let’s talk hosting (part 2)

Which type of hosting do you need?

  • Shared Hosting
  • Virtual Private Server
  • Dedicated Server
  • Managed Dedicated Server

I’m Guru Khalsa, one of YCB’s contract programmers. This is a follow-up to my post about what to look for in a hosting provider.

There are several different types of hosting, and the main distinction between them is price. Shared hosting costs less than a VPS which costs less than a dedicated server. Usually the price goes up by a factor of four at each level.

Understanding which one you need is the first step towards choosing the right host. Let’s take a look.

Shared Hosting

For shared hosting, many websites are all put on the same physical server. The hosting provider will have some system set up that manages who owns which domains, and will allow you to control your site through a control panel. Since there are restrictions to how many system resources you can use, you’ll have to be careful. A shared host can, depending on the site, usually handle up to 10,000 pageviews per day or more without any sweat if you are running WordPress. It won’t necessarily be the fastest of solutions, but if you choose a good host, there is no reason to get anything else, if you get less than that sort of traffic. Things to look for in a shared host: cPanel, bandwidth of around 100GB/ month, and good support. Shared hosts can handle many websites, but at a certain point you may want to consider upgrading so you have more control over your sites.

Personally, I can recommend UberHost, WebFaction, and DynaDot as a standard web host. I would stay away from bigger companies like 1and1 or GoDaddy (speaking from experience). WebFaction is very developer friendly, and DynaDot is also a great place to buy and hold your domains.

Virtual Private Server

A VPS is exactly the same as a dedicated server, except there are multiple servers on the same physical machine. This option should really only be considered by people who are comfortable with taking on a more technical role, or know someone who is. A VPS gives you the keys to the kingdom, and it’s a powerful kingdom. You have complete control of everything that your system does, so it’s great for hosting multiple websites. I recommend looking for something with the cPanel/WHM control panel. Stay away from Plesk. I don’t have any specific VPS recommendations, but I encourage you to stay away from the big hosts, like 1and1 or GoDaddy. Lesser known hosts are more likely to have better support.

If you are a developer, looking to dramatically improve your linux skills, I would encourage you to look into linode or SliceHost, since they provide a lot of really cool tools for developers.

Dedicated Server

This is it- your very own server. It’s amazing and powerful and gives you more control than you know what to do with. All of the same advice that I gave about a VPS apply to this, except you don’t need to worry about anyone else eating up system resources, or you using up too many yourself. If you use too many, you will know. I can recommend UberHost, but I encourage you to shop around to find something that suits your needs. You want great support, plenty of bandwidth, storage space, and cPanel / WHM. Also, at least 2GB of RAM. And you want to be able to get a response from them within 15 minutes, whether it be by phone or instant messenger. I would again advise against the large web hosts. A dedicated server requires that you know what you’re doing (just like a VPS), so make sure that you’re ready for it.

Overall, the choice of where to host your site is fairly simple. If it is only one or two WordPress sites, you will almost always want to host it on some form of shared hosting. Nowadays, you can find shared hosting that’s run on the cloud (like WebFaction), so if you need to grow it’s really easy, and you leave all of the server management to them, while being able to handle huge numbers of visitors.

Here’s a list of shared hosts we recommend:

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