How to Choose the Best Web Hosting Plan for my Website
The best web hosting plan is one that is most suitable for the type of website you intend to run. This means that aside from looking at what web hosting providers offer, you also need to think of the features you really need.
Increased digital penetration rates, rapid technology advancements, and borderless trade have all contributed towards a blossoming Internet ecosystem. Companies and individuals are creating websites at unprecedented paces.
As one of them, have you struggled over choosing a web hosting provider, or ended up with a plan and felt that it could be better? Choosing the right web hosting plan for your website can be simple.
Before making the match though, you need to have some understanding of web hosting first.
Understanding Website Hosting Types
Web hosting comes in three main categories. Each of these have their own characteristics, features, and pricing levels.
The first and most commonly encountered type of web hosting plan is shared hosting. To understand the concept of shared hosting, simply visualize one single, powerful server.
It has a powerful processor, lots of memory and storage space, and is connected to the Internet via wide data pipelines. It also runs a single operating system and the necessary supporting applications.
In shared hosting, the web host will fill that server up with multiple user accounts that ‘share’ all the resources constrained on it. This is generally on a first-come-first-serve basis and all accounts reside in the same space.
Pros and Cons of Shared Hosting
|Advantages of Shared Hosting||Disadvantages of Shared Hosting|
|Cheapest option available||Lower speed|
|Very easy to manage||Less reliable|
|Extremely low maintenance||Prone to security risks|
|Not much customizability|
VPS / Cloud Hosting
Virtual Private Server (VPS) and Cloud hosting share many characteristics. However, where VPS accounts are contained on single servers, Cloud accounts are spread across an equipment and infrastructure ecosystem.
Each account on a VPS or Cloud hosting plan has its own virtual environment. This account isolation means that each can have its own type of operating system, web server application, and can be highly configured for individual use.
They are also allocated a dedicated amount of resources. Even when not in use, those resources will be available for use by other accounts – they will remain idle until called for by the account holder. This gives VPS hosting an edge in performance.
Pros and Cons of VPS/Cloud Hosting
|Advantages of VPS/Cloud Hosting||Disadvantages of VPS/Cloud Hosting|
|Very good speed||Often costs more than shared hosting|
|Excellent reliability||Management requires some technical skills|
Dedicated Server Hosting
Among all web hosting plans, dedicated hosting often offers the best in performance, customizability, and security. You will basically get access to an entire server with web access and can customize it to your exact specifications.
However this comes at the cost of price. Since you’re the only user, the entire cost of operating that server falls on your shoulders, even if you aren’t maximizing the use of the resources on it.
Pros and Cons of Shared Hosting
|Advantages of Dedicated Server Hosting||Disadvantages of Dedicated Server Hosting|
|Best speed||Likely to be very expensive|
|Good reliability||Requires good skills to manage|
|Best for customization|
Specialized Web Hosting Plans
Aside from the main types of web hosting, some service providers also custom build plans based on certain popular web applications. These are often simply re-branded versions of shared or VPS hosting plans.
As an exception, there are a few web hosting providers that offer special tools or features specifically for some plans. For example, ScalaHosting offers its WordPress plan users a uniquely developed management tool called SWordPress Manager.
Some popular custom plans include:
WordPress Hosting – WordPress is the most popular Content Management System (CMS) in the market today. It is the force behind over 30% of all websites built. WordPress hosting plans often come with this CMS pre-deployed and ready to use. At the very least, the host will offer 1-click installers that can help deploy the CMS quickly and easily.
WooCommerce Hosting – WooCommerce popularity follows the WordPress trend. It’s a plugin designed to work on the WordPress CMS and adds eCommerce capabilities to the WordPress CMS. WooCommerce hosting plans are often highly optimized for best online store performance.
Magento Hosting – For those who want to run an eCommerce store without using WordPress, there is Magento hosting as well. These plans are compatible with the Magento platform, which has some configuration needs.
Extra Hosting Features to Look Out For
While the characteristics of web hosting types do not change, each web host often includes different things with their plans. Most will balance pricing and features, so make sure that the plan you’re considering really meets your needs.
- Domain Name – Some web hosting providers like ScalaHosting will offer you a free domain name packaged in with the hosting plan. This saves you from having to register and manage it separately from your web hosting.
- Resources – CPU, memory, storage space, and bandwidth, these are the things vital to your site operations. Not all hosts offer the same amount of resources, so be aware of what you’re getting.
- SSL certificates– Vital for any website today, it affects visitor confidence in your site, security, and even search ranking. Some web hosts will offer free SSL certificates and simplify the installation process for you.
- Site migration – If you’re moving to a new host from an old one, look to see if the new hosting service will migrate your site for you. Some providers will do this for free, making the migration as painless for you as possible.
- Unique features – Some web hosts have a very high competitive edge since they develop their own specialized tools for their users. ScalaHosting for example offers the cutting-edge SPanel control panel, SShield real-time cyber security solution, and SWordPress Manager that come free with some plans.
Choose Based on the Type of Site You’re Building
Now that we can see the difference between the main types of hosting, we can roughly match the features with what we want to use our hosting plan for. Some sample use cases can include:
Simple Static Websites / Portfolios
Most static websites are built simply as a means of establishing a web presence. The term ‘static’ means there is little or no intent to deliver overly customized content to users and mainly just serve web pages that are in place.
These are the easiest type of website to maintain, since once they are in place they typically take care of themselves. Most static websites also have very predictable levels of visitor traffic, making them easy to plan for.
Typically, shared hosting is more than sufficient for ordinary simple static websites. For those running static business sites, you may want to opt for VPS plans simply for the increased reliability. After all, your website is the representation of your brand online.
Blogs / Image Galleries
Blogs, image galleries, and similar sites have two main defining characteristics. They need to be able to serve dynamic content and may bulk up in size over time. Of course, this is dependent on whether you actually update the content or not – but the assumption is that you will.
Because of that it can be a little more difficult to plan the long term traffic flow of your site. Popular sites with strong content can grow their visitor count immensely and quickly outgrow most basic web hosting plans.
In the early stages, most blogs can start off with shared hosting, since it’s inexpensive and easy to handle. However, be prepared to migrate to VPS plans if you notice traffic start to grow beyond the levels your shared hosting plan can manage.
For those seeking to enter the eCommerce business there are quite a few considerations to take into account. You need the resources to handle fairly reasonable amounts of mixed content such as images, video, and text. At the same time, the content needs to be served quickly and reliably.
Nothing scares a potential customer more than a website that is so slow it has problems processing their orders. Simply put, your revenue depends on how well your site can perform in so many ways.
It is always a better idea for eCommerce sites to start right off with VPS hosting. This isn’t simply about your volume of traffic, but the level of performance and security you can offer your potential customers.
Web Application Deployment
More advanced users or developers may also need hosting as a platform to deploy and operate web applications. These may need special environments such as specific operating systems, web servers, or other frameworks.
Because of the requirements in customization and deployment, web applications can only be deployed on VPS or dedicated server hosting. VPS should be sufficient for most scenarios and a better choice since you can scale up your plan gradually to help manage cost.
There may be occasion that some users want to use web hosting services for specific reasons out of the norm. For example, setting up and running your own Virtual Private Network (VPN) server, creating your own remote or Cloud file server, and more.
Again, these use cases are typically only available on VPS hosting or dedicated servers. As with web application deployment, it is better to start with VPS and scale up than to go for dedicated hosting right away.
Aside from knowing what the various types of hosting plans that are available are, you should also always stay aware of your needs. Tying to find the perfect host is often an impossible task, since all have to balance pricing and features in some way.
By fitting your needs to the right category of web hosting plan, you can be better assured of finding a web hosting plan that will work best for your site – at the right price. You can find all the web hosting alternatives here i:e wpengine alternative just to give you an idea.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which hosting plan is best for beginners?
Shared hosting is by far the most suitable web hosting plan for beginners. It offers a combination of easy management and low cost of entry – great if you’ve never handled a web hosting account before.
Is a VPS difficult to manage?
Marginally. If you have some experience in web hosting or server management, things will go a lot more smoothly. For those with very limited technical skills, it is better to find a web host like ScalaHosting where you can get Managed VPS plans.
Can I run a game server on VPS?
Yes, you absolutely can. Even if you’re unsure of how to manage a VPS account, you can opt for Managed VPS hosting and focus on getting your game server up and running. Game hosting is in fact an increasingly popular use of VPS hosting.
What makes a good web hosting service?
Good web hosting service providers offer reliable products backed by a strong support team. They are often well recognized in the industry and will have been established for a good number of years.
Can I host my own website?
Technically this is possible. However, hosting your own site will require investment into a lot of equipment, a strong and stable broadband connection, plus the skills to put it all together. It is also a lot less reliable than using a hosting provider.