Which is the best hosting? Which is the best hosting provider? What package is best for eCommerce? These are very common questions, as for answers, they aren’t common, and rightly so. When renting an apartment, you see specs like 2 and a half baths, 2300 sqm, 5 bedrooms, etc, renting hosting space on the internet is just about the same, and hosting companies advertise specs like Unlimited storage (shared hosting talks about a lot of unlimited).
We all want to get it right and I agree it’s important, especially when you are launching a new website, albeit moving can be expensive. Getting it right requires some basic knowledge of hosting options and how they work, this will help you make a more informed decision. So, before I list the best providers and packages I will try and give a brief overview of hosting types and best use cases.
What to consider
Here we discuss the most important thing to consider as it applies to various businesses and situations. We address Hosting types, differences pros, and cons.
There are some primary things to consider when choosing a hosting type, provider, or plan,
- Bandwidth Available( This ultimately decides how much traffic your website can receive over a period (usually one month))
- Uptime: (a quality hosting provider should guarantee at least 99.5% uptime.)
- Server Resources
- Disaster Recovery
- Room to Grow
These considerations will vary based on business or website needs, for example, a business with a mission-critical website (ex eCommerce, support site) won’t need as much support from a hosting provider as a small business owner would, since they will either have an in-house technician or a support specialist they hired to look into such matters.
On the flip-side, a small business website won’t need as much resources as an ecommerce website would - although this is mostly down to budget.
Types of Hosting
We address Hosting types, their pros, and cons. How they operate.
Web hosting is classified into major types based on resource allocation, management, and extendability.
Based on resource allocations, there are three major hosting types
- Shared Hosting (best for small, static websites with a few pages and very little activity).
Shared hosting is beginner-friendly low-cost hosting where server resources are shared between many users. A good hosting type if you are just starting out or testing out a new idea.
There has been a bad rep for this hosting type for two major reasons, the first with providers that oversell resources, like adding 100 customers on a server stack that could only accommodate 30. The other reason is with unrealistic website owners who don’t know when to move to an advanced hosting environment like VPS or Dedicated server.
- Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting (Best for dynamic websites that has a lot of activities, like eCommerce website, customer support websites, and sites that are an integral part of a business’ marketing)
A Virtual Private Server is a virtual machine (a virtual space on a computer) rented to you by the hosting provider, who may or may not help you manage such server for your use case.
Unlike shared hosting, on a virtual private server, you are not sharing a lot of resources with other users. You get dedicated RAM, Storage, and shared vCPU (A vCPU (virtual CPU) represents a portion or share of a physical CPU that is assigned to a virtual machine (VM). A vCPU is also known as a virtual processor. In many virtualization systems, hardware elements are partitioned off into different virtual machines that can provide the same functionality as traditional physical computer workstations. Ref: https://www.techopedia.com/definition/30859/vcpu).
- Dedicated Server Hosting and Virtual Dedicated Server (Best for established websites that get 100,000 and more daily visitors)
With dedicated servers, a server is leased to you for an agreed period of time without sharing with another user, but because servers are expensive providers offer Virtual Dedicated Servers (which they sell as Dedicated Servers anyways) where you get dedicated resources (Storage, CPU, and RAM) so you enjoy the benefit of a dedicated server without renting the entire server.
Based on management we have the following hosting types
- Managed Hosting: This is the most popular type of web hosting where your provider has already prepared your hosting environment with pre-installed apps and software essential to host websites and web apps. (Best for most use cases)
- Unmanaged Hosting: As opposed to managed hosting, in this case, the provider only allocates server space for you and you are responsible for preparing this to host websites or whatever custom use case you have for it. (Best if your website has custom server requirements and you have a technician (in-house or remote) to set it up and manage it.).
- Cloud Hosting
- Managed WordPress Hosting
- Managed Cloud Hosting
Choosing the best hosting type for your website? / Which hosting type is best for my business.
It is perfectly normal to ask this question, and sometimes the answer is just what you already have in mind.
When clients ask me,, here are my common recommendations (not a one size fits all, if you need help choosing an host or hosting type - you can email me)
Choose Shared Hosting IF
- You are just starting out and your website is a simple business website with moderate activity (i.e you have only 20 pages and add new posts max twice a week)
- You have an eCommerce store with no more than 20 products or services
Choose Virtual Private Hosting or CLOUD VPS IF
- Your website has or expects a lot of activity (comments, visitors, contacts, and frequent blogging)
- You have an eCommerce store with more than 50 products
- Your website has important 3rd party integrations
- Your website hosts a Learning Management System (LMS)
- You do a lot of marketing and might experience traffic surges (this doesn’t exactly mean you won’t get surprises with traffic surges, it only means your provider or technician could better help you plan for those periods of traffic surge)
Choose a Dedicated Server or Virtual Dedicated Server IF or When
- Your website needs have outgrown what you get with a VPS.
- Your website is getting to use a lot of resources and shared vCPU is becoming a bottleneck
- You are managing email on your server and the number of emails has increased
- You are starting to use your system for multiple services (more than just websites) in which case you can get your own dedicated server and split into multiple VPSs