Comparing Web Hosting Packages – A Helpful Guide
Selecting a great web hosting package can be crucial to the overall success of your business, particularly if your business is run primarily online. We know that wading through the details can be daunting, so the team at Domain.com has put together a helpful guide to aid you in selecting a great package that will help your business grow without breaking your budget.
We will begin with a brief overview of the most common types of web hosting packages available and help you compare them to find the best fit for you.
Ready to get started online? Learn more about the available hosting packages at Domain.com.
Shared web hosting
Shared hosting is the most commonly used of all hosting services and it works in much the same way as renting a shared workspace. In a shared workspace people pay a membership fee in order to use an allotted space along with other shared office resources. Shared hosting services provide essentially the same format. Shared hosting services provide space on a server that is used by you and a few hundred others, who split the overall cost.
If shared hosting is like a membership to a shared workspace, then VPS hosting is comparable to renting a suite for your business in an office building. In this case, instead of having hundreds or even thousands of cohabiters, you only share your space with about 20 others. Additionally, your server space is partitioned off from the others utilizing the shared service. This allows for additional:
- Increased scalability
These are all advantages that VPS offers over traditional shared hosting, but one disadvantage is that these benefits also come with a higher price.
Dedicated hosting is designed for companies with a need or a desire to have their own dedicated hosting server. To follow the office space theme above, dedicated hosting is like leasing out an entire office building for your company. This dedicated server offers advantages over both shared hosting and VPS hosting including:
- Increased security and reliability
- Complete autonomy for customizing hosting space
- Expanded access to customer service and technical support
A dedicated server is generally only needed for larger businesses who do a significant portion of their business online. The cost is much higher than the aforementioned options, often making it prohibitive for smaller businesses, but the service is much stronger as well
Cloud hosting is the latest and greatest addition to the world of hosting services. It combines many of the most advantageous aspects of the other hosting types into one that is affordable and easy to use for businesses of most sizes. This model uses resources from a myriad of computer hosts to provide clients the space they need, but only what they need, when they need it. By using this model, cloud hosting services provide a solution that is both flexible and affordable.
Things to consider when comparing packages
Now that you have a basic understanding of the different options available for your web hosting needs, we will go through the items you should consider when comparing different packages. We will discuss them all in further detail shortly.
- The size of your business
- Cost of the package
- Cost of any additional hardware or software
- Technical knowledge required
- Customer service and tech support
- Flexibility and Customizability
- Professional Management
How large is your business?
The size of your business is going to be the primary factor in determining your hosting needs. If you are operating a small to medium-sized business, you can strike dedicated hosting from your list of options right away. You simply do not need that much hosting space. Small to medium-sized businesses will want to take a look at:
- Shared Hosting
- VPS Hosting
- Cloud Hosting
If you are running a very small business, particularly as a first-time entrepreneur, then your first stop on this journey will likely be shared hosting. This is assuming that your business does not have any unique requirements that might necessitate some of the bells and whistles that other packages offer.
Medium-sized businesses can go a number of different ways here. If you are running a mercantile business that relies heavily on web traffic to generate leads and sales, you may want a little more juice in your hosting plan–go for either VPS hosting or cloud hosting.
That being said, not all medium-sized businesses use their website as the primary vessel for generating sales. If, for instance, you operate your website as an element of your marketing funnel, and the actual service provided is physical in nature, then you may be able to utilize a shared hosting plan and enjoy the reduced cost.
How much do hosting plans cost?
Weighing the cost-to-benefit ratio of each plan is going to be the next step in determining the best hosting package for you. Here is a general breakdown of how much each type of plan costs with Domain.com, along with some insight into their billing structure.
- Shared hosting: Average cost- $3.75-$13.75 per month
As low as- $3.75 per month for the Starter plan
- VPS hosting: Average cost- $41.60 per month
As low as- $29.70 per month
Scalable up to- $67.95 per month
Billed monthly or annually
Technical knowledge requirements
Each type of hosting package will require a different level of technical knowledge on your part, in order to set it up properly. To give you an idea of what this looks like for each type:
- Shared hosting: Little to no technical knowledge required
- VPS hosting: Little to moderate technical knowledge required
- Dedicated hosting: Advanced technical knowledge required
- Cloud hosting: Little to moderate technical knowledge required
This is an area where you may be able to save yourself some money every month. Understandably, packages that include the services of a technical manager cost more. If you happen to have the requisite knowledge to handle setup and maintenance yourself, congratulations. If not, choose a package that includes the services of a professional to take care of it for you.
Flexibility and customizability
In the hosting world, the terms flexibility and customizability are inextricably linked. Essentially, they refer to your ability to dictate the details of your website hosting environment. The rule of thumb here: the more you pay, the more customization allowed.
- Shared hosting: No customization possible
- VPS hosting: Some customization possible
- Dedicated hosting: Complete autonomy for customization
- Cloud hosting: Some customization possible
Note the use of the word “possible” above. With shared hosting, customization is simply not possible, making it the least flexible type of hosting available. This is because any changes made to your hosting environment would have a direct effect on every other website hosted on the same server. Be sure to take your customization needs and wishes into account when choosing your package.
When we speak of reliability we are referring to the potential for slowing or downtime to occur due to internal or external factors. Things that could affect the reliability of your web hosting service include:
- Bad neighbors: Unique to shared hosting, a bad neighbor is one that experiences unusually high traffic which puts excessive strain on the server. This often results in slowing or downtime for websites hosted on the same server.
- Faulty coding: Should another website hosted on the same server have faulty coding, your website may experience slowing or downtime.
As you might guess, hosting options that have fewer “neighbors” hosted on their server are less susceptible to reliability issues.
- Shared hosting: Less reliability
- VPS hosting: Relatively reliable
- Dedicated hosting: Extremely reliable
- Cloud hosting: Reliable
For many businesses, this is one of the most influential factors in selecting a hosting package. For businesses who operate primarily or entirely online, the reliability of the server hosting their website is absolutely crucial.
For our purposes, the term “security” encompasses both physical and cybersecurity. Ultimately, the goal of either form is to protect both the data stored on the server that hosts your website and to allow your site to continue running smoothly.
Physical security: Servers that are managed by a professional hosting company tend to have the highest level of physical security. This prevents anyone from physically breaking in and gaining access to your precious data or damaging the server that helps your business run.
Cyber security: Again, it is recommended that you choose a hosting option with low susceptibility to cyber-attack. For instance, shared hosting plans and VPS hosting solutions tend to be more susceptible to cyber-attack, particularly of the DDoS variety, due to the number of “neighbors” hosted on the same server.
For smaller companies, the consequences of a security breach tend to warrant less concern, and the risk is lower as well. However, larger companies that collect a lot of data, or uniquely valuable data, should place high priority on the security of their host server.
The scalability of each hosting package may prove to be vital, particularly if you expect your company to experience high growth in the near future. The potential to scale varies with each hosting type and the pricing for this ought to be detailed clearly in the plan you choose.
- Shared hosting: Not scalable
- VPS hosting: Scalable
- Dedicated hosting: Very scalable
- Cloud hosting: Very scalable
While most hosting options allow at least some degree of scalability, you will notice that shared hosting plans are the exception. It is simply not possible to scale with this type of website hosting, because the resources of the host server are shared openly between all websites hosted there. Any added demand will have a direct effect on the performance of every website on the server.
Learn the right web hosting package for your business
When choosing the best hosting plan for your business, consider all of the variables, and choose the one that leads to the most successful for your business. With so many options and packages available, choosing one is easier once you understand the different components of each, and know what your business needs.
Ready to get started online? Learn more about the available hosting packages at Domain.com.