The Internet is full of adverts and every hosting company is claiming to have 99.99% of uptime, having too many options would confuse anyone to choose the best hosting for the website.
Recently, I have been asked on Quora about how to choose the best hosting.
I saw lots of were just spam answers with no helpful or valuable content, so that is why this article was written.
I’m a professional web developer and I have used multiple companies for hosting services throughout the past years.
In this article, I’m not going to recommend you a single company, why?
Because it depends on your project requirements.
I’ll guide you through everything you need in this article step-by-step which will help you to choose the best one.
Not because of someone or me saying it but you will able to find out the best one that suits your project requirements.
Let’s start with what hosting is first.
What is web hosting and why do you need it?
Imagine you want to build a shop, so you will need land to build your shop.
Web hosting is very similar to it but for the digital world. To host your website, you need space and that is where web hosting comes in.
Now, web hosting is more than just digital space.
A good web host won’t just give you space to host website files but also will provide you with enough resources to execute code and the best uptimes.
Types of web hosting
We are going to explore the types of hosting that you can opt for for your website/web application.
There are three main types,
- Shared Hosting
- VPS – Virtual Private Server
- Cloud Hosting
Let’s see what each type offers and how can you figure out what is the best for your website.
1. Shared Hosting – The No Good, Bad, and Ugly.
Shared hosting, as the name says, it is shared.
Basically, there would be a single server with multiple customer accounts set up on it having multiple (actually lots of) websites stored on the single server.
This is often chosen by non-tech-savvy people who want a website up and running in the less time possible without technical hassle.
Shared hosting is also often cheaper compared to other options, which made it widely used by lots of customers.
So, you may think this is the best option? No tech hassle and cheap? NOPE.
Actually, this is the worst option available in the market, it is cheap but insecure and highly unreliable.
The server resources are shared with all websites hosted on the server, this means if one website receives more traffic, your website may slow down too.
This also means you could have a breached (hacked) website if any other website on the same server gets breached.
How shared hosting would perform?
Shared hosting has the worst performance and will not be able to handle more than around 25 to 30 HTTP requests at a single time.
Imagine, 35 customers trying to access your online store or website and 5 of them won’t be able to buy your products or services, sounds bad right?
Of course, you could play around with cache and all, but most shared hosting providers won’t let you know how much RAM & processing power is allocated to the server.
Low ram & processing power, means slower code execution, a slow website, and bad for business.
Lack of freedom of shared hosting
You won’t be able to control much with shared hosting, they do actually allow configuration at some level but it is not enough.
You won’t be able to control your server software configuration, access, server operating system, updates, and so on.
Because of this, with shared hosting you can not control your website or web application as you want to, you have to work with whatever is provided to you.
The worst thing is the logs, the server logs each HTTP request which helps people like us to investigate security breaches.
With limited access to the server logs, it becomes a real pain to investigate and fix the security vulnerabilities.
Horrible support & downtimes due to server maintenance with shared hosting
Often shared hosting support is just bad, they won’t know the tech terms, and won’t be able to provide you with a solution quickly.
Issues and maintenance go on for hours and you get an idea of how bad it could be for your business with those downtimes.
Bad Practices by shared hosting providers
Lots of shared hosting companies are just sister companies sharing their servers with each other, even for emails. Shared hosting servers are well-known for email spammers.
Shared web hosting companies DO NOT care much about your security, subsidiary of Hostinger, 000Webhost had passwords stolen and they just stored passwords in plain text.
Hostgator was also alleged to store passwords in plain text, while they say that they use encryption to store the passwords, it makes no sense of they could be converted back to plain text.
I myself have used Hostgator and the support person was able to log into my FTP with FileZilla without asking me for my password, when I asked, she could not answer that could satisfy me.
And I’m not alone, others have noticed the same thing, see https://www.stephensaw.me/hostgator-storing-plaintext-password/
Should you go with shared hosting?
I do not see a reason why you should use a shared hosting service unless you are not serious about your website being secure and online.
The only good part about shared hosting is, it is easier to use compared to VPS and Cloud Hosting.
2. VPS – Virtual Private Servers
You can have your own isolated hosting space, allocated RAM, and processing power with virtual private servers.
VPS uses virtualization technology to have an isolated virtual machine on a physical server.
A VPS would have its own operating system and behaves very similarly to a dedicated server. VPS is far better compared to shared hosting when it comes to freedom, resources, and control.
It could be a good choice for someone who does not want to jump to Cloud Hosting and doesn’t want to use shared hosting either.
It is more reliable than shared hosting, cost-effective (however cloud has caught up to this), and easier to use compared to cloud hosting.
The dilemma of VPS
VPS does have a few bad points and they are flexibility and reliability.
Although they are reliable they still use a single physical server to have the virtual server, which means they are still less reliable compared to cloud hosting.
VPS servers are scalable but not scalable as cloud servers.
Should you go with VPS hosting?
You may go with VPS hosting if you do not want to deal with all the tech stuff you have to do with cloud hosting and you want something better than shared hosting.
Many providers offer managed VPS where the hosting company does all the tech stuff for you, however, there are managed cloud hosting as well.
Nowadays, VPS seems redundant to me because cloud hosting caught up with it.
3. Cloud Hosting
Cloud hosting uses a network of servers to host your website/web application.
Cloud hosting also uses virtualization technology to have an isolated virtual server, however cloud hosting offers you full control of your dedicated server with RAM and processing power.
It offers better scalability, security, and better uptimes, while a VPS could fail because of a single server, the cloud won’t.
It is very cost-effective nowadays and one could buy it for as little as $4 a month which is a steal deal for the flexibility, reliability, and control it offers.
You will have to be a nerd
As it offers you full control, you will have to configure and manage it.
If you are not tech-savvy, it can be a huge deal for you and it may not work for you, there are managed cloud hosting services over the internet that you could opt for.
This is the only downside of cloud hosting.
Should you go with cloud hosting?
You should choose a cloud hosting provider if either you are a tech-savvy person or you could hire someone to manage it for you.
Did this article help you to make a decision? Comment below with any questions, I will be happy to help!