So you are putting up your website and you have a choice of various hosting types all different prices. There is dirt cheap hosting, premium hosting and vps – it all sounds the same so what’s the difference (other than the price)?
This is a question I get a lot from clients, so I thought I’d write up a comparison.
Firstly, what you need to understand is that (like many things in life) you get what you pay for. It is based on service level. Think of it like accommodation, from your 1 star hostel, up to 5 star resorts and everything in between.
1. Shared hosting – Like a backpackers hostel with dorm rooms that you share with strangers.
This is typically the type of hosting you get from dirt cheap domain providers (think Godaddy and Crazy Domains). Your website is sitting on a server with thousands of other sites. There is no management of what actually goes on there and whether it is safe. The space is typically oversold so occasionally the servers can go down or cause interruptions to your website.
2. Premium Hosting – Your 3 – 4 star basic comfortable hotel (with everything you need and nice and quiet)
Premium hosting means that your site is still sharing with other sites, but there is a limited number of websites on the server and therefore the space is managed well. There is typically a higher support level available which is handy if you need help. When looking for a hosting company, the level of support you receive is critical in times where you need help fast with an issue on your site.
3. VPS (private server hosting) – This is like your 4 or 5 star self-contained accomodation (like your apartment or house rental).
You have the whole thing to yourself, but there is no room service or daily cleaning (to keep with the accommodation example). In reality it means that the server is not managed so you need to know what you are doing. Its a good option if you are technical and want more than what the shared hosting types supply.
4. Managed Server – This is like the penthouse suite at a 5 star hotel – exclusive to you.
Most websites don’t need this level of hosting, only if you are running a very large website for a very large business where you need to keep everything separate and you need the support of a company. We have a managed server with Anchor in Sydney who give us premium support – this is exclusively used for my Secret Weapon Software clients who are running software systems that need a special environment. Most other websites don’t need this special environment.
5. Specialised WordPress Hosting – This is like your cruise ship where everything is done for you, you get all meals, activities and all services included.
We provide specialised wordpress hosting which includes wordpress software management. All my clients get offered this at the start of building their website. My hosting team are wordpress specialists and know how to make sure the websites are running optimally. You don’t get that with any of the types of hosting above as they are for all software types and hosts generally are not experts in any particular type of software as their customers can run anything on there.
So which hosting should you choose when budget is an issue as it typically is for most small businesses?
Well think of it this way, how much can you afford to lose if something happens to your website? If you are paying for the cheapest hosting and your site gets hacked or their server crashes, can you afford the time and expense it takes to rebuild the site or wait for the host to restore the site (hopefully they keep backups).
With a managed solution which is typically only a bit more than the dirt cheap hosting (and less than your monthly phone bill) it is worth the extra expense for even a small business for the peace of mind provided. Knowing that your site is regularly updated, maintained and backed up off site is worth the tiny additional expense.
For more information on our managed wordpress hosting service, just contact us as we can move your site over to our service for free.