It is a well known fact that having your own website can do wonders for your business, or even the promotion of your personal interests. With so many web hosting options available on the internet today, setting up a website is no longer the daunting task it used to be. However, you have to know the pros and cons of each type of web hosting before you can ascertain which web hosting plan is most suitable for you.
There are basically four types of web hosting, and they are free hosting, shared or virtual hosting, dedicated hosting, and private on-site hosting. Free hosting allows you to set up your own website for free or at a minimum cost. While this can save you money, it does not provide the software options, database support, security, and technical support that are available with paid hosting. Many free web hosting offers require that ads be placed on your site for benefit of the provider. This type of hosting is recommended for small websites that do not have a lot of traffic, such as personal sites, family sites, or hobby sites. It is not suitable for professionals, commercial businesses or high traffic sites. One of the major disadvantages of free hosting is that you may not be allowed to use your own domain name. You will be required to use a domain name that is given by the host; for example, http://www.freesite/users/~yoursite.htm. Such a name is not easy to use or remember, and does not complement professionalism.
Shared or virtual servers provide the most popular type of hosting because it is affordable and provides the support and features you need the most. With this type of hosting, you are actually sharing a powerful server with many other websites. It is better than free hosting because it allows you to have your own domain name, and provides a variety of free software applications, database support, email support, multiple language features, as well as quality technical support. However, the security may not be the best. There will be many other sites on the server that can have an impact on your site. This is not a not a major concern however, shared hosting servers are professionally managed to eliminate sharing issues and problems caused by other sites on the server. Shared hosting is recommended for small businesses, professional service providers and other venues with average to moderately high traffic.
Dedicated hosting provides an entire server dedicated to your website. This means that you do not have to share server resources with any other website. This form of hosting is more expensive, and requires a higher degree of technical skills but offers a higher level of reliability and secure hosting. Dedicated hosting is the perfect type of hosting for large and high traffic sites, or sites that employ special software or have a requirement for extreme security. It offers excellent email solutions, database support, software support, and security, and allows you to have multiple domain names.
Private on-site hosting means that your web server(s) are positioned at a location which you or your company controls. It is rather similar to having your server in your own office, only that it is generally placed in a controlled computer environment. This type of hosting provides complete control by the owner and provides the best possible solution for bandwidth, up-time, security and flexibility. It has dedicated resources such as regulated backup power, protection against vandalism and fire, and more. However, this hosting solution is costly, and requires that your company IT staff control and operate the server for the benefit of the company. For very large corporations or businesses with dedicated services this is typically the most cost effective way of managing hosting services.