Choosing the right hosting for you
When shopping for hosting for your web-based application, hobby or professional blog, or business website you find a lot of options and you ask yourself some, if not all of these questions:
- Which one should I choose?
- Which one is best for me?
- Does it make sense to spend all this money on this hosting package?
- Should I get a dedicated server instead?
- Which provider is better?
- Do I choose managed, semi-managed, or unmanaged hosting?
It's really difficult to choose when there are so many options and too many questions. Well... Let's see if we can help you choose.
First of all, let's see what each type of hosting is most suitable for.
Shared Hosting is a type of hosting where a large server is running a hosting management platform like cPanel or Plesk hosts hundreds, sometimes thousands of websites. All those who are hosted on the server are basically sharing the hosting server's resources (CPU/RAM/Disk etc...).
Shared hosting is really great for personal/hobby websites and blogs. However, when it comes to hosting a business website or email, Shared Hosting may not be the right choice, and here's why:
- Resource Limitations: Let's face it, a hosting provider will not allow uncontrolled usage of the server resources when there's hundreds of users sharing the server. Some websites require more resources than others, and for super busy websites, someone on the server end up with degraded performance sooner or later.
- You can't change the server configuration: You have no administrative access to the server, thus you can't install or update system packages that your site may depend on.
- Disk space restriction: There is not such thing as unlimited disk space. It's a myth. There's always a limit somewhere and a fine print that you would usually miss when reading the unlimited hosting provider's ToS/AUP. Basically, it's hard to scale.
Meanwhile, there are many advantages to using Shared Hosting:
- Low cost: DigitalFyre offers Shared Hosting for $4.00/mo.
- Backups included (usually): Most hosting providers will include off-site backups with all their hosting packages for free.
- One-Click App installers: Apps like Installatron and Softaculous makes it easy to install any CMS like WordPress for example.
- Servers are managed by the hosting provider: The hosting providers is responsible for managing and securing their servers while you, the client, can focus on using your website.
- Ease of use: You don't need to be an expert to use cPanel or Plesk.
A Virtual Private Server, or VPS, is basically simply a Virtual Machine that runs on a larger server-grade computer. Virtualization allows diving a server's resources into multiple smaller servers. KVM virtualization allows complete resource isolation which gives you, the user, more security. The fact that KVM Virtualization allows you to compile your own Linux Kernel is a huge advantage and users who are Linux-savvy really enjoy it.
If you know how to use Linux and are looking for a secure, isolated environment, or you are looking for something where you can install any software you like for your application, or you just want to manage your own web(mail) server, VPS is for you.
Unlike Shared Hosting, you have more room to scale by upgrading your VPS as you need. A VPS will usually cost more than Shared Hosting and you would be paying more for less disk space. On the flip side, you have full control of your server which is not something you can achieve with Shared Hosting. One thing a VPS Provider may not allow you to do is push the CPU to its limits. A VPS with a fully dedicated CPU which you can push as hard as you can will usually be a lot more expensive, not to mention bandwidth limitations.
Dedicated Hosting is where you have an entire server all for yourself. It's like going from living with a few roommates to moving into your own house. Naturally, dedicated servers are pretty expensive.
A Dedicated Server will give you room to use your CPU to its full potential and push its limits 100% of the time. You can install your OS, customize your partitioning schema, use the filesystem of your choice, and run pretty much anything you need. Dedicated Servers are not very hard to upgrade; most servers chassis allow you to install 4 drives into them, some will allow up to 24 drives, and they are a lot more expensive.
When it comes to security, a dedicated server is the most secure option. Also if your applications are bandwidth intensive, you can theoretically push tens of gigabits of bandwidth data should your server's hardware support it.
So, is a dedicated server is right for you? If you know how to manage your server and don't mind the expenses, it likely is.
Deciding which hosting is best for you is not easy, but it does not have to be difficult either. Hopefully this post will make it easier for you to make your choice. And as always, if you have questions, just give us a shout :-)