What Kind of Hosting Do I Need for My Website?

For first-time website owners, figuring out which type of web hosting is right for you can be one of the most challenging parts of getting started. It can be hard to know the differences between each variety and how their features will impact your site.

Fortunately, once you break down the different kinds of web hosting, it should become clear pretty quickly which one your site needs. You can then find a top-notch provider and get your site up and running quickly.

In this post, we’ll discuss what web hosting is and then break down the main types of web hosting that are available for website owners:

  1. Shared Hosting
  2. Dedicated Hosting
  3. VPS Hosting
  4. Managed WordPress Hosting
  5. Other Hosting Options for Specific Purposes

We’ll also provide some advice on how to choose the best web hosting company for your site. Let’s jump right in!

What Is Web Hosting?

Every website is stored on a server. Your site’s server is what makes it available to users on the web, and what delivers your content to them. In turn, web hosting is simply the service of storing a website — or ‘hosting’ it — on a server.

Your ‘web host’ or ‘hosting provider’ is the company that owns and maintains the server that hosts your site. These companies often provide helpful resources, support, and other services such as domain registration and custom email addresses as well.

Typically, a provider will offer a variety of plans (sometimes called hosting packages) you can choose from. These plans may encompass different types of hosting, which will often determine the price and additional features available for each one.

Selecting the right web hosting services for your site is an important process. Your server impacts your site’s security, availability, and performance. This means that choosing the wrong plan or web host could affect your site’s ability to expand and build a user base.

Similarly, your hosting company plays a crucial role in keeping your site safe and making sure it stays up and running. If your host offers poor customer support or doesn’t maintain its servers well, your website will likely suffer for it.

What Types of Web Hosting Can I Choose From?

When we speak about different types of web hosting, we’re generally referring to how a hosting provider uses the storage space on a specific server. Below, we’ll explain the most common ways websites are stored, as well as a few specialized types of hosting for sites with particular features.

1. Shared Hosting for New and Small Websites

Shared hosting is exactly what it sounds like — your website shares a server with other users. The most significant advantage of this type of hosting is that it’s the least expensive option since it provides the fewest resources and the least amount of storage space.

DreamHost Shared Hosting

Your web hosting provider will manage the server for you on a shared plan, so you don’t have to worry about any of the technical aspects of hosting your site. If you’re not very experienced with managing a website yet, not having to worry about your server is helpful.

Unfortunately, sharing a server also means that the other websites stored on it could affect your site. For instance, your site will be more vulnerable to malware attacks. It could even crash if another site experiences a traffic spike that overloads your shared server.

Plus, if other sites on your server are blacklisted for spam or similar activities, your website can also be penalized. However, all of this doesn’t mean that shared hosting is a bad option in all scenarios. It’s a popular solution for new sites that are just starting out, or for very small websites.

With that in mind, if you’re brand new to owning your own website, we’d say that a shared hosting account is the right way to go. You can then work on building your site without having to invest a lot of money upfront. Our Starter Shared Hosting plan costs just $2.59 per month.

Shared Hosting That Powers Your Purpose

We make sure your website is fast, secure and always up so your visitors trust you. Plans start at $2.59/mo.

2. Dedicated Hosting for High-Traffic Professional Sites

Dedicated hosting is the exact opposite of shared hosting. With this type of plan, you’ll have an entire server reserved just for your website. You won’t have to worry about other websites impacting your performance, security, or disk space.

DreamHost Dedicated Hosting

Of course, good things come at a price. Dedicated hosting plans tend to be expensive, with some running up to hundreds of dollars per month. If you have a small website that isn’t going to use a dedicated server’s resources to the fullest extent, this could be overkill.

Also, dedicated hosting plans often require you to manage your server yourself. Therefore, it’s best to hold off investing in a dedicated hosting plan until your site has grown enough to warrant having its own server, and you’re comfortable maintaining it. High-traffic, professional websites will benefit most from this hosting.

At DreamHost, we provide dedicated hosting with enough space to handle any size website. Our plans start at just $169 per month and are managed, so you don’t have to worry about maintenance.

Get DreamHost’s Most Powerful Hosting

Our dedicated hosting plans are the ideal solution for high-traffic sites that require fast speeds and consistent uptime.

3. Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting for Websites That Are Growing

If you’re concerned about the drawbacks of shared hosting, but you don’t need an entire web server to yourself, a Virtual Private Server (VPS) solution provides a nice middle ground. While you’ll still share your server with other websites, each site has an allotted and virtually-partitioned amount of space.

This prevents one or a few sites from eating up the shared server’s resources. It can also keep a single user from overloading your server or hurting your site’s performance. However, because it’s still a shared server, plans run much cheaper than dedicated hosting.

DreamHost VPS Hosting

If you’ve had your site up and running for a while and have started to build a dedicated audience, upgrading from shared to VPS hosting can help your server keep up with your users’ needs. However, you’ll also be able to keep costs down.

Starting at $10 per month, our VPS hosting plans can handle unlimited amounts of traffic. You can easily upgrade whenever you need more storage, and we’ll manage security and performance for you.

We Know You’ve Got Lots of VPS Options

Here’s are a few ways DreamHost’s VPS offering stands apart: 24/7 customer support, an intuitive panel, scalable RAM, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited hosting domains, and SSD storage.

4. Managed WordPress Hosting for Simplified Maintenance

If you’re a WordPress user, you not only have to worry about whether your server is secure and up-to-date. You also have to manage your site’s security and perform WordPress core updates. A managed WordPress hosting plan can make all of those tasks easier.

DreamHost Managed WordPress Hosting

Due to the platform’s popularity, some hosting providers have created special plans just for WordPress users. In addition to storing your site on a server, they offer other services such as WordPress updates, additional security, and automated backups. Some even install WordPress for you.


Related: The 2019 Guide to Managed WordPress Hosting

These managed plans can be available for shared, dedicated, or VPS servers. For this reason, managed hosting plans vary widely when it comes to pricing. Here at DreamHost, for example, we offer managed WordPress hosting on a cloud instance, which is much more powerful than shared. With three different managed WordPress plans to choose from, DreamHost offers robust hosting solutions for every WordPress site.

Power Your Site with Managed WordPress Hosting

Hassle-free, high-performance WordPress hosting can help you grow your business. Plans start at $16.95/mo.

5. Other Hosting Services for Specific Purposes

In addition to these more popular types of hosting, there are a few specialized hosting services that could be relevant to your site. Cloud hosting, for example, is becoming more and more popular. It involves storing your website on many servers, which all function together as a single server.

This arrangement means that it’s very easy to scale your website as it grows. What’s more, you typically only pay for the amount of server space you use, rather than pre-paying for space you may not fill.

The drawbacks are few, although cloud hosting can be expensive and is sometimes less secure than traditional hosting. Still, it may be worth looking into if you have a highly reputable provider and a website that is likely to grow very quickly.

You can also find hosting plans specifically your e-commerce site. For example, our WooCommerce plans come with WordPress and WooCommerce pre-installed. We also offer WooCommerce-specific support, so you can get an e-commerce website up and running quickly.

DreamHost WooCommerce Hosting

E-commerce hosting plans, including ours, are typically configured for optimal security and uptime to make sure your online store is available and safe for your customers. They’re similar to managed WordPress plans but focus on additional features that appeal to online retailers.

Your Store Deserves WooCommerce Hosting

Sell anything, anywhere, anytime on the world’s biggest eCommerce platform.

How Do I Choose the Right Type of Hosting for My Site?

Even when you know what all the options are, choosing the right hosting plan isn’t always that straightforward. Generally speaking, when selecting a web hosting plan and provider, there are five things you’ll need to consider.

The first is the features available on each plan you’re considering. This includes hosting services such as the amount of storage and traffic levels your server can handle, as well as additional features like those available with a managed WordPress or e-commerce plan.

Customer support is another critical aspect to think about. Your relationship with your hosting provider will likely be a long one. You’ll want a host who’s available to help you fix server-related errors on your site, as well as provide specific help with your server, website, or WordPress installation.

DreamHost Support

Additionally, you should look into your potential host’s server performance. Being able to serve your site’s content quickly is critical to maintaining a successful website. You can run performance tests or look for others’ test results, and note if the provider offers performance-related features such as caching and Content Delivery Network (CDN) access.

Ease of use will also likely factor into your decision. A hosting company with an easy-to-use control panel will help you manage your hosting account and website more easily. Plus, plans that make WordPress installation simple or handle it for you can save some time when it comes to getting your site running.

Finally, you’ll need to think about price. The rest of these considerations don’t matter if you can’t afford a particular option. Starting with a shared plan and upgrading down the line can help to keep your budget in check. It’s also wise to shop around and see which hosts offer the best price for a similar feature set.

The Right Web Hosting Company for Your Site

Hosting is one of the more complex aspects of creating a new website. However, learning about the different types that are available can help you make an informed decision. In this post, we examined five types of hosting that website owners can consider:

  1. Shared hosting for new and small websites.
  2. Dedicated hosting for high-traffic professional sites.
  3. VPS hosting for websites that are growing.
  4. Managed WordPress hosting for simplified maintenance.
  5. Other hosting options for specific purposes (such as cloud or e-commerce hosting).

Are you interested in reliable hosting for your website? DreamHost plans are an affordable solution and include performance and security management features. Check out our hosting packages today. We have a feeling DreamHost could be the right hosting company for you!

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