So you’re planning on building your first website.
You might be asking yourself:
“What are the different types of web hosting I should know about?”
We’re here to help.
Choosing a type of web hosting is an important step to creating your dream website.
You wouldn’t want to pick the wrong one and end up pulling your hair from stress!
Today we will be discussing the four main types of web hosting:
- Shared hosting
- VPS hosting
- Dedicated hosting
- Cloud hosting
What are the advantages and disadvantages of each one?
Which web host provider is the best choice for each one?
Hopefully, at the end of this article, you’ll get to differentiate one hosting from the other and pick out the one that would best suit your website.
But before we dive into it, let’s first discuss why it’s important to carefully pick your type of web hosting.
Why is it important to choose your type of web hosting?
Web hosting isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of thing.
Each one supports various website’s different needs based on factors such as performance, reliability, flexibility, and scalability.
Imagine having an eCommerce website that sees thousands of visitors in one day.
Now imagine another website that only has blog posts and a handful of visitors daily.
Would they choose the same type of web hosting?
Of course not.
One needs to be backed by powerful servers to accommodate high traffic, and the other can settle with a server intended for low-traffic sites.
Remember to take your time in choosing which web hosting provider to go for.
But if you make a mistake, you can still undo it.
You can always migrate from one type of web host to another but that’s additional stress we want to spare you from.
Best Web Hosting Providers for the Four Main Types of Web Hosting
Shared Hosting - Affordable and beginner-friendly
Let’s start with the basics.
Shared hosting is the best option for beginner website builders.
For starters, it’s cheap and economical.
As its name implies, you get to share a single server with thousands of other websites and these sites all split the cost.
But while that sounds good for your wallet, the affordability has its limits too.
Shared hosting means you share resources like RAM, bandwidth, and disk space with thousands of other sites.
This puts a cap on your resources and might even cause you trouble if you experience a sudden spike in website traffic.
Let’s check out the pros and cons of shared hosting.
Shared Web Hosting Pros
This is the most popular type of hosting for a lot of reasons:
- Value for money
- Tiered plans
- No technical knowledge required
- Easy to upgrade
Let’s take a quick look at each one!
Value for money
You’ll never find hosting as affordable as this one.
Bluehost’s shared web hosting package even lets you start a website for as low as $2.75/month. That already comes with quite a lot of inclusions.
Even if the renewal rates triple after the initial term, shared hosting is still cheap.
Web hosting providers don’t just have one shared hosting option, you can choose between multiple plans.
Higher tiers get you more benefits in terms of storage, website, bandwidth, email, security options, and more.
No technical knowledge required
Shared web hosting doesn’t need you to be knowledgeable about website coding or customization.
Some web hosting providers include custom themes and nifty website builders to make it easier for you.
Not to mention the easy-to-use cPanel you get with your plan.
Easy to upgrade
The moment you know you need a better web hosting option, you can upgrade anytime to VPS hosting or another hosting option.
Upgrades can be done with a simple click and your web host provider will do the rest for you.
Shared Web Hosting Cons
If shared hosting sounds great for beginners, what’s not to like?
There are a couple of things you should watch out for when it comes to this hosting type:
- It has its limits
- Your website tends to get slow
- It can’t accommodate high traffic
- Security will cost you a few dollars
- Renewal rates almost triple
Let’s quickly discuss each disadvantage.
It has its limits
If you’re planning on loading your website with lots of graphics, videos, and photos, the limited storage space is an issue.
Some shared hosting plans will say you get “unlimited” or “unmetered” storage but if you read the fine print, there’s still a cap on the number of files you can put in there.
Once you go over the limit, you might have to pay more.
Your website tends to get slow
Web hosting providers promise great uptime guarantees but often with shared hosting, your website will feel slow.
If you’re really unlucky, it will crash.
That’s because you share resources with other websites and the server needs to accommodate everyone.
Thinking of running a small business?
You could lose a few potential clients with even a few seconds of website delay with shared hosting.
It can’t accommodate high traffic
Say your website suddenly got a barrage of clicks.
That’s a good thing for you but not so much for your shared hosting server.
Aside from the website slowing down as we said earlier, your boost in traffic will affect your neighboring websites too.
And that’s actually experienced vice versa.
When other websites on your shared server experience a sudden spike in traffic -- guess what -- your resources will get strained.
So if you think your website will gain more clicks as the months go by, you might want to go for something better than shared hosting.
Security will cost you a few extra dollars
Web host providers often include SSL certificates in shared hosting packages, but that’s the bare minimum.
Sharing a server with multiple other websites makes you even more prone to hacking, malware, and viruses.
You need better website security to protect sensitive information from online threats.
Obviously, you’ll need to shell out more cash for this.
Renewal rates almost triple
That shiny, affordable initial rate isn’t forever.
Check the renewal price and you’ll be met with a rate that’s almost triple.
But comparing the renewal rates to the rates of other types of hosting, shared hosting is still the most budget-friendly.
Who is it for?
Shared hosting is perfect for:
- Those on a tight budget
- Beginners to web hosting
- Websites with low traffic expectancy (personal blogs, school projects, etc.)
- Small business sites that are just getting started
Best Web Hosting Provider for Shared Hosting - Bluehost
Bluehost’s shared hosting plans start at $2.75/month and it’s perfect for website beginners.
You get an easy step-by-step to website building, SSL certificates, free domain, and a 99.9% uptime guarantee.
Not to mention Bluehost is officially recommended by WordPress.
That makes it easier for you to start your website on WordPress, plus you get hundreds of awesome one-click installs too.
VPS Hosting - Powerful middle ground
Once you think you’ve outgrown shared hosting, it’s time to upgrade to VPS hosting or Virtual Private Server hosting.
This type of hosting is the middle ground between the cheap shared hosting for beginners and the expensive dedicated hosting for pros.
VPS hosting gets you a part of a server with resources of your own.
With shared hosting you’re sharing a dorm with your loud roommates, VPS hosting is comfortably renting a room of your own.
But you aren’t actually alone -- you still have people (websites) living on the same floor (server) as you.
VPS hosting gives each site on its server and independent space with its virtual partition technology.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of this type of hosting?
VPS hosting pros
VPS hosting gives you more power for your website but that’s just the tip of its advantages:
- You get your own resources
- It’s scalable and flexible
- It’s reliable
- Cheaper than dedicated hosting
- Your site is secure
You get your own resources
VPS hosting gives you your own RAM, disk space, CPU cores, and bandwidth.
You don’t have to share it with other websites again. (Yay!)
It’s scalable and flexible
Need more disk space, RAM, or bandwidth?
You get hassle-free upgrades for those resources.
Unlike shared hosting, this type of hosting gives you control to tinker with your site and customize it to the root level.
All this without affecting your neighbor server renters.
Say goodbye to slow websites you used to have with shared hosting.
Thanks to VPS hosting’s dedicated resources, you won’t experience that anymore.
Even if you have neighbors on your server, their spike in traffic won’t affect your website.
That means you actually get to enjoy better uptimes and get better clicks and conversions from it too.
Cheaper than dedicated hosting
It’s got the features of dedicated hosting minus the price tag.
VPS hosting is the perfect middle-ground and a great upgrade from shared hosting’s pricing plans.
Hosting plans from the best web host providers usually start around $20/month and can even go up to $100/month.
That might look like a lot but it’s still an affordable option compared to dedicated hosting.
Your site is secure
Sure, you still share the server with other websites but you’ve got independent spaces thanks to the virtual partition technology.
It gives you a layer of protection against online threats.
And for your peace of mind, you can also bump up your security software with offers from your chosen web hosting provider.
VPS hosting cons
Now that we’ve discussed VPS hosting’s advantages, let’s head on over to the disadvantages:
- Powerful but expensive option
- Some level of technical expertise needed
Powerful but expensive option
It’s a disadvantage for those on a budget.
Coming from a shared server plan, VPS hosting’s pricing plan might be too much for you.
But this disadvantage comes with a ton of benefits so it’s still worth considering.
You need some level of technical expertise.
Unlike shared hosting where your server is managed for you, VPS hosting gives you the reins.
However, if you don’t know a single thing about managing a site, you might have a hard time.
Managed VPS hosting exists but you’re going to have to shell out even more cash for that.
Who is it for?
VPS hosting is perfect for:
- Those who have extra cash to spend for a better server
- Those expecting moderate to heavy traffic for their websites
- Those want some kind of control over their server for customization
Best Web Host Provider for VPS Hosting - A2 Hosting
When it comes to speed and server power, you can trust A2 Hosting to bring its A-game.
It has high-performance Turbo Servers that promise to load pages 20 times faster than other servers.
A2 Hosting plans for managed VPS start at $39.99/month.
That already comes with 4GB RAM, 2 Cores, server management, free SSL certificates, and more.
Dedicated Hosting - Built for the web pros
But what if your website needs more power?
Dedicated hosting is the answer.
This type of hosting works by giving you an entire server to yourself -- no website neighbors.
It’s like finally getting your own house after you’ve outgrown your room.
What’s to like about dedicated hosting?
Dedicated Hosting Pros
Dedicated hosting caters to everyone who wants:
- Full control
- Tighter security
- Better website performance
Let’s take a quick look at each advantage!
You have an entire physical server all to yourself.
You get to customize every bit of it to fit your specific need.
Add all the software you like or put as many files as you want.
Over time, you can even scale your website.
Dedicated hosting gives you the maximum flexibility you need to move around and build your dream websites.
No more neighboring websites mean no more threats to your security.
You’re not sharing resources or server space anymore.
Plus, you can beef up your own website security measures as you please.
So you’ve got full control over your server and you’re not splitting resources with others.
Dedicated hosting gives you the best performance since all your resources are concentrated on your needs.
You get a fully optimized website with amazing load times and no downtimes (hopefully).
Dedicated hosting cons
But before you go all starry-eyed and decide you want to go for dedicated hosting, check out its cons first:
- It’s expensive
- You need to have the technical expertise
Dedicated hosting’s price is the biggest disadvantage for those looking at this type of hosting.
Sure, dedicated hosting can give you the firepower for an ultra-fast website but the service comes with a price tag.
It usually starts at around $100/month.
That’s the price to pay for not splitting the server with other websites!
You need to have the technical expertise
This type of hosting gives you ultimate control over everything.
Unless you’re a pro web developer, you might not be able to maximize the power dedicated hosting gives.
You might just be burning money.
Who is it for?
Dedicated hosting is perfect for:
- Those who have the budget for it
- Growing websites that experience high traffic every day
- Those who want consistent, fast load times
- Those who are able to control their server and customize it to their needs
Best Web Host Provider for Dedicated Hosting - DreamHost
Dreamhost offers a 100% uptime guarantee for their dedicated servers.
Dedicated hosting starts at $149/month and it comes with 4-core processors, 4GB RAM, and heavy security against online threats.
You can’t go wrong with Dreamhost if you’re experiencing high website traffic.
Cloud Hosting - Flexible, scalable, and reliable
Cloud hosting is another main type of web hosting worth considering if you’ve got the cash to spare.
It works by storing your files and data on a hybrid of interconnected physical and virtual servers, a.k.a. ‘the cloud.’
Traditional web hosting limits you to one physical server, and sometimes you even have to share it with other websites.
You won’t have to do that with cloud hosting -- you get your own part of the cloud with dedicated resources.
The cloud cluster helps distribute and balance your server load so the servers don’t get overwhelmed.
More and more people are considering switching to cloud hosting once they’ve outgrown shared web hosting.
After all, it’s almost similar to VPS hosting but made even more reliable, flexible, and scalable.
So should you take the cloud hosting path?
Cloud hosting pros
Let’s talk about the benefits that cloud hosting could do for you:
- Pay resources on demand
- Impressive uptimes
- Easy to scale
Pay resources on demand
The greatest benefit you’ll get from cloud hosting is that it lets you save your money.
Traditional web hosting gives you a flat rate for resource upgrades like RAM and disk space and often you don’t maximize the usage.
With cloud hosting, you’ll only pay for what you’ll use.
You don’t have to worry about extra fees and unused resources!
Plus, you can do all that in a few hassle-free clicks from your control panel.
Cloud hosting is great for reliability.
Since your data is distributed on multiple servers, when one of them goes down, other servers in the cloud keep your site up and running.
It’s a seamless process that lets customers on your site browse freely whenever they want.
It’s easy to scale
Need more power? Scale and upgrade your resources at any time.
Some web host providers even offer auto-scale options which automatically add resources to help you with spikes in traffic.
And like we talked about earlier, these resources are also paid on demand.
You won’t have to worry about your site not being able to handle your business, you just have to sit back and relax.
Cloud Hosting Cons
So if cloud hosting sounds so great, what should you watch out for?
There are a few disadvantages to this type of hosting:
- You will need to invest in security
- It has fluctuating prices
You will need to invest in security
If you think physical servers are bad with security, cloud servers might be a tad bit worse.
You could be more vulnerable to online threats since your data is housed largely on the internet.
If you’re choosing cloud hosting, double down on security measures to protect your sensitive information.
It’s got fluctuating prices
The pay-on-demand is a cool cost-efficient feature but it does have its drawbacks.
Sometimes the costs vary, especially if you’ve got spikes in traffic or experience other troubles down the road.
You couldn’t really be sure about how much you’re going to pay for.
Who is it for?
Cloud hosting is perfect for:
- Those expecting their websites to experience traffic spikes from moderate to heavy (you’ve got an ongoing eCommerce sale, for example)
- Those who want near-perfect uptime and scalability in a few clicks
- Those who have the money for it
Best Web Host Provider for Cloud Hosting - HostGator
Surprisingly, you won’t have to shell out much to start a website on cloud hosting with HostGator.
Its base plan begins at $4.95/month with a free domain for a year, 2GB memory, 2-core CPU, and free SSL certificates.
HostGator boasts of their cloud hosting plans being 2 times faster and 4 times more scalable.
Not to mention HostGator almost always has near-perfect uptimes and consistent page load speed.
This makes it one of the best web hosting providers for cloud hosting out there.
Other types of hosting
Now that we’ve talked about the four main types of web hosting, you should have an idea of how each one works.
Have you decided which one to go for?
But those four aren’t the only types of web hosting available.
Let’s have a quick look at the other types of web hosting you can try.
First up, WordPress hosting.
Almost all web hosting providers offer this.
As its name suggests, it’s a type of web hosting that’s optimized for WordPress.
Why does it have a dedicated hosting option, you ask?
According to research, over 75 million websites around the world are using WordPress today.
With that number, providers will definitely focus on WordPress-optimized hosting.
This type gets you the latest WordPress version plus hundreds of one-click installs and plug-ins for your site.
You also get a support team that’s focused specifically on WordPress so if you have trouble down the road, they’re trained to solve it for you.
Obviously, you should go for this if you’re planning on starting a website with WordPress.
But even if you didn’t, you can still start a WordPress site with regular web hosting.
Here’s another common hosting type you might have seen around.
Just like with WordPress hosting, reseller hosting is exactly as its name suggests.
It works by letting a person or company rent resources (hard drive, bandwidth) from web host providers and slap their own label on it.
They will have these resources up for rent to other smaller companies.
Simply put, reseller hosting lets you act as the web host for other smaller websites.
It’s the basics of reselling and it’s an ideal option for those aspiring to be web host providers in the future.
Reseller hosting lets you earn money since it’s essentially a business.
It also lets you tinker around and make your own hosting plans to fit your client’s needs.
Plus, it shows you the ropes on how to handle being a web host for all those other sites.
Lastly, another type of web hosting you could be wondering about is business hosting.
Yep, you guessed it right.
This one is optimized for those with businesses or planning on running eCommerce sites.
Business hosting gives you the simplicity of shared hosting with the power of VPS hosting.
You don’t have to have technical skills to keep your eCommerce site up and running.
Plus, you’re given an upgrade on resources like CPU, RAM, bandwidth, SSL certificates, and more.
Go for business hosting if you’re starting your business and you’re expecting it to pick up within the next months.
Types of Web Hosting 2023 FAQ
And there you have it!
Those are the different types of web hosting for 2023.
But before we wrap this up, we’ll answer a few of your lingering questions:
What is web hosting?
In case you got this far without knowing what web hosting is, let me explain it to you real quick.
Web hosting is a service that allows anyone to create websites on the internet.
Your files will be hosted on servers and these servers make them available to anyone in the world as long as they know your domain.
No, you can’t have a website without a web host, or a web hosting provider for that matter.
Yes, if you’re planning on starting a website, you absolutely need a web host.
To get an idea of what to do, read the four main types of web hosting above and then check out our best web host providers for 2023.
What type of web hosting do I need?
The web host you should choose depends on what you need.
Will your website be heavy on graphics, photos, and videos? Is it a blog? Is it an eCommerce site that will expect high traffic in the future?
Once you know what your website is for, you can narrow down your web hosting selection.
Go for shared hosting if you are on a budget with a low-traffic website that isn’t too heavy on graphics.
If you need more storage space and bandwidth, go for VPS hosting.
And finally, if you despise slow websites and downtimes and you’ve got the money for it, go for dedicated hosting.
What’s the best web hosting provider?
Now that you’ve figured out which type of web hosting you should go for, the next step in your journey is picking out a web hosting provider.
We’ve talked about our top 6 web hosting providers for 2023 but in case you’re pressed for time, our top three are:
These three are not only beginner-friendly and budget-friendly, but they also have a wide range of web hosting products and services.
Alright, that’s it!
Remember that choosing a type of web hosting is a crucial decision for your site.
Choose the wrong one and you might suffer the consequences.
But it’s good to know that even if you did make a mistake in gauging which type you should go for, scaling and website migration is an easy option these days.
So, which type of web hosting are you going for?
Let us know in the comments!