What Is Web Hosting, and How Do You Choose the Right Provider?

Published: April 29, 2021

Mark Sandall


In simple terms, the meaning of web hosting is a service that enables you to publish a website online. But, just like with most things related to technology, it gets complicated fast

This guide will hopefully help you wade through the many options and providers when it comes to hosting a website so that you can make the best choice for your unique goals. 

Different Types of Web Hosting

It’s fair to think of a website as a program or app that runs on a computer or device. However, it’s a little different. Ultimately, every website runs on hardware–usually in a data center somewhere in the world.

layout of the different types of web hosting in a chart
Image source: mageplaza

Here’s a brief web hosting comparison to help you better understand the pros and cons of each option: 

Shared Hosting $ 

It’s cheap web hosting and easy to use–but sometimes slow. Your site sits alongside potentially hundreds of others on a physical server (i.e., computer). There’s potential here for the other sites to eat up resources, slowing your site down. 

Dedicated Servers $$ – $$$ 

They’re similar to shared servers, except you essentially rent the entire server–eliminating the risk of other sites slowing yours down. Generally, you’ll install all the website management software yourself through a command line, so just be aware that it’s not the most beginner-friendly option. 

VPS $ – $$$ 

VPS stands for a virtual private server. It’s similar to a dedicated server, but there’s an extra degree of separation between what you use and the physical hardware. The VPS option is popular because hosts generally do a better job of handling hardware failures than they do with dedicated servers. 

Cloud/Managed $$ – $$$ 

Your site basically runs on an ever-changing number of servers. This is very intensive to manage, but thankfully, it’s all done by your website host. There are several advantages if it’s done right in terms of performance and reliability. Most of the time, it’s tailored for one platform (e.g., WordPress).

Which web hosting option is right for you?

The right web hosting option depends on your site and individual goals. Although, it’s fair to say that most people should choose something other than a dedicated server since a VPS will do the same thing more effectively in almost every case. 

Similarly, shared hosting is only an option that I’d consider when I don’t care about performance in the slightest, which never happens. 

This leaves us with a decision between a VPS and some form of cloud or managed hosting. Both are great options for undertaking website development on projects of all sizes, and these form the overwhelming majority of what we offer here at BrandCraft.  

Both a VPS and cloud hosting can be complicated, but a VPS is definitely more so. In most cases, you’ll work directly with your server’s operating system, which can be complicated for the average user. 

Our Recommendation: The Cloud

web hosting option stemming from the cloud in a graphic
Image source: DHN

This leaves cloud hosting, which takes many forms. On one end, you have options like Amazon’s AWS. It’s just as complex to manage as a VPS, but it’s very powerful. On the other end, there are customer-focused site builders, such as Squarespace, Shopify, and Wix. 

There are multiple offerings, and as the name suggests, cloud computing isn’t well defined. What it is though is where things have been headed for some time now–and for good reason. 

At its best, cloud computing offers scalability, reliability, performance, and usability to the extent we’ve never seen before. It’s also totally seamless.  

Wrapping Things Up 

So, how do you choose the right web host? Well, we’ve narrowed it down to picking a provider that runs on cloud computing, which really doesn’t narrow things down much. 

That’s the reality of the current marketplace, though. There are far more solutions out there because websites do far more than they used to do.  

This begs the question: is your website doing as much as it could be? 

Choosing the right web host is vital, but there are also other important questions, such as: 

  • Can people buy your product or book your services online? 
  • If you have an online marketing strategy, where does your website fit into it?  
  • Are all your marketing strategy’s components working together toward the same goal? 
  • How fast would you like to grow online? 

Thankfully, it’s possible to answer these hard questions using the same data and speed as the technology that drives them. Just don’t ignore them (because your competition isn’t). Find a person or team who you trust, and commit to the process.

If you’re ready to start but don’t know how drop BrandCraft a line today. We’ll tell you all about what we’ve done for customers just like you. We’ll even make recommendations on the best web hosting service to suit your needs.

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