Your website needs to be stored on a computer server to be accessible to all your visitors 24/7, so you need the best web hosting services. When you begin looking for a website host, you might find that there is a confusing variety available. Companies like to try to separate their products from others on the crowded market, but there are often only slight differences between one host and another.
In this article, we go over the most popular types of website hosting for creative professionals so you can decide which is the best option for your next project.
01. Shared website hosting
Shared website hosting is the cheapest and most common form of web hosting. If a website hosting company doesn’t make a big deal about the type of hosting that it offers, then it’s probably shared web hosting.
As the name implies, shared web hosting means your website is hosted on a server that’s shared with other people. Everyone shares the CPU, memory, hard drives, and network bandwidth. This keeps costs low, but your website might have performance issues when another site on the same server experiences a massive spike in traffic.
In practice, shared web hosting from any reputable web host offers more than enough performance and stability for any site with fewer than 20,000 visits per month.
02. VPS website hosting
VPS (virtual private server) hosting is similar to shared web hosting in that multiple websites are stored on the same hardware. However, you do get your own set amount of server resources that no one else touches. Your website will be unaffected by traffic spikes on other sites, and it's easier to scale up your plans in the future.
When you use VPS hosting, it feels like you’re getting a whole server to yourself, and there’s greatly increased configurability. You should consider VPS hosting if you need to run a mid-sized business website, but for most creatives, it’s overkill.
03. Cloud hosting
Cloud hosting takes the virtualization of VPS to the next level by hosting your site on a network of computers.
When you choose traditional shared hosting or VPS web hosting, if the server goes down for any reason, then your website is unavailable to customers. This doesn’t happen with cloud hosting, as if one server goes offline, visitors will be seamlessly pointed to another server on the cloud network.
Having your website “on the cloud” has other benefits. Your site can be cached on different servers around the world, making it load more quickly for international visitors. It’s also easy to scale up a website on cloud hosting. If your website takes off, you can just buy more traffic and storage space without having to worry about moving servers or installing new hardware.
Cloud hosting is most applicable for large-scale websites, but many web hosting companies are moving to this type. This means the price of cloud hosting is being driven down, so it’s becoming relevant even for small creative-based sites.
Don't miss our round up of the best cloud storage options available too.
04. Dedicated server hosting
To actually get a physical web server to yourself, you need dedicated server hosting. You won’t be sharing any resources with anyone else, so you get complete control over how the server works and your website should perform better.
Dedicated servers are more expensive, and we only recommend them for companies that need super-fast loading speeds or highly customized setups.
05. WordPress hosting
Website hosting is split into the hardware used behind the scenes and the software that is supported. It’s common to see WordPress hosting listed as a separate option from web hosting companies.
Typically, this means you get the content management system automatically installed on your web hosting, along with a bunch of pre-installed themes and plugins. This can make it easier to get a complete WordPress website off the ground in a matter of hours.
06. Managed hosting
Another consideration is whether you need managed hosting. With a managed hosting plan, the hosting provider will perform many of the daily maintenance tasks of running a website for you. The host will perform updates on software, check for security leaks, make backups, and generally ensure that your website is running smoothly.
Without managed hosting, you’re essentially on your own. But most good web hosting companies do offer their users a reasonable level of technical support and assistance.
A particularly popular type of managed hosting is managed WordPress hosting. Basically, the web hosting company handles all the daily maintenance of your WordPress website for you. In some cases, the host will even help set up themes and plugins.
Web hosting companies typically have long lists of different types of hosting from which to choose. Shared web hosting is fine for small sites, but as your traffic grows, you might want to consider VPS web hosting, cloud hosting, or dedicated servers.
Another way that hosting is delineated is by the particular features and services that they offer. WordPress hosting, for example, includes tools that make building and running a WordPress website easier. Managed hosting means the web hosting provider will handle more of the daily maintenance of your server and website for you.