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Web hosting comparison

Depending on your needs and budget there are 3 types of web hosting to consider: shared web hosting, virtual private server hositng (aka VPS hosting or virtual dedicated hosting) and dedicated hosting.

Shared web hosting

Shared hosting is the simplest and the cheapest out of three. Usually hundreds of websites are co-hosted on the same physical servers with limited isolation.
Cost: This is the cheapest out of three alternatives.
Speed: Your website shares RAM and CPU with hundreds of other websites on the same machine therefore this is the slowest out of the three alternatives.
Flexibility: You cannot change server configuration or install new software. Hard or impossible to run custom binaries. No access to compilers. Hosting provider is responsible for patching and upgrading server side software. Unexpected upgrades can affect your website (e.g. PHP upgrades are notorious for breaking websites).
Risks: High traffic on other websites hosted on the same machine can impact availability of your website or make it slower. If server software is not properly patched in and one of the website on that machine has a security vulnerability, all websites on that machine could be hacked. Difficulty: Easiest out of 3 solutions.

Virtual private server hosting

VPS hosting is a more advanced level of hosting in which few or dozens of websites are co-hosted on the same physical server and are isolated from each other by a hypervisor. Each VPS runs its own instance of operating system, which could be different from other VPS running on the same machine.
Cost: Medium cost solution.
Speed: Your software runs in a virtual server with guaranteed RAM and CPU resources. Often you can use more CPU if it is available.
Flexibility: You have root access and are responsible for managing server configuration, patching and upgrading software. You can compile and run custom binaries and change configuration suit your needs.
Risks: With VPS you are fully responsible for managing your server configuration, and installing all necessary software. Mistakes on your part may result in website downtime because of misconfiguration or hacked website due to open vulnerabilities. Although CPU and RAM are guaranteed, disk IO is often not. A swap trashing or otherwise misconfigured VPS can severely degrade performance of all VPS located on the same physical server.
Difficulty: Managing VPS requires a tacit knowledge of system administration.

Dedicated private server hosting

Your website is hosted on a dedicated physical server, resources like CPU, RAM and disk are not shared with anyone else.
Cost: This is the highest cost solution since you are not sharing the costs of physical server, network access and collocation with anyone else.
Speed: Your website gets full and undivided access to all resources, thus resulting in highest speed.
Flexibility: You have root access and are responsible for managing server configuration, patching and upgrading software. You can compile and run custom binaries and change configuration suit your needs.
Risks: You are fully responsible for managing your server configuration, and installing all necessary software. Mistakes on your part may result in website downtime because of misconfiguration or hacked website due to open vulnerabilities.
Difficulty: Managing dedicated server requires a tacit knowledge of system administration.

Hosting providers

Once you decided on the type of hosting you are going to use, you need to buy that hosting service from one of the hosting providers. Following is the list of reputable hosting providers you can depend on:

HostGator - shared, VPS and dedicated hosting.
Use HostGator coupon IBIFAMILY25 to get 25% off.

BlueHost - shared web hosting with lots of features.

DreamHost - shared, VPS and dedicated hosting with unlimited bandwidth.

JustHost - popular shared web hosting solution.

RackSpace - cloud hosting with fanatical support.

The list above contains only the highest quality hosting providers. If you do buy hosting from one of them and have any issues which are not resolved after contacting your hosting provider please let us know.

Web hosting FAQ

Q: I am just starting. What type of hosting should I get?
A: Shared hosting is the easiest to manage and also is the cheapest. In the future as your site grows and you gain more experience you can migrate to VPS or dedicated hosting.
Q: What type of hosting is used by infobyip.com?
A: We use VPS hosting which allows us to run custom binaries and fine tune the server configuration.
Q: I would like to host my site using VPS or dedicated server but do not want the hassle of managing the server. What are my options?
A: You could either buy a managed hosting solution in which case hosting company is responsible for managing all the server software and configuration or hire a system administrator. Both solutions come at a premium cost and only make sense if your site is able to generate a significant revenue per visitor.
Q: I would like to create multiple web sites. Do I need multiple hosting accounts?
A: No. Only the cheapest shared hosting solutions has a limit of one website per hosting account. Most of the shared hosting accounts allow multiple website and those which don't can be later upgraded to once which do. Since VPS and dedicated servers are in your full control there is no limit on the number of websites hosted there.
Q: I heard about free web hosting. Should I use it?
A: Free webhosting is sufficient for a student project or a simple static website, but it is a bad choice for a serious web development. The main purpose of free webhosting is to get you to get customer in the door and then upsell her a real hosting package. The main problem is that free webhosing is restricts you severely in what you can do, usually provides no support and is overbooked. Thousands or even tens of thousands of free websites are running on the same physical machine. The other type of free hosing is ads supported. In that case hosting provider modifies the webpages shows to you visitors by inserting their ads. This breaks layout and sometimes even functionality of your website. There we do not recommend free webhosting. The best place to start is a low cost shared hosting solution.

Author: infobyip.com system administrator, Ph.D.

Full disclosure: when you buy hosting using one of the links above we receive a small commission which helps to pay for hosting and maintenance of www.infobyip.com website. Thank you!


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