Website hosting is nothing overly technical at its core. All websites are “hosted” on special computers called servers. Your website is simply an app or piece of software that runs on a computer very similar to the computer you have at home. These computers are called servers because they “serve” your website to the internet. Servers do run specialized software to help run your website but other than that they are simply specialized computers built for websites.

Where you choose to host your website is important because, just like computers, all servers are not created equal. If you buy a $300 tablet running Windows or MAC OS, there will be limitations as to how much data that tablet can store and how fast it can run computer programs. If you buy a $3,000 computer, you can still run Windows or MAC OS, but you can run it much faster and put resource-heavy applications (like video games or video editing software) on that computer with no issues. If you try to run resource-heavy applications on your $300 tablet, you’ll run into speed issues and even potentially crash the application.

Your website is no different. A cheap hosting server is a lot like that $300 tablet:  when you run your website on a cheap hosting server you lose out on processing power and storage which means your visitors may experience lag, slow load times, and may even experience website crashes if your hosting server is using cheaper, outdated hardware and software.

Shared Hosting

Shared Hosting Blows Up Servers

In addition to the quality of your hosting server’s hardware, you also have to consider whether your server is shared with other websites and how many.

Just like a computer can run multiple applications, a hosting server can run multiple websites, which means every website on that server is fighting for the same CPU processing power.

If even one of the sites on a shared server gets a sudden spike in website traffic, it can slow down the performance of all the websites on the server.

Sharing a server with other websites is a great way to save money, but you have to weigh the risk of slow performance over the value of saving a few bucks a month. You can get shared hosting for as little as $5 a month. If shared hosting is a good fit for you, check out Inmotion Hosting’s shared hosting. We’ve had really good luck with them and trust that they use high-quality server hardware on their shared hosting accounts.

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Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated Servers Run Smooth
You get the entire server just for your own websites when you get an entire dedicated server.

Dedicated hosting is when you have the power and resources of an entire server to yourself. You don’t share the CPU processing power or storage with anyone else. This is obviously a much better option for your visitors because you know exactly what processing power you are providing to them as they surf your site, and you don’t have to worry about other websites bogging down the performance of your server.

Dedicated servers are very expensive, costing between $105-400 per month depending on how much processing power and storage you need. For most small businesses, the speed and storage offered by a dedicated hosting server would be excessive. Inmotion Hosting offers to host on Dedicated Servers and we recommend them but read about cloud hosting before you go down this road.

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VPS Hosting

Websites on a VPS share a server but do not share the processing power.

VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. VPS servers are dedicated hosting servers that have been partitioned into several virtual servers. A virtual server gets its own dedicated CPU and storage resources. A VPS mimics a dedicated server in a shared hosting environment, meaning it works just like a dedicated server and a shared server combined.

VPS hosting offers the dedicated resources of a dedicated hosting server with the price value of a shared server. Monthly hosting for a VPS runs anywhere from $25-$120 a month, making it a great value compared to the price of Dedicated Hosting. Inmotion Hosting is our top pick for this as well.

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Cloud Hosting

Cloud Hosting
Cloud hosting uses huge server farms which can allocate dedicated CPU and Storage directly to your website and scale the resources up and down as needed on demand.

Cloud hosting runs on large server farms like Amazon AWS, Google Cloud, or Vultur. These companies create mega servers and then parcel out storage and processing power on demand.

Cloud hosting is very similar to VPS hosting, but from a technical standpoint, cloud hosting offers far more flexibility.

Cloud servers offer very advanced options for website hosting with services that can be scaled up or down on demand. For example, if your organization is promoting a huge event for one month and you are expecting a lot of new website traffic, you can scale your server up in processing speed and storage for that month and then scale it back down afterwards. We have found that cloud hosting with Cloudways also speeds up our website load times by 3x! Pricing for cloud hosting starts at $20 a month and can scale up unlimitedly from there. You can check out Cloudways hosting here or host on our Cloudways server for $35 a month.

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How to Choose?

Shared hosting is perfectly fine for small websites and small local companies that won’t see a lot of traffic on a daily basis. So long as you choose a reputable hosting company, your website should always run fast enough to satisfy your visitors.

If you want a fast-loading website for SEO or expect a large volume of traffic, then a Dedicated, VPS, or Cloud-Hosted server will be your best option. The price difference between shared hosting and a Cloud Hosted account is pretty minuscule when you consider shared server’s technical limitations and risks could cost you sales and valuable leads. At Jonroc we like to think of your website as a digital sales and customer service representative. Think about what’s best for your website visitor’s experience, and the right choice for a hosting company becomes clear.