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Which Type of Web Hosting Do You Need?

“I think you should create a post which would explain which type of hosting plan is good for hosting WP. Some people just signup for those basic shared hosting plan because they are cheap and promises to provide unlimited everything…” – Mithun

Today’s post comes from a reader email who suggested I talk about types of web hosting for WordPress. I thought this was a great idea because I know that when you’re starting out with a self hosted WordPress blog, things can be a bit confusing. What type of hosting plan do you need? What are the differences between the cheap plans and ones that cost a bit more? Hopefully this post helps aid in your decision, which is ultimately up to you and depends on how much traffic you plan on receiving.

Shared Hosting

Shared website hosting is generally what you initially sign up for when you choose a hosting provider. These are the packages that are usually advertised as being affordable with unlimited bandwidth and space. A shared hosting package means that your website is hosted on the same server as hundreds (or even thousands) of other websites. You are simply “renting” your own little corner of that server to host your own website files.

Shared hosting tends to work well for a lot of websites that are not resource-heavy. By that, I mean websites that don’t receive a HUGE amount of traffic and aren’t constantly demanding the server to do various tasks for them. If you don’t currently (or don’t plan on) having a heavy traffic flow to your website, this option may suit you just fine.

These hosting packages can range from an average of about $5 per month to $20 per month.

Since a shared server contains tons of other websites, it has to keep up with the demands of not only your website, but all of the other ones as well. Websites that are using huge amounts of that server’s resources can really slow things down for everybody else, and usually get that site suspended by the web host. When you pay for a shared account, you don’t own that server. You are sharing it with others and are expected to keep your website running smoothly and avoid hogging the resources.

My host, BlueHost offers great shared hosting packages at $3.49/month.

Pros:

  • Affordable at about $5-$20 a month
  • Great for small businesses or lower trafficked websites without a lot of dynamic content
  • Unlimited space and bandwidth if you keep your resource usage low
  • A good starter package

Cons:

  • Not meant for higher trafficked websites
  • Risk of being suspended for high resource usage
  • You’re sharing the server with other sites that could impact your site speed

VPS (Virtual Private Server) Hosting

VPS hosting is the next level of web hosting. Instead of sharing your server with thousands of other websites, a VPS works like you have your own private machine. Think of it like this: A shared server is like a community, or an office building filled with hundreds/thousands of people. A virtual private server is like an individual unit within that building. If someone hit the master power switch for the building, all of the units would be affected (shared hosting), whereas if the power switch for one single unit was turned off, only that unit would be affected. A VPS is that single unit. Since all of the resources belong to that single unit, it cannot be affected by downtime or issues due to another website.

Higher trafficked websites, or websites that have a lot of dynamic content, should sign up for a VPS hosting account for this very reason. If you know you are going to be using a lot of resources and don’t want to risk negatively affecting other websites (as well as your own), then this is what you need. If your shared hosting account has been suspended due to over-usage, generally your web host will mention their VPS services and suggest that you upgrade.

My host,Bluehost, also offers a selection of VPS hosting options.

Pros:

  • It’s like your own private unit on a server
  • No worries about downtime or other sites slowing yours down
  • Little to no worry of being suspended for using resources
  • Your own custom firewall, dedicated mail server, and control over your site’s security
  • Reserved amount of RAM and CPU resources just for you!

Cons:

  • More expensive

Dedicated Servers

If you really want control over your website and have a high resource usage, a dedicated server allows you to do just that. Much more expensive than the other options, a dedicated server lets you lease an entire server from a web hosting company. This means that you are not placed on a server with anybody else, and are able to customize your hardware. It would be as if you are leasing that entire office building as opposed to renting one unit. This option is usually more for the advanced user and generally isn’t needed by the average website owner.

Pros:

  • You get an entire server, all to yourself
  • Customizable hardware, operating system, and security
  • No worries about resources or other websites

Cons:

  • Can cost about a couple hundred bucks a month

What do you need?

All in all, a hosting plan is something that should be considered fully before simply signing up for the cheapest provider. Think about how resource-heavy your website will be (how much content will be loaded, the size of content, how many databases you’ll be running, etc.), and take into consideration your traffic. If you’ve had a blog or website for a while on a free platform, you should easily be able to grasp your amount of daily and monthly traffic. Starting out with a shared hosting plan can help you monitor this usage and help you decide if you should upgrade to a VPS.Β  Another thing to try to find out is approximately how many websites are hosted on a hosting provider’s shared servers. Sometimes the cheapest options are cheap for a reason: thousands and thousands of websites on one server could mean more downtime or slower loading.

I hope this gave you a little insight into the different types of web hosting!

The hosting link above uses a BlueHost affiliate link in which this site earns a commission on each sign up, at no cost to you. This ensures you receive the premium hosting rate we are able to offer.


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