6 Types of Web Hosting and The Real Difference
Wikipedia mentions a total of ten types of web hosting. However, you will generally see six types when you look for one, whether it’s through reading recommendation lists like ours or scrolling a well-known hosting provider’s service pages.
Therefore, we will be mentioning those six only. We will define & differentiate them all, give some examples, and specify which one’s best for what purpose.
Without any further ado, let’s get started.
6 Types of Web Hosting
1. Shared Hosting
As the name suggests, shared hosting is the type of hosting where multiple websites reside on the same server and share server resources.
It’s the most popular type of hosting in the commercial market. And the primary reason behind its popularity is it’s cheap.
Because many sites use the same server, the hardware cost, maintenance cost, and all other costs for the hosting provider are less, making it plausible for you to access at a low price.
At the same time & due to the same reason, the site’s performance can suffer if used for big projects. Even your small site can suffer if other sites on the server face traffic spikes. Moreover, you won’t get root access because other sites are using the same server.
How big a site can you host with this type of hosting? It depends. One shared hosting plan like Hostinger’s base plan can handle about 10k visitors monthly, whereas a shared hosting plan like A2’s Turbo-tier ones can manage tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands, in monthly traffic.
Generally speaking, shared hosting is recommended for beginners and small to medium-sized sites.
Overall, it’s cost-effective and beginner-friendly. However, if performance (i.e., speed, uptime, etc.) is the top priority, you are better off looking into other types.
2. VPS Hosting
VPS (Virtual Private Server or Virtual Dedicated Server) is similar to shared hosting but not quite the same. Here, your site will be sharing the server with others, but resources will be divided (not shared).
If you purchase a VPS plan, your site will have a specific amount of server resources assigned. E.g., the Standard VPS plan by Bluehost includes 2 CPU cores, 2 GB memory, 30 GB SSD, and 1 TB bandwidth. It’s all yours, whether you receive one visitor per month or ten thousand visitors.
Because the web host has to keep aside the mentioned hardware, the number of sites it can fit on one server is significantly less than that with the shared hosting. Therefore, VPS plans cost comparatively more.
The plus side of this system is other sites’ traffic spikes/security issues/etc. won’t affect your site. Moreover, you will get outstanding performance because you pre-know & choose the configurations of your server.
Anyone can use VPS hosting. Just choose the server configuration suitable for your site. Still, it’s not recommended to massive sites with millions of hits.
Overall, virtual private servers are cost-effective (not as much as shared hosting) and excellent for performance.
3. Dedicated Servers
In shared hosting, server resources are shared. In VPS, server resources are divided. With dedicated server hosting, the whole server is yours!
You will have complete control over the hardware, software, configurations...everything. Plus, dedicated servers generally have more memory, storage, and CPU power to handle a significant amount of traffic.
All of it comes at a cost, though. As you would have assumed, dedicated servers are expensive! Moreover, you will need a professional to handle it if the hosting provider doesn’t do it for you.
As for the kind of websites it’s suitable for, it’s generally preferred by big companies & organizations for performance, security, and privacy reasons. It’s also ideal for websites that get hundreds of thousands or millions of monthly visitors.
The amount of concurrent traffic a server can handle depends on the configuration you choose — a server using Intel 2 core i3 processor with 2 GB RAM can’t control many users. In contrast, an 18 core Xeon-range processor with 32 GB RAM will be able to manage more than a million monthly users.
Overall, dedicated servers are great for big companies that want full control over their site and attract a significant number of visitors.
4. Cloud Hosting
Till now, we discussed the types of hosting that included only one server. Cloud hosting uses multiple remote servers/VPS.
It’s the newest type of hosting on this list, and it’s been the rage for quite a few years now. Instead of using one machine, cloud hosting uses multiple servers for high availability & traffic balance. In simpler words, your site will have access to the resources of all these servers. Even if one of the servers fails, other servers are there to serve your visitors.
Furthermore, the best part of cloud hosting — and the reason why big companies like Google use it — is scalability & cost-effectiveness. You pay for what you use & you can auto-scale resources. Your site’s suddenly getting traffic spikes? Awesome! Cloud hosting will handle it. With any other type of hosting, you would have to worry about downtime in such scenarios; not with this one!
The only downside of cloud hosting is you don’t have much control over the server like you would with a VPS or dedicated server. Also, the web host can charge more for traffic spikes.
Cloud plans are suitable for sites of all sizes due to extreme scalability. 1000 visitors? 10 million visitors? Doesn’t matter.
Overall, if you don’t mind not having full control over the server & are willing to pay a tiny bit more, cloud hosting is the best hosting.
5. Reseller Hosting
Reseller hosting is meant to, well, resell. With this type of hosting, you have access to a particular amount of server resources & have the liberty to divide it amongst others.
It’s mostly preferred for two purposes: Buying a plan, dividing it into mini-plans, and selling it for profits; Or using it to handle multiple clients’ sites. You are a middleman in either case. However, your client won’t know you are reselling if the primary provider offers white-label access. E.g., A2 Hosting’s white-labeled reseller plans.
Overall, If you’d like to own a web hosting business, own a web agency, or are simply a developer/designer who handles many clients, reseller hosting is for you.
6. WordPress Hosting
Unlike all other types of hosting we mentioned, WordPress hosting has no specific base architecture. It’s just a layer on top of any mentioned hosting. WordPress hosting is essentially any type of hosting optimized for WordPress performance.
WordPress’s CMS market share is over 2/3rd, and over 1/3rd of websites on the internet use WordPress. Due to such popularity, almost all hosting providers sell “WordPress Hosting” as a hosting type. Generally, it includes WordPress auto-updates, auto-install/pre-install WordPress, specialized WordPress support, and some WordPress-specific features.
However, the way server resources are managed & used aren’t the same across all providers. E.g., Hostinger uses shared hosting for their WordPress plans, whereas Kinsta uses cloud hosting for their Managed WordPress packages.
Naturally, WordPress hosting is recommended to WordPress users because of the WordPress-specific tweaks that boost performance.
Overall, building a WordPress site? Go with WordPress hosting for the best optimization.
The mentioned six names are the only ones we discuss on this site. Moreover, one of these is all you need.
If you are curious to know other types, look for colocation, clustered, grid, and home server hosting. Want us to explore these as well? Let us know, and we will update this article or create a new one. Thanks for reading!