It has been almost 3 years since I first started my blog. But I still remember those early days when I was new to blogging and I was still unsure about a lot of things related to setting up a blog of my own. Well, I clearly recall that the most worrying thing for me was blog hosting.
Since the free options were actually very tempting, I found myself torn between choosing a paid or free web-hosting platform for my blog. Thankfully I did the right thing and went for paid hosting. All this was quite a while ago but an email that I received yesterday from one of my readers actually refreshed all those memories. He wanted my help in making a decision between the different types of web-hosting. So I thought about writing a detailed post about it to help many others who might have the same questions, rather than shooting off a short mail to one person.
Variety of Blog Hosting Choices
Other than the free and paid hosting, a new blogger or webmaster is presented with 4 kinds of web-hosting server options:
• Shared Hosting Server
• Dedicated Hosting Server
• Cloud Hosting
• Virtual Private Server
Shared Hosting Server
As the name suggests, your blog / site will be hosted on a storage space that will be shared with many others. This may seem a bit worrisome at the first impression but this is the most commonly used hosting arrangement by the small business owners online.
There are many limitations and few benefits of using `shared web-hosting. The major benefit is that it is supposedly the best working arrangement for new blogs and sites that do not have much traffic or bandwidth usage. The bandwidth limits allotted to each site on the same server is usually more than adequate. But if your blog starts using up more bandwidth then the web-hosting service company will inform you to upgrade to a bigger package.
The disadvantages are that the due to bandwidth sharing, there is a risk of your site going down in times of heavy spike in visitors leading to high bandwidth utilization. This heavy traffic could either be on your site or even be on any other site hosted alongside with your site on the shared server.
That being said, if your site is relatively small and new there is no harm in going for the shared server initially and then upgrade to higher usage packages as your needs gradually increase.
Dedicated Hosting Server
A dedicated server is reserved for a single customer, so that he / she can host one or multiple websites on it. The hosting may / may not be combined with maintenance services. Obviously if the dedicated server comes with maintenance it is going to be costlier. Many big businesses prefer going the dedicated way so that they are always in control of their servers and there are no surprise down times or sudden outages.
VPS / Virtual Private Server
This is the best option for businesses who want the exclusive facilities reserved for the dedicated hosting services while being allowed to pay a lot lesser than it. So it could very well be called as the bridge between dedicated and shared web-hosting. But the salient feature to be noted is that the hardware capacities are often fixed and limited.
This is a more specialized kind of Virtual Private Server service because it not only offers unlimited usage but also has provisions for upgrading the RAM and CPU etc without having to interrupt or stop the server from running. So in case you want to add to the storage space you can very well get it done and your business need not suffer during the up-gradation process.
Not all businesses have the same hosting needs. You have to closely scrutinize the needs of your business before you decide about a web-hosting service provider. In addition to looking at the current scenario, you will also need to have some foresight and plan ahead. If you are anticipating huge traffic and high bandwidth usage, it makes no sense in going for the shared web-hosting service. Similarly if you already know that your business will take some time before it starts generating traffic and usage of bandwidth or storage space, then why squander money on VPS or dedicated solution from now itself?
That being said there are many other factors to consider other than anticipated traffic. Sometimes it so happens that your business deals with highly sensitive data. You would not risk losing this info or make this highly sensitive info vulnerable to hackers and malwares. In such situations you will need to opt for VPS or dedicated servers without any exception, regardless of the traffic it is bound to get. So the bottom line is to personalize your hosting service according to the needs and growth of your business.