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Choosing a Web Hosting Plan
When a website owner is selecting a provider of web hosting services, the owner must first select the right web hosting plan. There may seem to be a bewilderingly large number of possible plans, but in reality there are only a few types. The basic types of web hosting plans are shared hosting, dedicated hosting, VPS hosting and reseller hosting. Here is a description of each type of plan.
The most common type of web hosting is shared hosting, also called derive hosting. In shared web hosting, one server hosts a large number of clients' websites. Shared hosting has the advantage of being the least expensive web hosting format. Leading web hosting companies may offer shared hosting plans for as little as $1 per month.
However, shared web hosting has its disadvantages. With a large number of websites hosted on one server, heavy traffic on a few sites can overload the entire server and cause all the sites to become slower. Shared hosting also restricts the client's freedom, basically forcing the client to use whatever configuration the hosting company provides. In the end, shared hosting offers a low price and is probably the best choice for a small website.
Compared to shared hosting, dedicated hosting gives the client a great deal of freedom in hosting configuration by providing an entire server for the client's sole use. The trade-off is that dedicated servers are a very expensive form of web hosting. Dedicated servers can run $200-$300 per month in price, but they are practically necessary for hosting a large website with heavy traffic.
Dedicated hosting plans have two subtypes, managed dedicated hosting and unmanaged dedicated hosting. Managed dedicated servers are still administered by a web hosting company, but the client retains a large amount of freedom in setting up the configuration. The client retains control over advanced options like the hardware configuration or the host operating system. If a client does not have his or her own admin to see to the full-time administration of the server, managed dedicated servers are an excellent choice.
If the client chooses to have an unmanaged dedicated server, the client has sole responsibility for the server administration. Complete freedom in administering the server can become a burden for a client lacking the necessary time and administration skills.
Most good providers of web hosting have both managed and unmanaged dedicated servers. A client can start by choosing one type, use it for a while to see if it fits his or her needs, and then change to the other type if it does not.
Virtual Private Server hosting, or VPS hosting, is an additional form of hosting that is growing in popularity. VPS hosting has the great advantage of offering the reliability and freedom of dedicated servers combined with benefits similar to those of shared web hosting.
Virtualization has enabled the development of VPS hosting. Virtualization makes it possible for many logical servers to be deployed onto a single physical server. Each logical or virtual server is separate, and each client receives his or her own virtual server. VPS hosting plans are less expensive than dedicated hosting plans, yet they give the client a great deal of control over the host configuration. The web hosting provider always manages VPS hosting, which spares the client the burden of administration.
Reseller hosting is a comparatively new form of web hosting. The client pays a flat fee for a reseller hosting plan and can then sell space and bandwidth to additional users. Reseller hosting is a variation on dedicated hosting, because one client has control of the entire server, but also has the option of reselling the web space.
Clients with their own website development or website design studios, as well as clients who work in IT consulting companies, can benefit greatly from reseller hosting plans. They have a built-in customer base to whom they can resell web hosting space. If such a client is in charge of his or her own customers' sites, it is much easier for all the customers' sites to be hosted on a single server under the client's control, rather than with outside web hosting providers.