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Screen Shot 2013-08-18 at 12.49.16 PMWhen it comes to web hosting your choices are vast. This article is a Comparison of  Shared Hosting, VPS, Dedicated Servers, and Cloud Servers. We will discuss the benefits and shortcomings of each technology. The choices can be rather daunting, and there are a lot of “buzz words” that get thrown around in this technology space.

Many Web Hosting Hosting companies exist on the internet and they are not all the same. No matter what web hosting technology fits your needs make sure you go with a reputable hosting company. Don’t rule out the smaller hosting providers. A lot of these smaller web hosting companies offer superior service when it comes to supporting you and your hosting infrastructure. If you have seen a commercial for a hosting company on TV, and you sign up with them, your likely to become just another number. So when looking for a Web Hosting Provider think “reputable” rather than large or small. Your local Better Business Bureau is a good place to start your search.

Shared Web Hosting

Shared Web Hosting is probably the most affordable of all hosting technologies. Just keep in mind you get what you pay for! If you are looking to host a small website or blog, shared hosting is probably best for you. Many hosting companies have plans Starting from as little as $4.99/mo.

The reason Shared Web Hosting is so cheap is that your website is being hosted on a shared web server with many other websites. So the cost to support the server is split among many clients by the hosting provider.

Many Web Hosting Companies offer clients a Web Based Control Panel, like cPanel or Plesk. This allows for easy management of your web hosting space.

The problems with Shared Web Hosting come when your site grows to be to large and intensive. Additionally your website could be slowed down by one of the 100+ other sites on the server your being hosted from. This is called the “Bad Neighbor Effect”. Another shortfall is email. Likely each domain being hosted on the server, also offers that domain email. All the emails no mater who sends them originate from that IP address. If you have someone else sending spam from the server, your email may get blocked as well.

If your looking for Shared Web Hosting, make sure you find a reputable Hosting Company that takes steps to prevent the shortcomings listed above.

VPS Hosting – Virtual Private Servers

Virtual Private Servers (VPS) or Virtual Dedicated Servers are a great hosting technology. They offer you a semi-dedicated environment with full access. There are several different flavors of VPS’s, that we covered in a previous post. We ranked Xen VPS Hosting superior to the other technologies in that post for two simple reasons. Your resources are dedicated, and Xen Virtualization is a proven standard.

Xen VPS Hosting offers close performance and freedom of a dedicated server. The client has full root access to their VPS and can instal any packages they require. Additionally if you choose a Xen VPS Server, your resources are guaranteed to be there just like in a real dedicated environment.

One downside to VPS hosting is again scale. VPS hosting is very affordable for midsize websites, but once you need to scale a VPS to accommodate a larger website, it is often more economical to host from a dedicated server.

Dedicated Servers

Dedicated Servers are the Best technology to host from if you have a large demanding site, or want to host many websites from one place. This is the real deal. You have a server in a Data Center and are the sole user of that server. Dedicated Server Hosting Companies often offer management plans for the servers too so you don’t need to worry about maintenance.

It’s hard to come up with a downside to Dedicated hosting. I would have to say the only downside is price. Dedicated Hosting is far more expensive than VPS or Shared Web Hosting. But again, you get what you pay for!

Cloud Servers

Cloud Servers or Cloud Computing is the relative new comer in the Web Hosting Space. To quote Wikipedia “Cloud computing is a jargon term without a commonly accepted non-ambiguous scientific or technical definition. In science, cloud computing is a synonym for distributed computing over a network and means the ability to run a program on many connected computers at the same time.”

Thats alot to wrap you head around! There are a lot of companies offering “cloud” this or that. But they are really just using “cloud” as a buzz word for virtualization. A Cloud Server is just a VPS after all, just running on the clouds infrastructure. There is alot more to cloud than that though.

Cloud computing has its benefits when it comes to running massively scaled applications across a huge infrastructure of systems. Think Amazon, Facebook, Ebay, and Google when you think cloud. They are huge players in this space.

OpenStack is an OpenSource Cloud Platform Funded by RackSpace and Nasa. Built buy a collaborative team of individuals world wide, it is quickly becoming the standard for companies looking to build their own clouds or offer services via a public cloud. If you are looking to build your own cloud you should definitely take a look at this project.

The downside to Cloud Computing is security. You are storing your data in a cloud with the data of potentially thousands of other customers of the cloud provider. You do not control the whole cloud, and although fairly stable, there have been cloud outages so no hosting technology is 100% uptime.

Conclusion

Shared Web Hosting offers an affordable solution to many people looking to host a simple website. Xen VPS Hosting is great for mid sized websites that need more control over the system and the performance close to a dedicated server. Dedicated Server Hosting is the Best in class hosting product you can get, and offers superior performance at a cost. Cloud Servers are a buzz word for aVPS but Cloud Computing is great for running massively scaled computational operations across a vast array of servers if you are a large sized company.

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