All your website files (HTML codes, PHP programs, texts, images, videos, scripts etc) must be uploaded to a place that’s constantly available on the Internet. That place is memory – the hard drive (now, solid state drive SSD) of a computer, a device for storing data. These computers have some special features and are called servers while hosting is leased through a hosting provider. Hosting providers share the available server memory and lease that space to website owners.
Providers can be divided into real and pseudo hosting providers. Real hosting providers have their own servers and a whole team of technicians and developers working to maintain them. The number of pseudo hosting providers is much higher. They lease some space to the regular providers and then share it or lease it to end-users. All pseudo providers have is access to leased space and programs to share and manage that leased space. Unlike domain registration, where it almost doesn’t matter who you register it with, this is very much important for web hosting. A serious website requires a reliable server, with enough memory space and bandwidth.
Main Types of Hosting Servers
There are several main types of hosting servers whose characteristics are different and thus, not all types of hosting servers work the same for all types of websites. But, we’ll cover that matter later on. First, let’s deal with the most common server types.
Shared Hosting Server
A shared hosting server is a computer server on which users share the resources of that server, meaning they share the memory space on the server’s hard disk as well as its RAM, share the bandwidth, processor performance and so on. This hosting is most commonly used because it’s the cheapest and meets the needs of most users. But, imagine sharing a server with a website that offers music downloads, and there are a large number of visitors and multiple visitors simultaneously download music from that website. This would simply “suppress” your website, that is, it would significantly extend its load time. Therefore, shared servers aren’t the solution for demanding websites.
Dedicated Hosting Server
A dedicated hosting server is intended for your website(s) only. In other words, you lease the entire server and all its resources work only for you. This solves all the problems that you may have because of other websites on shared servers, but you get a financial problem because leasing a dedicated server is much more expensive than leasing a shared server.
Virtual Private Server (VPS)
Virtual Private Server (VPS) is something between shared and dedicated hosting. It’s one server that acts as multiple separate servers. Although located on the same computer, virtual servers are isolated and run completely independently of one another. The cost of VPS hosting is much lower than the cost of a dedicated server, but still significantly more expensive than the price of shared hosting servers.
The term “cloud” is a synonym for the availability, speed, and ease of data management. This means that every bit of important data is a click away from you and ready to use. Your data is accessible, easily portable and mobile via Cloud. For example, if you have a Google mail address, you’re already using Cloud. Although you probably took the availability of your data for granted, technically, Cloud is a set of large numbers of connected computers (so-called grid) with associated processors, disks, memory, and other hardware resources that, thanks to intelligent management software, are visible as one “big” virtual machine.
The overall hardware resources of such connected computers form a “cloud” whose parts are allocated to individual user applications, on-demand, and according to specific needs. Cloud hosting represents the next evolutionary step and has emerged as an alternative to hosting websites on a single physical server.
Subtypes of Hosting Servers
There are several more subtypes of hosting that are different from each other by the amount of the involvement of a hosting provider in server maintenance: reseller hosting, MySQL hosting, managed hosting, DMCA ignored hosting, etc.
We especially stress the significance of MySQL hosting. If you’re looking to build infrastructure for a high-growth environment of your website and brand, MySQL web hosting, whose providers have optimized packages to work with this web language can help you. MySQL is definitely one of the world’s most popular databases. It’s open-source, reliable, cost-effective, easy to manage, and has a big advantage – it’s compatible with all major hosting providers. Even so, not every server is built to house MySQL and databases it operates. Despite facing challenges (Is there a hosting with no challenges?), many companies are leveraging the data security and strong transactional support offered by MySQL.
Different Types of Websites Need Different Hosting Services
As we already said, not all hosting servers suite every type of website. Types of websites differentiate one from another by their purpose. The number of websites that comes from division based on this criterion is substantial, so we’ll focus on those types of websites that are most commonly used nowadays and help you select the best hosting option.
The need for people or organizations to, through images and words, portray themselves, their organization, family, activities, interests, thinking… has contributed to the popularity of this type of website. It’s possible to find free space for inserting such content on the Internet, but this should be avoided as they have many restrictions and are completely dependent on the home website. Having a personal website for yourself, your services or company is the new kind of resume or portfolio and also a subtle self-recommendation for people to trust you, do business with you, or hire you to work for them.
Given that personal websites are small websites or can be even considered entry-level websites, usually have tight budgets, the best hosting solution for it is shared hosting. It’s cost-effective and doesn’t require lots of technical knowledge to get you started.
Blogs and Forums
Blogs are websites designed to let you share your opinion with others on the Internet regardless of topic or content, participate in discussions with other bloggers, post pictures or comments… You can also get an online blog for free through websites that offer free blog setup, but you should know that in these cases you don’t have your own web address, but instead appear on the Internet as a subdomain of the website that allowed you to be its guest.
Forums are very similar to blogs, but unlike blogs, they have predefined areas that are discussed and within which specific topics are raised, asked questions and expected help in the form of answers. There are general forums that discuss all topics without restriction or forums specialized in specific areas. Very often, forums are part of a website that discusses a topic related to the area that a host website belongs.
Bloggers also fall into a group of small business website owners who have simple websites and are great candidates for shared hosting. Actually, any website that doesn’t require too much on-site interaction or lots of resources will be fine with this hosting type.
E-commerce websites aim to showcase products and services offered by website owners and attract potential customers. In addition to simply presenting goods and services, e-commerce websites allow online ordering and online payment. Nowadays, being on the Internet is a must for any serious business. These types of websites should be unique, attractive to visitors and easy to use. Otherwise, instead of attracting, they can turn away potential customers or users of the services the website offers.
Deploying an e-commerce website requires dedicated or any VPS hosting plan rather than shared hosting. Why? Because well-performing e-commerce platforms need to have instant scalability of resources (in case of sudden traffic spikes), minimum downtime not to lose out on customers, high level of security since it involves monetary transactions, sharing of personal data, and a 24/7 customer support team to instantly solve issues that may occur. Both dedicated hosting and VPS can make these things work. The main difference between them is in the price (go back to the section “Main Types of Hosting Servers” in the article).
Social Media and Content Sharing Websites
There are two types of websites that are considered to get the most traffic: social media and content sharing websites. Social media, also called social networks, are websites for a massive connecting of people, sharing information, photos and other personal information. There are also social media that connect people in business or professional terms. Some of the most popular social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are used extensively for advertising and promotion of companies, products, and services.
Content sharing websites allow people to upload relevant content to the Internet (pictures, music, videos…) and share that content with others. The most famous among such websites is, without fail, YouTube.
Social media and content sharing websites can potentially have a large number of visitors. The above-mentioned Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube, for instance, have daily visitors measured in millions and, generally, use a dedicated server or, even better, cloud hosting. The latter brings many valuable features that these high-traffic websites need such as high uptime and availability, faster website speed and performance, safety from server hardware issues, and scaling server resources.
Saurabh Mukhekar is a Tech Blogger from Pune, India. He is also thinker, maker, life long learner, hybrid developer, edupreneur, mover & shaker. He’s captain planet of BlogSaays and seemingly best described in rhyme.
Follow Him On Facebook