Web Hosting

Shared Hosting

Pros

• The cheapest of all paid web hosting options, especially considering the high availability of coupon codes for additional savings.

• Does not require any maintenance of the server operating system, the web, ftp and mail servers, dynamic language interpreters (php, python, etc), databases and basically any of the essential server-side software.

• Does not require maintenance of the network, including uptime monitoring, load balancing, basic DDoS protection and general security.

• Does not require maintenance of the server hardware.

Cons

• Very limited CPU and RAM. You are sharing the same hardware with a number (usually a big number) of other users, each allowed to use a portion of the shared hardware resources.

• Inability to install and use own server-side applications, such as own web, ftp or mail server daemons.

• Due to the shared nature of the access to CPU and RAM between users - the performance of your site might be affected by other clients.

• Due to the shared nature of the access to hard drives - there is a possibility to face security issues, even though such possibility is very low on modern web hosting setups.

Virtual Private Server Hosting

Pros

• The cheapest of all web hosting options that allow full root access and provide an option to install and use any own server-side application of your choice.

• While the hardware resources are still shared between users, typically there are way fewer clients sharing the same server, allowing much greater CPU and RAM usage.

• Does not require maintenance of the network, including uptime monitoring, very basic DDoS protection and general network security.

• Does not require maintenance of the server hardware.

Cons

• Requires maintenance of everything software-related. Basically, you are being provided with just hardware, and installing and maintains everything else - the operating system, the web, ftp and mail servers, database and other applications is up to you.

• Hardware resources are still shared - even though in a different way (virtualized, or in other words - isolated from each other) - the available CPU and RAM might not be enough for your needs in some cases.

• In some very rare cases certain server-side applications might have issues running in a virtualized environment.

Dedicated Hosting

Pros

• You do not share the server resources or access with anyone. The web hosting provider issues and maintains a hardware box, and you are the only one with access to it. This means the maximum possible CPU and RAM of all "physical" web hosting options.

• Does not require maintenance of the network, including uptime monitoring, very basic DDoS protection and general network security.

• Does not require maintenance of the server hardware.

Cons

• Requires maintenance of everything software-related. Basically, you are being provided with just hardware, and installing and maintaining everything else - the operating system, the web, ftp and mail servers, database and other applications is up to you.

• The overall cost of rental might exceed the cost of buying the hardware.

• Hardware options are typically limited, you usually have options to add extra RAM and disk space, but your choice is rather limited in comparison to assembling a server yourself.

Colocation Hosting

Pros

• All of the pros of the Dedicated web hosting, plus an option to fully customize your server hardware. The web hosting provider only offers the physical space and network connection for your server.

• In some cases, and over time - can be more cost-effective than the Dedicated web hostiing option.

Cons

• All of the cons of the Dedicated web hosting, plus a need for physical maintenance of the server. Some web hosting providers do offer hardware maintenance services, but these might not be cost-effective in some cases.

• The largest up-front cost of all "physical" server options.

Cloud Hosting

Pros

• Relatively low up-front costs comparing to the Dedicated and especially Colocation web hosting options.

• Scalability - typically you pay only for the resources you need and are able to scale up or down fast, depending on your current needs.

• Typically is more reliable - due to the nature of Cloud web hosting - servers are physically located in different data centers.

• Very fast initial deployment.

Cons

• Typically the root access option is either limited or absent. This very much depends on the exact type the particular Cloud web hosting service, as lately it became more of an umbrella term for a number of services that are rather different in their nature.

• Higher disk latency, which in some cases might overweight the pros of the Cloud web hosting versus the Dedicated or Colocation alternatives.

• Higher security risks - due to the shared nature of user data storage.