Not so long ago, you had two basic choices when it came to web hosting – you either leased your own dedicated server, which was the expensive option, or you shared space on a server with lots of other websites, which was the more popular and affordable solution. Today, advances in technology have led to a wider range of hosting services being available: we now have cloud and virtual private server (VPS) hosting. For smaller websites, there are also different types of shared hosting you can choose from, these are traditional shared servers, shared cloud hosting and dedicated WordPress hosting. In this post, we’ll look at these three forms of shared hosting so you can consider which is the best choice for you.
Traditional shared hosting
Essentially, traditional shared hosting is where many user accounts are housed on a single web server. A user will be allocated a portion of the disk space on that server to upload their website files and store their data and will be apportioned a share of the server’s resources, i.e., bandwidth, CPU and memory. For many webmasters with smaller websites, this is sufficient for their needs and as the resources are shared the cost is minimal; plans can be purchased from a few pounds per month.
There are, however, some limitations to using this form of hosting. With lots of websites running on one server, you will be restricted to the amount of storage space you can use, which could be a problem over the long term if your site continues to grow. Limited bandwidth and memory can also affect your ability to handle lots of traffic should your site become very popular and have large numbers of visitors. If this happens, it’s a signal that you need to move to a bigger hosting package.
Shared cloud hosting
Shared cloud hosting is an advanced form of traditional shared hosting. Although you will still share server space with other websites, this is done over a wider network of cloud servers rather than just a single server. There are several advantages to this form of shared hosting. Firstly, the enormous capacity of a cloud network means you are much less likely to suffer from a shortage of resources. If another user is getting a lot of traffic, the host can move that site or yours to a different server with more resources and do so without interruption to your services. Indeed, even if the physical server goes down, your site can still remain online.
Overall, shared cloud hosting means you will always have the resources you have paid for, regardless of other users, and have improved uptime and reliability. The vast network of servers available to the web host enables them to offer shared hosting with unlimited bandwidth and greater storage capacity than traditional shared plans.
Dedicated shared WordPress hosting
With lots of users sharing the same server, shared hosting plans are designed to be suitable for a wide range of website platforms. However, while this one size fits all approach helps lower the cost, it doesn’t guarantee the best performance for specific platforms as the servers are configured for general, multi-platform use.
Dedicated shared WordPress hosting has evolved primarily because of the popularity of the platform. Over a third of the world’s websites are built using WordPress and this means there is a significant demand for servers which are configured to optimise its performance and security. In addition, WordPress hosting often comes with a range of helpful features, such as having WordPress pre-installed and one-click installation of the most popular plugins. You also have the benefit of a technical support team that will have specialist skills in WordPress and can solve your issues easily.
A word about VPS
Virtual private servers are a mix of shared and dedicated server hosting. The similarity with shared hosting is that several users (much fewer than on a traditional shared hosting plan) share a server in order to keep costs to a minimum. However, unlike shared hosting, each user has their own operating system and dedicated resources that cannot be impacted by the activities of other users. The resources available are substantially greater than those available on shared hosting, making VPS a sort of mini dedicated server that is far less expensive than the cost of using a full server. This makes them the ideal choice for those websites that have outgrown shared hosting but are not quite ready for a large dedicated server.
As you can see, the range of shared hosting options has grown considerably over the last few years. Hopefully, from reading this article, you’ll now have a better idea of whether traditional shared, cloud shared, dedicated shared WordPress or VPS hosting is the right choice for you.