Designing and owning a website are critical factors in firing up a modern marketing scheme. As websites must first be made available to the wide public, the information contained within them must be stored on servers. This is where a hosting service comes in to save the day, but which type of hosting to use can be a bit of a head-scratcher.

Depending on the type of website you own and the type of business you’re trying to promote, web hosting must fulfil particular requirements. With small website operators, free hosting service could tick all the right boxes, whereas a large company may find the geo-redundant services that come with a clustered type of hosting to be far more appropriate. Understanding the relative advantages and disadvantages of all service types is the first step in making the right decision for your company.

Types of Hosting Services

Free Web Hosting

This type of service targets small audiences and static websites, as they offer limited control over website functionality and restricted monetisation strategies. They will also typically run advertising banners on your website, thus preventing your from getting the most out of your advertising space, or even occasionally annoying your viewers with incessant pop-ups.

Shared Hosting

In the case of shared hosting, you basically agree to have your website data hosted alongside others on a server, which can pose some security risks, besides yielding limited processing capacity and granting access to fewer support options than other services would. These services are offered in return for a small fee and they come with some administrative control and monetisation options.

Reseller Hosting

This type of service grants you permission to own a reseller account and to lease hosting services to others, but you alone are responsible for the technical support your customers require.

Virtual Dedicated Hosting

As a virtual private server (VPS) user, you are given access to a virtual dedicated server that whose resources are divided into virtual servers. All of the users sharing access to the server enjoy resources allocated to them irrespective of other users. Depending on the type of VPS relationship, you can maintain your VPS container by yourself, you may have root access/windows access to your own space and you may be required to patch and maintain the server, as well.

Dedicated Hosting

When a dedicated server is in use, you gain full access to administrative controls (administrative access if using a Windows operating system, or root access in the case of Linux operating systems) and unlimited software and app usage. The downside is that maintenance and security are solely your responsibility. If you’ve developed your own software and/or expect considerable traffic on your website, this service would suit you well.

Managed Dedicated Hosting

These service providers send security updates and keep your systems functioning at maximum capacity. You do not have administrative access if you use windows hosting, or root access if your operating system is Linux. However, you benefit from virus scanning, spam filtering, security auditing and other security advantages. Additionally, you can manage your data remotely through FTP access. While you can’t own the server, and have to lease it instead, you enjoy most of the same perks an owner would have, including memory, RAM, storage and RAID configurations bnased on your particular requirements.

Cloud Hosting

Much like the virtual hosting services described above, cloud hosting gives you remote access to your data and allows you to share your data with Internet users. However, what cloud hosting brings new to the table is the fact that it is based on having multiple servers backing up your data for extra security, improved performance, and geo-redundancy. Should something happen to one server, others will be standing by to pick up the slack, so your customers have continuous, guaranteed access to your website. Not only will you be spared some hefty hardware and IT staff costs, you’ll also be able to share any advanced IT resources you may have with other businesses.

Clustered Hosting

In the case of clustered hosting, you have several servers standing by and able to take over should your main server go off-line. Keeping redundant servers is expensive, but it may be absolutely critical to websites with a global reach, targeting customers on different time-zones. Undergoing maintenance with cloud hosting wouldn’t cause customers any discomfort, as they wouldn’t be aware of your back-stage fiddling, but you’d have more staffing needs to manage the extra hardware. Your clustered hosting could consist of dedicated servers, other types of virtual hosting hardware, cloud servers, or even hybrids.