A Small Intro..
Bloggers are incredible people.
They spend their entire time and energy crafting that best blog post, day in and day out. Most of them excel at writing good articles. While some even transcends to the next level in consistently and persistently coming up with pillar articles.
While writing is their skillset, most of the bloggers in the blogosphere are not techie – they have little to no technological expertise, specially when it comes to the web hosting world.
Technical terms like bandwidth, I/O rate limit, SSD or HDD, DNS, Cores, DDOS attacks..etc can easily intimidate someone who wants to start an online blog to pursue his/her objectives.
Choosing the appropriate web hosting for your blog, can be a confusing task.
If not done right, you can undergo some unnecessary mental stress.
Yes, web hosting can get you some pretty serious headache! Either you create an awareness about it, or let someone with experience help you with it.
While there are quite a few different types of web hosting, I will walk you through the main three which are directly applicable to bloggers and hence essential to be aware of.
I will also touch on some important points you also need to think about.
The main three web hosting types we will explore are:
- Shared web hosting
- VPS hosting
- Managed wordpress hosting
Shared Web Hosting
Shared web hosting has existed since so many years.
It is the most common type of web hosting that is used by bloggers world-wide.
But for the mindful and for the wise, shared hosting is also the least recommended solution to host your websites.
What Is Shared Web Hosting
As the name implies, the ‘web hosting’ is being shared – shared with other people like yourself.
What’s actually being shared you say?
You are sharing all of the following with 100s or 1000s of people:
- Operating system
- same hard disk space – files/folders are not contained, they are just given the appropriate ‘ownership’ levels
- same memory (RAM disk)
- same IP address
In layman’s term, consider this as you are sharing the same house with other people – where you are typically sharing everything like rooms, wash room, kitchen, dining table, utensils, glasses, plates, washing machine, microwave, same phone and the same physical mailing address..etc, etc.. got the idea?
So if a thief is to break into that house, all the all the belongings of the people sharing that house are compromised equally.
That’s exactly how shared hosting functions. It’s true that sharing a house with several other members alleviate the cost of rental, but with a higher degree of compromises.
Are you willing to go on that path?
If you are just starting and want to play around, sure you can. But if you are meticulous and plan for long-term, you should probably stay away from that kind of setup.
Advantages Of Shared Hosting
- Very cheap pricing
Since you are sharing space & resources with other people, the provider can afford to charge you a very cheap pricing.
Pricing can be as low as $1 per month. Let’s say you have opted for the $3.99 starter package.
- Easiness to handling the server yourself using a hosting control panel – a graphical user interface (GUI).
Most shared host provide you a do-it-yourself dashboard.
The software that powers these dashboard depends on the web host provider, but these dashboard are very often powered by the famous cpanel, while others are just variants of it or custom made.
Such control panel allows you to setup a lot things on your server like setting up sub-domains, addon domains, create & manage databases, setting up email address, create a new website..etc
Here is a video showing you how the cpanel dashboard looks like:
- One-Click installation of WordPress
The control panel (mentioned above), provides also for a ‘one-click’ wordpress installation solutions. SiteGround provides a custom automated wizard which will guide you to create a complete wordpress website for you.
- Free migration
Most of those shared-host provider, like the awesome SiteGround, will offer to move your whole website from your old web host to them, without any additional cost.
- Free domain name during your first year with them
To entice potential clients, most shared-host, if not all of them, offers their client a free .com domain name (for which you will need to pay after the first year) as part of their shared-hosting package.
But be wary of the following: The domain name most of the time is not actually yours – see below disadvantage part.
- Affiliate program to make you earn a few bucks per referral
The business of shared-hosting is dependent on the quantity of clients.
Since their pricing are cheap, they need to get as many people onbaord as they possibly can.
So just the monthly rental fees are not enough for them to generate a sustained revenue. To increase the odds of their revenue, they extend it by offering what is called as ‘get paid to refer them clients’.
In simple terms, when you refer someone to them, they will pay you a small commission. Some of them pays decent commissions – for example SiteGround pays $50 per referral.
Disadvantages Of Shared Hosting
The advantages of shared-hosting provides, can actually also be their disadvantages. Let examine those.
- Cheap pricing also means ‘low quality’
Low quality in terms of server resources and also server hardware quality.
- Very uncomfortable to move your stuffs to another web host
In this world where change is happening faster than you breath, it is inevitable that you will change web hosting space at least twice in your journey.
With a shared-host, moving your gigabytes of data (images, database and project source) is hard as hell.
This is because most, if not all, shared-hosting only allows data to be transferred via the oldish, archaic FTP transfer protocol which is so time consuming – not to mention the frequent ‘session time-out’ which will add to your frustration.
- An intermediate level of knowledge with server technical stuffs, is definitely needed
While you can argue with me that shared-host provides give you a nice GUI or ‘one-click solution’ to help you get things done quickly and intuitively, I will be in-your-face saying that without a sound understand of ins-and-outs of servers.
You will not be proficient in handling it all by yourself.
Try it out for a couple of week and get back to me with your feedback – via email email@example.com. 🙂
- Free domain without full control or ownership
Most of the time when shared-host provides you with a free domain name, it comes at an expense.
You do not really own that domain.
They proxy it you as the owner internally, but they retain account & full ownership on the domain name. Most of them do not provide you with a means to transfer your domain name to another domain registrar if you leave their hosting service at anytime in the future.
You lose your domain name with the hard earned branding and fame you created.
Note: That said, some of those providers do provide a healthy assistance though. They will generously act politely and help you in transferring your domain. To be on the safe side, before you buy their service, always contact them and ask all the questions that you have in your mind.
When you arrive at that aha moment in your blogging endeavours, you will suddenly realise you have started to gain some powers.
You are no more that newbie blogger who started a year or two ago (assuming you have been consistent). You also feel you can do even more in your blogging progression.
This also means, your site is handling more traffic per day, let’s say an average of 150+ visitors per day.
What is now preventing you from going that extra mile?
Your web hosting becomes too slow for your new super powers. That is the moment you will need to take a hard decision. Will you upgrade your existing shared-hosting to a higher shared-hosting package (say $15 per month), after all your web host provider promises more resources, but now at a higher pricing.
If I can advise you. I would strongly recommend you opt for a VPS hosting if you are a technical person and know the drill.
Else you could simply opt for a managed vps hosting.
At that more or less the same price of $5 per month as your starter shared-hosting package, you can get a higher performance server with better hardware and resources.
Even better, it will not be shared. That is now the time to introduce to you what we call the VPS Hosting option.
What Is VPS Hosting
VPS stands for virtual private server.
Some people also like term it as virtual personal server. Here there are two main things to draw your attention to:
Yes VPS runs and are creating under a virtualised environment using softwares like OpenVZ, Xen or KVM..etc
Don’t worry too much about this if you do not know what it is. I will explain these in a another article.
Implies you have a private space, dedicated fully to you – you do have privacy and flexibility
Let me explain to you in layman’s term.
Consider a condominium (aka condo) which is a type of real estate divided into several units that are each separately owned, surrounded by common areas jointly owned.
In this kind of setup your housing space is completely independent of any other housing space of other people. You have privacy and dedicated things like rooms (all of them), kitchen, wash room, bathroom, dining room, water supply, gas supply, electricity supply..etc. A condo also provides a common entrance to get inside its compound, with one or more dedicated security staff for the whole space.
So at any point in time, if a thief penetrates the condo, he can possibly attack any one house at a time.
But that will not affect (physically) any other house. So any such incident would be isolated.
In that same way, a VPS is a small self-contained server, our unit housing, space which sits on a bigger and highly performing server named as a dedicated server, our condo (We will not go in detail with dedicated servers as it’s out of scope for this article).
The VPS runs its own copy of an operating system (OS), most usual a linux-flavored distro like Ubuntu Server. The VPS is also assigned fully dedicated resources like RAM memory, hard disk space, computing power aka Cores.
Advantages of VPS Hosting (as compared to shared-hosting)
The cost of a VPS server can be as low as $5, almost same as a starter package for a shared-hosting package, but with more glaring advantages than the latter.
Since you have an independent and self-contained server, you are not sharing anything in your “house”.
This is 100% more secure than a shared-hosting approach
- Reliability (think dedicated resources)
Having sure dedicated and stable resources (like RAM, disk and CPU) at your disposal, you can better plan and expect website reliability
Unlike a shared-hosting package, the resources made available by a VPS is fully scalable.
You can increase RAM size or disk space size or CPU very easily.
- Dedicated IP Address(es)
Unlike a shared-hosting package, a VPS offer one free dedicated IP address.
If you need more dedicated IP addresses for each of the website that you will host, this is also made available at an additional minimal cost.
I remind you that one dedicated IP address per site is good for your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy.
- Full control
With a VPS, you get full control of your OS and inner configurations.
Does your website or application needs a specific PHP configuration to be enabled?
Does your website has a pre-requirement to install a specific server module?
Don’t worry! VPS has your back covered – meaning you can get all that installed and configured to your heart’s desire.
Needless to say that you also have complete full root access to your VPS system. This kind of approach is usually not possible with a shared-hosting environment.
- Easy to move your stuffs (think virtual nomad)
In my 10yrs+ experience with web hosting, moving from one web host to another is inevitable.
The reason varies, but more often is either you saw a new opportunity where the cost/resource ratio is better than your previous one or you found a more reliable host.
With a VPS, since you have full access, you can move Gigabytes of data more easily and smoothly via a simple bash command (
rsync), versus the traditional FTP transfer that shared-hosting offer you which would take several hours and energy for transferring these.
Disadvantages of VPS Hosting
- You need to have technical knowledge
With a VPS, you absolutely need to know what you are doing.
Think of it like configuring everything inside a bare house skeleton – where you need to create room separation, build the sink, build the kitchen entirely, build the wash room, the toilet, the wash room, the dining room, heck everything inside the house that will actually make the house look like a house.
So can you afford doing all that?
Are you ready to sacrifice your time and energy to get versed with the INs and OUTs of servers?
Not to mention, getting into the frequent frustrations of when your website fails, your database gets corrupted or you have to re-install everything.
And even if you teach yourself to do that, can you go levels beyond to make your server be in the league of PROs in terms of “optimization” and “security”?
If the answer to the above is NO, but you STILL WANT to have a VPS because shared-hosting is 100% a no-no, then the next type of web-hosting IS FOR YOU!
Managed vps hosting to the rescue.
Managed VPS Hosting
So you are now in a confusing state of mind.
You know you should not choose shared-hosting because you know you deserve better.
But you also does not want to choose VPS hosting because you are not confident enough about taming it, due to the highly technical facets involved.
If you are in that state of mind, let me reassure you that you are now at the right doorstep, you just need to knock at it with a smile.
Yes, I mean it! Read on..
What Is Managed VPS Hosting
In a simple sentence,
Managed VPS Hosting = VPS Hosting + skillful housemaids.
If you are someone who is living a busy lifestyle and cannot afford to clean your house (the one which you rent within a condo we mentioned above), you are most probably exploring the possibilities to employ a maid to “outsource” all your manual house-chores (including all the dirty tasks of cleaning the washroom, bash-room..etc you get it).
After all, why not?
You deserve it.
If you want to succeed in life, if you want to be able to achieve your daily goals to meet your long-term objectives, you cannot afford to lose energy and time with things that you are not supposed to be wasting time with.
You can argue with me that cleaning your house is not a waste of your time because it is your house. But let me get in your face and reiterate that doing your house-chores yourself is one of the most time and energy drainers in your life.
Why should you bother to cook, when your maid can ready up everything for you this evening?
Have a nice home-made meal (made by your amazing maid) and get back to your online activities, get that entrepreneurship going!
So as now this is getting clearer to you, a managed VPS hosting is when you rent a service with someone or a company who/which will completely handle all the server aspects for – from setting up the VPS, configuring your domain name to doing frequent and periodic updates to your server.
You can thus enjoy the power of a VPS without even bothering about how it works or how to set-it-up – enjoy!
Advantages of Managed VPS Hosting
- Black box
You do not need to learn any technical stuffs. You do not need to know how a server works. You do not need to know how to apply updates. You do not need to do anything when or if the server has any issue. You do not need to bother when you need to restore to a previous backup.
You just sit back and relax.
You just let the guy or the company who is providing you that service, to fully manage everything for you – you just give your orders/requirements!
- Attentive support
With a managed vps hosting, you get quality and dedicated support.
Any time you have an issue or a request, just contact the service provider and the job is done.
- Run your blog on steroids
Quality managed VPS hosting providers, do provide high performing servers with top-notch additional features.
It’s really worth your salt.
They also use most of the latest technological stuffs under the hood.
- Security & updates done for you
Whenever there is a major (security) update that needs to be done, you are covered.
Disadvantages of Managed VPS Hosting
- Can be expensive
Unfortunately, the luxury of getting a skillful maid, will cost you additional expense.
But if you know what you are doing, if you are a serious blogger and is making money online, or if you want to be in the leagues of people making money online, then outsourcing your server dirty tasks to an expert, is worth ALL the while.
All the best with your endeavors, may you be successful!
So shared-hosting is similar to a university student sharing his room with one or more colleagues in the university campus apartments.
A VPS is an established person or a confident person who decides to live in an independent, fully own (by him) house unit within a condo.
While a managed VPS hosting is the person living in a condo, and with the intelligent use of his time and energy by leveraging his house-chores to a housemaids.
My advice to you:
- When to use shared-hosting
If you are really starting out without any clue of the web world, or if you are very very tight on budget, start with a shared-hosting – you can confidently use SiteGround as your shared-host, I am fully confident with their quality and service.
- When to use VPS Hosting
If you have the budget and you know what you are doing AND you are also an IT jack of all trade, you should be going with a VPS, that’s it.
- When to use a Managed VPS Hosting
If you have the budget and you are a clever person, I bet you know you should be choosing this path!
All the best!
For what it’s worth, I offer managed wordpress hosting – contact me for more info!
Over To You
Do you have something to add?
Can you improve on what has been said above?
Get in touch with me, detail of contacts below!
I sincerely hope I have been able to show you important points and that it is clearer to you now about the three main important types of web hosting.