Choosing the right web hosting option: shared hosting, VPS or dedicated server?

Which hosting option should you choose for your new website?

With so many different web hosts and a seemingly endless variety of hosting packages to choose from it’s a veritable minefield for new webmasters. Choosing the right web hosting company is the first, and perhaps the most crucial step, but once you know who you’re going to host your site (or sites) with, how do you pick the right hosting plan for your needs.

Types of hosting

Web hosting companies typically offer three different types of web hosting: shared hosting environments, virtual private servers, and dedicated servers.

Let’s take a look at each option in turn.

1. Shared Hosting

A shared hosting environment means that your hosting account will be sitting on the same server as, and sharing server resources with, several other hosting accounts (depending on the host these could number from a few dozen to several hundred sites on a single server).

This is by far the most common option and is usually more than adequate for a typical small business website, personal websites and blogs.

The LetsHost Complete Hosting Plan is a great example of a shared hosting solution with an excellent set of features, plenty of space and  a healthy bandwidth allowance.

2. Virtual Private Server (VPS)

A VPS, also known as a virtual dedicated server (VDS) is essentially a single physical machine that has been ‘split’ into a number of virtual servers. Each user feels like they’re on their own dedicated server, but in fact they’re sharing the physical resources of a single machine.

Customers typically have complete administrative control over their own virtual server, offering more flexibility with software installation and set-up.

VPS hosting is suited to small to medium businesses with relatively high-traffic websites or that need to run web-based applications, and who need control and flexibility at an affordable price.

3. Dedicated server

Dedicated hosting solutions provide just that: a dedicated, high-powered server for your website(s), and only for your website(s).

You don’t share space or system resources with anybody else – and that gives you maximum power, flexibility and control… but it also means that you don’t share the cost either. Dedicated hosting is more expensive.

Dedicated servers are ideal for larger businesses and hosting large corporate websites with high levels of traffic and heavy server load. They may also offer the best solution for smaller web-based organisations that run very high traffic sites or that need to run resource hungry software on their server.

3b. Server co-location

Co-location is very similar to dedicated hosting, except that instead of the hosting company providing a pre-configured dedicated server for your website, you buy and configure your own server, which is then housed at the host’s facility.

This offers perhaps the ultimate in flexibility, because you have complete control not only over the software and setting on the server, but also over the hardware specification, operating system, software, security… everything.

Which hosting option you ultimately choose depends on your business, the type of website you’re going to be hosting and the levels of web traffic you anticipate. If you need help assessing your hosting needs contact LetsHost’s sales team, and we’ll be happy to offer our expert advice and guidance.