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When building and developing your website, there are a few things to consider. Design, URL, security. More importantly, you need to think about your hosting options.

Deciding where to host your site can be confusing. Whilst it may seem simple finding somewhere to act as storage, they all differ in storage capacity, control and reliability. What do you need to think about when choosing the right one?

Different types of hosting

There are different types of hosting available which generally fall within 3 areas:

  • Shared
  • Dedicated
  • VPS and Cloud-Based

Shared Hosting

The cheapest of all of the options and the one that most people end up using when they first launch a site for its ease of use. It is also the most common hosting option that companies offer.

Shared hosting involves resources being shared so the sites can take resources away from your site, allowing you to speed up loading times. However, there are security risks as potentially thousands of sites are on the same server. You are also unable to customise the server if for any reason your website has specific requirements.

There are a few things you can do to try and protect yourself, for example, from cyber attacks. However, it might be worthwhile looking into other hosting options instead.

Managed

Similar to Shared Hosting, another type is Managed Hosting – for example, WordPress Managed Hosting. Generally, it is still considered shared hosting but is tailored to a specific platform. Because the hosting is managed by a hosting company, it means they take care of the technical side of things, such as hardware and software setup, configuration and updating.

Managed hosting is often promoted as fast setups for your site and maybe a good option if you want to set up a website that is more tailored to the platform yourself. However, they do become restrictive when you need to customise your site further. They also have their own caching systems which might prevent plugins from working correctly.

Dedicated Hosting

If you’re looking to have control over your server, Dedicated Hosting is your best option. With Dedicated Hosting, the user has full-root and admin access, controlling everything from security to operating the system.

The server you pay for allows you exclusive space and control, meaning that you are the only site to be stored there. Not only does this mean that your site won’t be affected by high traffic numbers, but it also means that you don’t face the same potential security threats.

However, all that control comes with a price.

Dedicated servers are one of the most expensive web hosting options for all the space it provides. They are mostly used by site owners with high levels of website traffic or those who need complete control of their servers. For these reasons, most beginner website owners or small sites don’t have the same need or desire for this type of hosting.

It also means a high level of technical expertise is required for the installation and ongoing management of the server, something many beginners won’t have the knowledge to do.

VPS/Cloud-Based Hosting

A VPS hosting plan is considered the “middle ground” between a shared server and a dedicated server. It allows the owner to have more control without having too much responsibility.

With VPS hosting, each website is hosted in its own space on the server, although the server itself is shared with other users. Because of this unique space, this option affords owners the ability to more customisation and storage space.

However, in the same way a shared server can suffer during spikes in usage, so can a VPS server. High traffic levels or spikes in usage can affect the site performance, slowing it down and leading to a poor customer experience.

If you’re looking for more bespoke hosting but don’t have the technical knowledge needed, VPS hosting offers you the right amount of control whilst remaining cost-effective.

Cloud-Based vs VPS

Although similar, there are slight differences between Cloud-Based hosting and VPS hosting.

Cloud-based includes many computers running applications together by using combined resources. It used a network to enable companies to consume the computing resource like a utility. With the network, users can employ as many resources as they need that will be spread across several servers, reducing the number of issues arising from increased traffic levels and server malfunction.

Cloud-based hosting is also scalable, meaning your site can grow over time, using as many resources as it requires and while the website owner only pays for what they need.

When looking into hosting options, you’ll find that prices can vary wildly. Some are very cheap and then hugely expensive. Usually, you get what you pay for.

Some companies offer very cheap hosting but watch out for this being an introductory offer where the price will shoot up after X number of months. Remember that for these you are usually set up with shared hosting also, which introduces the security risks. They also offer ‘unlimited’ storage, bandwidth etc. but be aware that nothing can be unlimited and there will likely be a ‘fair use policy’ where they could restrict your website resources past that.

If you need help making sense of hosting, Arkay Digital is here to help. Feel free to contact us to find out more!