Web Hosting By The Numbers And More: What It Means For Your Website

Shared hosting is, by a long way, the most popular type of web hosting solution used today.  A shared server is a cheap, practical option for bloggers, small business owners, people who are looking to practice their SEO skills, and many other groups.

The other options are all growing in popularity, however. What are they?

·Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting

·Dedicated hosting

·Cloud hosting

·Hybrid hosting

Everyone has a different set of objectives for their website, and so subsequently will need to use a different platform when it comes to hosting. Cutting through the clutter can discovering what each option is all about can be difficult, however, especially if you are something of an internet novice. One of the biggest issues is that many businesses only offer one type of hosting – usually shared – and so will preach and advertise that this is by far the best option.

Other businesses, such as Jaguar PC, will offer a wider variety of options as well as advice and guidance around whether they are the best choice for your needs.

Cloud hosting is still very much the ‘coming man’ of web hosting, while hybrid options will depend on the company offering them and how much you are able to customize your account plan to your specific requirements. The other three are very similar wherever you go, although there might still be pitfalls that you should be aware of. Do not worry; we will point these out as we go.

Whether you currently use a shared server and are considering making the move to VPS or dedicated hosting, or are just getting started with a website for the first time, use our web hosting by the numbers guide to help you get the best option for you.

Size Matters

Whatever option you have gone for, your site will end up on a server. The big difference between the three services we are looking at is in how much of the resources you get to use. How different would one server look, in terms of your available resources, depending on its type?

Shared Servers

Signing up for a shared sever option might seem like the best option – it certainly will be when it comes to financial considerations – but do you know what you are getting for your money? The number of websites featured on a shared server will typically range from anything from 250 up to 2000. Admittedly, you might get lucky and find a shared server provider who says you might be sharing with another 50 sites, but how are you going to know for sure?

The two charts below demonstrate the typical worst case and best-case scenario when it comes to web hosting. The first chart shows what 1/2000 of resources would look like, and the second shows 1/250.

As you can tell, while the difference in the number might look big, the reality is that you are still in relative poverty when it comes to the resources you enjoy from a shared server.

If you are using this option and it works for you, then that is great. If you are experiencing issues with anything to do with website speed, page loading, or user experience, then this could well be the reason why.

How would a VPS solution compare?

VPS Hosting

A VPS solution is similar to a shared server, in that your website shares space and resources with several other websites. However, a typical VPS solution will see less websites sharing the same space, and your resource allocation will look more like this.

We know what you are thinking; that still does not look like much server power. You are right, but this is where the ‘virtual private’ part of the deal comes in. That portion above will be your basic level of resources, and it might even reduce when you are experiencing low levels of traffic. However, when your website is busy, this will happen:

Immediately, that has made a major difference to the performance of your website.  Obviously, VPS hosting is not an exact science, and if there are several websites in the same geographical location that are busy at the same time on a VPS then it might cause performance issues. In the main, however, this is the reason why VPS hosting is proving so popular.

A VPS solution can bring the benefits of a dedicated solution for the price of a shared one, while managed VPS hosting is often available, which is great for those looking for a more powerful server but with little technical knowledge or expertise when it comes to web management.

Dedicated Hosting

In terms of both resources and performance, dedicated hosting stands alone. This one does not require a huge amount of explanation. You are the only website on the server, and the chart speaks for itself.

Now you know that size matters; what are the other factors related to each type of web hosting that you should be aware of?

How They Operate

Not surprisingly, such a vast difference in resources reflects in how each server works, and links to what you can do with it.

In terms of the hardware, there is little difference between shared and VPS servers, aside from that they are set up and optimized for their specific purpose. Due to the number of users on these servers, there is rarely, if ever, the opportunity to customize specific options for yourself, although some hosting companies do offer to prioritize resources for your site in return for an additional fee. In contrast, a dedicated server will offer increased, often fully, customization options owing to its use exclusively by one site.

The operating systems employed are more flexible, although those on a shared server will find their hands tied once more. VPS users will have limited flexibility to control certain elements of their operating system, while again dedicated users get the full range of capability to customize theirs fully for their own needs.

How About IP?

This is where things can start to get a little thorny for those on a shared server. Due to the nature of your web hosting, a website on a shared server will have the same IP address as every other one does. Not a problem, you might think, and the reality is that it is not, until something goes wrong.

With shared hosting, you literally have no idea who or what the other websites on your communal space are. Again, not a problem, it is not any of your business.

When it Goes Pear-Shaped

It only takes one website on your shared server to have its IP address blacklisted by an ISP or a particular group, and that will have a direct impact on your own. Imagine that; you could have done a lot of great work on web design, produced some great content, and put yourself a smart SEO strategy together, but because someone on your server was a spammer, for example, it all unravels.

An increasing number of hosting companies offer to upgrade your shared server deal so you can remain on the server but with an individual IP address. However, given the additional cost you will incur, it might be wiser to upgrade to a full VPS option, where you get an individual IP address anyway.

Dedicated server accounts use multiple IP addresses.

Where You Fit In

We deliberately left this until the end to try to avoid you thinking that you have to fit one type of server option depending on the nature of what you do. Please remember that each option has clear negatives and positives, many of which we have outlined here. Consider cloud and hybrid options as an alternative if you do not feel shared, VPS, or dedicated hosting can satisfy your needs on any level.

Server Type

Who is it Best For? What does it Offer?

Guide Cost, per month

Shared

Small businesses or startups expecting low traffic numbers. Shared servers are popular with businesses or organizations looking to keep costs as low as possible, such as charities, as well with bloggers and individuals looking to practice web design or SEO.

$4 – $25

Virtual Private

Businesses who want more power than a shared server can provide, for whatever reason, and new businesses with a small ecommerce offering. Best option for businesses with modest traffic but experiencing occasional spikes. Website owners who want to have more control over the technical aspects of their site while not spending a small fortune tend to favor VPS.

$15 – $100

Dedicated

Businesses that need more power than a VPS can provide, or smaller businesses or startups with a larger ecommerce catalog. Perfect for consistently high traffic numbers or data transfer from your site. Dedicated users get full control of their whole site; perfect for those practicing advanced web development or using high-end designers for their site.

$140+ but typically closer to $300 depending on add-ons and customized features

Featured images:
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  •  License: Image author owned
  •  License: Image author owned
  •  License: Image author owned
  •  License: Image author owned

Robert is a web development expert who regularly advises businesses on the merits of managed VPS hosting and other potential options, in addition to other online areas including web design, content layout, and SEO.

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