needed.
Easy enough to use that it’s actually become a standard in hosting for many website managers
Enough privacy to operate, unaffected by other sites’ system usage, without having to invest in your own private server
More control over your server settings and content
More freedom to make changes and work with data means you run the risk of adding, deleting or changing something and damaging your data
More expensive than shared hosting
Sites have to trust in their ISP that they’re getting the privacy and resource allocation they’re paying for, which isn’t always the case
Cloud-based hosting is still a fairly new option for website hosting, but you’ve almost definitely heard of it. For those who don’t know, cloud-based combines hundreds of individual servers’ processors in a way that resembles a single giant server.
It’s a modular approach that has become extremely popular with many websites as it removes the need to plan for low or high traffic numbers. As server needs grow with more or fewer users, the hosting company can simply buy more hardware and increase the size of their grid.
This makes it an especially good choice for new websites looking to make an upgrade from shared hosting, where many of them will get their start. In your formative years, as traffic comes in inconsistently, your best bet is a server that adjusts to your needs.
In times of heightened and unexpected traffic, hosts can accommodate your numbers without shutting you down
Pricing is often pay-as-you-use, depending on the size of the grid you’ll need, making it a more practical budget option
Accessible from anywhere, and by any internet-ready smart device
Your connectivity is dependent on having a stable Internet connection
Not all service providers offer the same range of services and settings as traditional hosting services
Find The Right Home For Your Site
Premium web hosting is an incredibly broad term. Depending on your size and server needs, your site could make its home in thousands of different servers. The important thing to keep in mind is the fact that you have needs, and that your hosting service should match those. Otherwise, what’s the point in using them?
Interested in learning more about server sizes, layouts, OSs, and improving your site’s security? Check out some of our other articles, or feel free to get in touch with us with any questions you may have.