Sometimes, web hosting can get very confusing for someone new to hosting. So let’s clear up some of that confusion.
This is probably what you’re going to want to start out with, if you’re new to operating Linux systems or don’t know anything about Linux. Most web servers run some form of linux, mainly because windows is rather unstable and more vulnerable to attacks.
So with shared hosting, all you need to do is learn how to use cPanel and the basics of linking a domain and setting up wordpress or some other PHP based software for your site. Either that or just upload your HTML pages with an easy to use software.
Shared hosting is for when you want to get your feet wet with the world of hosting, and generally HostGator is where people start.
I’m very much a fan of VPS hosting because I can get a VPS for almost the same cost as shared in some instances, and have full control of my server. This of course isn’t for everyone and low traffic sites are probably better off sticking to shared hosting for awhile. Once you start running bigger numbers or consuming a lot of bandwidth, a VPS is going to be necessary for you.
There’s two types you can choose from:
Someone else is going to setup all the programs you need to run the website and also install a control panel for you. This will give you a similar experience to your shared hosting plan but you’ll probably have more bandwidth available and you can run whatever programs you want on it.
I usually go with this just because it really doesn’t take me long to setup a server and maintenance really isn’t that bad, but you’re in total control and you need to be there to fix issues if your server goes down, along with setting all the applications and control panel up. (if you want one.) This is for more experienced users or if you want a bit of a hobby for awhile because it does take awhile to figure everything out. I did it for fun awhile back so I’m familiar with everything on hosts and I also familiarized myself with Linux far more than I ever had in the past within a short time period.
This is only necessary if your site is gigantic or you’re doing huge ad campaigns of some sort. Generally a VPS can handle pretty large sites or several sites without a problem, of course it does depend on what kind of site it is. If it’s a high traffic site that’s getting a lot of “downloaders” like image sharing, you need dedicated.
This all depends because the VPS options are getting to be more and more powerful and they’re always scalable – generally I prefer the VPS only route – but I’m not running anything huge.
You can purchase a spot at a datacenter, build a computer and ship it off to the datacenter. This is called colocation – you own the hardware and just pay for bandwidth and the space your computer takes up in the datacenter.
You can also have managed or unmanaged in this instance, but if you have unmanaged you better be close to the colo facility.
Well, that about covers it, and now you should understand why the hosting space is so competitive. Pretty much anyone can start up a hosting company, and for now at least it seems like the ones with the most exposure or advertisements are winning the battle.