There are several factors to consider when searching for a Website hosting provider. For the average small business owner, the most important capabilities a website hosting service can provide are reliability and flexibility at a manageable cost.
You want your website to be available on the Internet at all times, so your host must be reliable. When you want to make changes to your site, your host must be flexible. Additionally, your host should provide multiple ways to reach customer service during reasonable hours.
Most hosting providers offer numerous service plans depending on the size of your site and the amount of traffic your site is likely to receive. Look for a plan that allows you to start small and grow as your business grows. We find HostGator competitively priced and reliable.
Expect to spend as little as $10-$30 a month on Web hosting or as much as several hundred dollars, depending on the size of your website, traffic you receive, and the service options you select. Additional options which you might consider include:
- Extra email addresses
- Site statistics for tracking visits to your site
- Extra storage, preferably 50MB to 200MB
- Shopping cart capabilities
- Toll-free customer support
Website Hosting Server Types
Hosting can be roughly separated in following categories: shared, VPS and dedicated servers.
On a shared server you share space with other users. It is the equivalent of doing your business at a farmers market, meaning that you have some restrictions and what you do may affect others and vice versa. However, it is cheaper than a dedicated server and everything you need for a small business website is included in the plan.
The price of a shared hosting plan is very affordable.
Virtual private server
A “virtual private server” (VPS) is a hybrid of dedicated and shared servers, but you can also look at it as a higher class of shared server. It is equivalent of having your business in a mall.
Unlike shared servers, where you share all of the resources, a VPS is divided into sections and each website resides within its assigned section. Each section is separated and they act independently of one another. Pricing is somewhere in between dedicated and shared hosting and might be a good solution if you run a high traffic website.
Dedicated servers are the easiest to explain. They are, as their name says, dedicated. It is a physical server that you do not share with anyone else and no one else has access to. You can host one or more websites, it is up to you.
It is the equivalent of having your own business on your own piece of land. They are the most powerful option, you can do virtually anything, but also the most expensive option. Unlike the other options you will need to have some IT skills, or hire someone who has them, because everything you do with your website is up to you.
• Cloud website hosting essentially means that multiple servers are joined together to provide better and faster hosting performance. Having cloud hosting means that websites load faster and their workload is balanced. There is a small question of security for the most conscious users, because multiple websites share the same cloud. However, for the majority of users, the pros outweigh the cons.
• Colocated hosting is similar to dedicated hosting, it literally means co-located hosting. It allows you to place your own server on the service provider’s location. It is the same as having a server in your own office, but located in a place specifically designed for servers.
• Managed hosting is almost the same as the dedicated hosting. You get your own server; the only difference is that you do not have full control over it. This way service providers prevent users from potentially changing configuration or modifying the server. But don’t worry, you can still manage all of your data.
• Reseller hosting is where you (as a client) can become a web host yourself. What it means is that you buy a provider’s services and sell them (for a profit) to third party. This option can include any other type of hosting, but it requires that you have IT knowledge since you will become a host, meaning that you will have to solve all hosting problems.
• Clustered hosting is where you have multiple servers that host the same content. That way even if one server needs a reboot or goes down, your site will still be online. This option is for sites with very high traffic.
• Grid hosting utilizes several server clusters that act like a grid and is composed of multiple nodes. That way multiple servers serve to one cluster or in this instance one site and different parts of the website can operate independently of each other.