WordPress and Boldgrid have changed the entire landscape of web development, allowing a person without any coding knowledge to get a website up and running. Managed WordPress hosting simplifies things further, because your hosting provider actually sets everything up for you. So should you be paying more for that?
Not necessarily. Over the years, hosting prices have plummeted in the wake of immense competition. WordPress and Boldgrid have only accelerated this. So now the web is littered with providers offering prices as low as $3.99 per month for hosting your new website. Some of them even offer free plans.
However, the words ‘free’ and ‘cheap’ represent marketing jargon in most cases. Why would anyone offer anything cheap or for free unless there was some sort of a return? The catch-22 brings some real dangers to the table when you opt for cheap or free hosting. Let us see how…
Types of Hosting
Why would you want to know the different types of hosting if you are going to choose the cheapest one? The more informed you are the better you would choose the appropriate option, cheap or otherwise. In the world of web hosting, there are three types of hosting, each with their pros and cons. They are:
- Shared Hosting
- VPS (Virtual Private Server) Hosting
- Dedicated Server Hosting
Shared hosting plans are the cheapest of the lot, and there is a reason for that. In a shared hosting plan, your website shares hosting space with numerous other websites. On the lowest rung, there is but one server for all the websites of the said hosting provider’s clients. So you share not only storage but also processing power and bandwidth with other websites. This means that your website faces stiff competition for resources.
A VPS is a sort of faux server. It gives the impression of being a separate computer with a set amount of resources such as storage, memory, processing power and bandwidth. However, it also resides on a much larger computer, where other VPS services are hosted. This is possible due to a technology called virtualization. It is similar to shared hosting, but you have less competition for resources because the set amount of resources for your VPS will always remain the same, regardless of how many VPS servers are hosted on the computer.
A dedicated server is a different matter altogether. It is a separate computer in itself, with all its hardware resources and bandwidth allocated to your website only. Naturally, dedicated servers are the costliest option.
Can’t I Choose the Cheapest Shared Hosting?
Sure you can. But you need to be prepared for the problems associated with it. Shared hosting plans are notorious for severe consequences (such as downtime) and poor customer service. If you choose shared hosting, be aware that these are just a few of the problems that your website may face:
- Because many clients are hosted on a single computer, shared hosting servers face tremendous load on a continuous basis. This makes the computer prone to frequent breakdowns.
- Sometimes, the breakdowns are severe and last several days. Your website faces increased downtime as a result.
- In a worst-case scenario, if the hard drives in the computer crash, then all the data associated to your website may be wiped. This is most dangerous if you run an online business that relies solely on your website.
- Sometimes, the website is hosted on old or worn out servers that lack the necessary processing power to handle all the scripts running on your website, so
your website is prone to an outrageous amount of downtime, even if the hosting providers claim 99.99% uptime on their advertising page. If your website relies on traffic, this does not bode well.
In addition, the hosting provider may leave some essential services, such as security and backups, out of your plan and charge you for them separately.
So What Should I do?
Cheap hosting plans have just one advantage—they’re cheap! So you can use a shared hosting plan to test your websites or experiment, assuming you have nothing to lose but a few bucks a month. But if you are serious about your website or have a business that relies on the site, a VPS or a dedicated server is your best bet. Your peace of mind is worth the extra cost.