The easiest way to understand the types of web hosting is to think of real estate.
Dedicated hosting is like a stand-alone alone single-family house. You control everything. VPS hosting is like a condo or a townhouse, you share a building (server) but you control your home. Shared hosting is like an apartment building, you have your own space but you’re sharing it with everyone else and you don’t control anything.
So with that in mind, let’s look at these options a little bit more in-depth.
There’s a good chance this is where you’ll want to start if cost is an issue for you. Shared hosting means that your website is hosted on the same servers as hundreds if not thousands of other websites. This is what makes these options more affordable.
While inexpensive ($3-15/month), there are some things you should pay attention to. Namely, site speed, email deliverability, and security issues. You want to research each of these as you look at shared hosting because site speed problems can impact your SEO rankings and well security issues are something you always want to avoid.
That being said, there are quite a few benefits on top of the price. Most shared hosting providers have one click WordPress installs, an easy to manage backend, good support, and limited database access. In most cases, you won’t see a massive hit on site speed and you can install other plugins for security measures to give added protection.
Some of the most common shared hosting providers are: Blue host, Dream host, and hostgator.
Best for: People with brand new sites with growing traffic, are on a budget, and need good customer support. These typically give you the best value for your needs.
With shared hosting, you have thousands of sites on one server, dedicated hosting essentially means you have an entire server just to yourself. It’s fast, expensive, and if you’re reading this article, it’s not for you, so move along.
Eventually, you might get to the world of dedicated hosting, but for people who are starting out or have small sites, this is not going to be the best fit.
So, yay, you don’t have to worry about it!
VPS (Virtual Private Server) Hosting
VPS hosting is a cross between shared hosting and dedicated hosting, and is the next logical step up from shared.
Think of VPS as your own little mini-server within a server. You don’t have the whole thing to yourself, but you have a portion of it that’s totally dedicated to you and your sites. So all of the downsides of shared, such as viruses and traffic slow down, don’t affect you as much with a VPS solution.
This is going to be more expensive than shared (obviously) but still isn’t outrageous.
A hosting bill for the year on Linode (which is where I used to have my site) is about $250 but it’s very easy for it to go up from there.