Free web hosting
Free web hosting has gotten a bit of a bad rap lately, because it will includes ads on your site and lacks certain security features. However, free web hosting can be a great way for anybody to start dabbling in the world of websites, as it can familiarize you with basic HTML, publishing online, SEO, and creating dynamic content. If you’re going to be using a website for professional reasons, you’ll want to move from free hosting to a paid option at some point in the future, but it’s a great starting point. And for those that just want to keep a small personal website or blog, free web hosting can be a great option for the life of the website.
Shared web hosting
Shared web hosting places your website on a server that you’ll share with other website owners. Out of all the paid hosting options, shared hosting is the cheapest but your website will be vulnerable to everything that happens on that server, whether you did it or not. If someone crashes the server with a scripting error, your website could be shut down. And if one of the other websites is seeing a huge jump in traffic, it could slow your website down. Still, shared web hosting can be a great idea for small businesses, or those who want to give their personal website an edge.
Dedicated web hosting
Dedicated hosting gives you an entire server to store your website. That server will be dedicated to your website and yours alone, so you can use as much storage as you want, and not suffer the consequences of anyone else’s actions. Of course with all of these advantages comes some cost, making dedicated web hosting the most expensive option out there. And for those who don’t have any server maintenance experience, managing a dedicated server can be complicated at best, so hiring an IT consultant might be an additional cost that comes with it.
VPS, or a “virtual private server”, combines the world of shared hosting with that of dedicated. A VPS is a shared server that holds multiple websites. However, it’s virtually split up into different sections that each act as a private server. Because of this, web hosts can offer VPS at a more affordable cost than dedicated hosting, but your website won’t feel the effects of others on the same server. For those who need a dedicated server but can’t afford it, or those who are going to make the move to dedicated someday but just aren’t ready, VPS can be a great option.
Before deciding what kind of web hosting you need, you need to first understand the purpose of your website, how big you want it to be, and how severe the consequences would be if it were to ever shut down unexpectedly. Answering those questions will answer the question of what type of web hosting you need.