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Understanding what kind of hosting plans are available, as well as their respective merits and limitations, is a must. Continue reading below to learn about the most common types of plans offered by web hosts, or see our detailed guide to web hosting for an in-depth look.
Shared Linux Hosting is the most popular, and most affordable, hosting option. You’ll be renting space on a shared (hence the name) Linux-based server with other site owners, which means you’re also sharing resources like RAM and processing power. It’s comparable to living in an apartment building: lots of neighbors, shared everything, and limited access to the inner workings of the property. The majority of websites run on shared linux servers.
The majority of hosting plans can be categorized into five main types:
Shared: Enough firepower for most small business and personal websites, at a price point that won’t overwhelm, shared hosting is the most affordable hosting type available. With shared hosting you share server resources with other customers, so you have all functionality of a professionally managed web server but only shoulder a small share of the server cost.
VPS: If you’ve exceeded the power of shared hosting, virtual private server hosting will arm you with increased performance without saddling you with the full cost of a dedicated server. An interesting option if you’re looking for improved security, and more control over the server, in an environment with fewer users to place demands on server resources.
Cloud: If industry-leading uptime and rapid-scalability are your two biggest worries, cloud hosting might be just what you’re looking for. Cloud hosting will give you access to a cluster of servers from which you can quickly provision resources when you need them, and enough separation from unruly server neighbors that your application is kept safe. VPS and Cloud services are sometimes combined into a hybrid service (sometimes called Cloud VPS or Scalable VPS).
Dedicated: If you’re ready to be done sharing server resources dedicated hosting will provide you complete and unfettered access to a physical server. Useful for powering complex applications and advanced scripts, dedicated hosting provides the highest level of security and server customization possible.
Reseller: If you want to sell hosting while someone else maintains the network, reseller hosting is one option to consider. With reseller packages you buy access to server space in bulk, and then resell it under your own brand. An advanced hosting type, if you select a reseller plan be prepared to provide your customers with technical support.
WordPress Hosting: Launched in 2003 as a blogging platform, WordPress has grown into a powerful content management system that powers around 26% of websites today. Consider a managed WordPress hosting package optimized for WordPress if you want to spend less time configuring and managing your WordPress installation, and more time building your WordPress-powered website.
PHP Hosting: Supported by most hosting providers, easy to implement, and boasting a huge development community, PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor is a core feature of many hosting plans. As the programming language that powers popular applications like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla, if it’s PHP hosting you seek you will have no shortage of options.
Joomla Hosting: A flexible content management system and web application framework that really shines when asked to organize a large and complex content database, Joomla is a popular framework for building websites and applications. If you want to build website powered by Joomla we’ve aggregated some hosting options that offer Joomla optimization.
Linux or Windows?
Besides choosing between shared or more robust packages, your other main choice when it comes to hosting a website is the OS (operating system) of the web server.
Linux: The most common hosting platform in the world, Linux servers are a popular choice for many websites and applications. If you’re looking for a hosting platform that can handle today’s most common programming languages and applications (PHP + MySQL) consider Linux hosting, the industry-standard hosting platform.
Windows: The hosting platform powered by Microsoft. If you want a server than can handle Windows applications, databases and programming languages like ASP.NET, SilverLight, and MS SQL while still giving you the flexibility to utilize common web programming languages like PHP, consider the Windows server hosting platform. Expect to pay about 20% more for a Windows-based hosting plan compared to one which is Linux-based.
Hosting Deals and Coupons: occasionally hosting companies offer special deals and offers especially around holidays such as Easter or Christmas and popular shopping weekends such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.