Types of Web Hosting

Web hosting is essentially renting space for your domain name. A web hosting service allows organizations or individuals to make their websites accessible (via their domain name) to others on the Internet. Web hosting providers, such as Yahoo! Web Hosting or GoDaddy, generally take care of the tedious issues like running and monitoring the computers while you design and build your site. With any web hosting company, you may either choose to design and build the site yourself or hire someone to do it for you. Most web hosting companies have do-it-yourself website building software and some even offer packages that include site design in the costs.

There are many types of web hosting services available. Listed below are the 5 most common services, listed in order of cost and technical expertise needed.

  • Free hosting services such as MySpace or GeoCities provide a single web page with some level of customization. You are assigned a domain name, have very limited functionality, and banner advertisements for the provider may run on your web page. This is ideal for students and teenagers, but not for those who want a website beyond a single page.
  • Shared web hosting refers to a service where many sites are hosted on the same servers to share resources and save money. Most paid web hosting services are shared web hosting.
  • Dedicated hosting is where you rent a server that is not shared with anyone else.
  • Managed hosting is an expanded version of dedicated hosting in which the host will manage your server for you.
  • Colocation refers to when you purchase a server and a third party server provides the networking for you.

Making the Right Selection

For most people, organizations, and businesses, shared web hosting is the best choice. Shared web hosting has the most functionality for the cheapest price and does not require any technical expertise. In most cases, you can expect to pay anywhere from $10 to $40 per month for shared web hosting. Free hosting services are good for limited personal web pages, but not for much beyond that.

Dedicated hosting is a great idea if you have a larger business, you want some measure of control over your site, and are technically savvy. Here you will have the advantage of a server that is entirely yours but it is a more expensive option. In most cases, you can expect to pay $100 to $300 dollars per month, but costs can go up depending on your provider and the hosting plan.

Managed hosting is great if you need the space of a dedicated host service and want the ease of use that most shared hosting programs offer. This is, by far, the most expensive hosting option. As with dedicated hosting, the price depends on the size of your site. In most cases, you can expect to pay hundreds up to thousands of dollars per month.

Colocation occurs when you buy a server, then you literally take it to a host. The only responsibilities the hosting company has is to provide it with internet connectivity and power. In most cases, you can expect to pay about $40 per square foot with collocation providers.