One of the most challenging aspects of setting up a new website is choosing the right web host. If you’ve never done so before, the sheer range of hosting providers and plans available can be both intimidating and hard to navigate.
The good news is that there’s a perfect hosting plan out there for you, no matter what your budget is. If you take a little time to determine what your site needs, you can get amazing performance and plenty of extras even with a budget web hosting plan.
In this article, we’re going to break down the three most common types of hosting plans you can purchase. We’ll also talk about what their costs are on average, and help you make the right choice for your site. Let’s get to it!
What You Need to Know Before You Choose a Web Hosting Plan
If this is your first time looking for web hosting, don’t worry – the process is a lot less complicated than it might at first appear. There are two decisions you’ll need to make:
- What hosting provider to use
- What type of hosting plan to sign up for
Most popular web hosts offer more than one type of plan, each one more expensive than the last. Especially for first-time website owners, it can be tempting to spend more than you need to because you can get access to more features and resources.
As a rule of thumb, however, it’s best to start with a low-cost hosting plan if you’re not sure what type of functionality you need. These days, hosting is such a competitive industry that even the simplest plans tend to offer excellent performance and features.
So the first step is to review the hosting providers that are available, and pick one that is well-reviewed and offers a variety of plans. You can check out this list of hosts if you want recommendations. After that, it’s time to identify the type of plan you need.
3 Types of Hosting for Any Website Budget
In order to pick the right hosting plan, you’ll need to understand the common varieties. Here are the three most prominent options, along with their advantages and drawbacks.
1. Shared Hosting
As you might already know, you need access to a server in order to get your website online. With shared hosting, a single physical server houses multiple websites and users.
Shared hosting’s primary benefits are its low cost and ease of use. On the other hand, you’ll get access to fewer resources, and security won’t be as tight. In addition, it’s possible for other websites on the same server to negatively impact your site’s performance.
If you don’t have any experience with web hosting and you’re working on your first site, however, shared plans are the way to go. You can easily find options starting at less than $5 per month, and most prices cap at around $10 per month.
2. Virtual Private Servers
One of the downsides of shared hosting is that you don’t get dedicated resources for your account. If your site is hosted on a server with 8 GB of RAM and a dual-core processor, you’ll be sharing those resources with every other user.
With a Virtual Private Server (VPS), you get a set of resources that are dedicated just to your website. Your site is still stored on the same physical server as other websites, yet performance and security tend to be better because there’s a layer of isolation between each site.
Another upside is that VPS plans often enable you to tweak many aspects of your server’s configuration. Plus, you get to select precisely what amount of resources you want your server to have:
As you might imagine, prices for this type of plan will vary depending on the resources you need. At the lower end of the scale, a VPS can cost as little as $5 per month. However, for a website that gets a moderate amount of traffic, you can expect to spend somewhere between $10 and $20 per month.
Some web hosts also enable you to deploy VPSs using ‘cloud’ architecture:
That means your virtual server will be distributed among many physical servers, which makes it infinitely more scalable and can improve performance. With cloud hosting, you pay by the hour depending on your server’s configuration.
VPSs are considered the next step beyond shared hosting. At some point, once your website starts getting a steady stream of traffic, you may begin to notice decreased performance. That’s when you should consider upgrading to something more powerful, and budget accordingly.
3. Dedicated Servers
Most types of hosting plans have multiple users sharing each server. After all, it often doesn’t make financial sense to devote an entire machine to a single client. However, that’s exactly what dedicated hosting plans do – they provide your website with its own physical server.
As you might expect, dedicated servers don’t come cheap. However, in exchange for your money, you’ll get access to dedicated resources, full control over your server’s configuration, and just about any kind of setup you want:
At the low end of the scale, you can expect to spend around $100 per month on a dedicated server. This is the kind of plan you might consider when you’re outgrown both shared hosting and VPSs, and you need more resources for your website to continue to grow.
If you’re launching a new website, it almost never makes sense to opt for dedicated hosting right away. If you know you need the resources and you have the budget for this type of plan, however, it should provide you with top-level performance and security.
A lot of people assume that website hosting is expensive and complicated. In reality, you can find a reliable and low-maintenance hosting plan for just a few dollars per month. Plus, you can always upgrade your plan as needed, so you never need to overpay for hosting.
Depending on your budget and needs, here are the three main types of hosting plans you’ll want to consider:
- Shared hosting: This type of plan is great for small sites and blogs, and you can find excellent budget plans starting at less than $5 per month.
- VPS hosting: Virtual servers offer a handy balance between resources and budget, and many options will only cost $10 to $20 per month.
- Dedicated servers: These are top-of-the-line hosting plans that provide your site with its own server, and usually start at around $100 per month.
Do you have any questions about which type of hosting plan to use? Ask away in the comments section below!