Please note that everything in this article is based on my research and
What is Shared Hosting?
Shared Hosting is a website hosting service where your website is hosted
on a server which is sharing the CPU, RAM and Bandwidth resources with
many other websites.
On a shared hosting environment, not only your
website is sharing resources with other website owners, but also that
shared hosting server more likely running other services such as DNS
services, email services, database services, etc.., so your website is sharing server
resources with many other small businesses who are running their business
domain email accounts, databases, and domains DNS services on the same server.
There are hosting companies who are offering shared web hosting services
as low as $1 per month, but the average shared web hosting cost is about
$10 per month to $15 per month for business class hosting. More likely the hosting company who offers shared
hosting as low as $1 per month may host hundreds of thousands of websites
and email accounts on one medium performing server.
You may ask, what is the issue with sharing server resources with
thousands of other accounts / users; well, the main issue is that if a
user hogs most of the server's resources, your website's performance will
suffer or may come to a halt. Or if a website on the same server gets
hacked or compromised, this may create security issues, that website is
going to hog server's resources by possibly sending hundreds of thousands
of email spam, and you will be sharing the same IP address as the
Also, remember that Google starts to rank websites based on their
performance, so if your website is running sluggish, Google ranks it lower
and your website visitors will have poor experience browsing your website.
The other big issue with shared hosting services besides having to share
resources is customer service and what happens in the event that your
website is down or the shared hosting server is down. If you're paying a
very low monthly hosting fee, sharing resources with hundreds of thousands
of users, when your website is down, do not expect a quick turn around
time to get your website backup or being able to get a hold of the cheap
hosting customer service.
Does these major issues with shared hosting mean that you should never
sign up with shared hosting? I would say if you have a basic website that
does not need much server resources to run, then a shared hosting service
should be sufficient for your website hosting; however, if I were you, I
would not go for the cheapest hosting service, maybe look for a shared
hosting provider that has the reputation for server reliability, performance
and support and provides business class shared hosting, hopefully
under that type of business class hosting, the hosting company is putting
an effort to keep the number of users on each shared hosting server to a
reasonable limit and hopefully that hosting company has a plan in place to
restore your website within a reasonable timeframe if your website goes
So, here are the pros and cons of shared hosting services:
Shared Hosting Pros:
Shared Hosting Cons:
- Lower Website Performance
- Security Issues
If the website is down or there is an issue, it will take a long waiting
time to get to a customer service or restore your website
What is VPS Hosting
VPS hosting is one level above shared hosting when it comes to monthly
cost and allocation of server resources. The average VPS hosting cost is
about $40-$50 p/month.
With VPS hosting, the VPS hosting company provides and allocates a certain
amount of RAM, CPU and disk space to your account. If you ever sign up
with VPS, you will notice that as you add more RAM, the cost of VPS
hosting goes up substantially. It is important to know that a website,
especially an application may use more RAM than CPU and sometimes cost
of having more RAM may be higher than cost of having additional CPUs.
There are different types of VPS hosting:
- Dedicated VPS Hosting
With dedicated VPS hosting, you will have full access to the portion of your VPS allocation.
- Shared VPS Hosting
Shared VPS hosting is similar to shared hosting, but the number of users
that suppose to share resources with your website or application should be substantially lower.
- Managed VPS Hosting
With Managed VPS Hosting, the VPS hosting company sets up your web server,
database server and provides supports and maintenance which is usually through a server control panel such as cPanel.
Managed VPS Hosting has a higher monthly cost, but if you're not a technical person
and need help with installing and maintaining the server software and your application, managed VPS should be a better option for you.
- Unmanaged VPS Hosting
With Unmanaged VPS Hosting, the VPS hosting company sets up your VPS,
and you take over the job of installing and maintaining your VPS server,
so unless you're a technical guru and know how to install and manage servers, this option would not be a good option for you.
So, if you have a website or an application that needs to have more dedicated RAM
and CPU, and you're looking for the more cost effective option, then a VPS
hosting maybe your best bet.
So, here are the pros and cons of VPS hosting services:
VPS Hosting Pros:
- More Cost Effective Monthly Cost
- Options to having allocation of dedicated RAM, CPU and disk space
VPS Hosting Cons:
Although the performance is better than shared hosting, for a high
traffic site, VPS may not be a good option
Unless you sign up with a hosting company that provides good support and
managed VPS or you have a technical team with specialty and experience
in servers, it will be a headache for you to host your website on an unmanaged VPS environment if you do
not have any technical background.
What is Dedicated Hosting
Dedicated hosting is one level above VPS hosting when it comes to monthly
cost and having access to server resources.
With dedicated hosting, you will have access to the entire server and all
It is important to know that there are two main types of dedicated
- Unmanaged Dedicated Server Hosting - that cost usually starts at around $100 p/month.
- Managed Dedicated Server Hosting - that cost usually starts at around $200 p/month.
It is also important to know that there are many levels of services for
Managed Dedicated Server Hosting, for example:
*Basic Managed Dedicated Hosting: Includes setting Up the server and
*Standard Managed Dedicated Hosting: Includes what comes with the basic
plan plus a control panel plus setting up a backup and provide
restoration in case of disk failure.
*Security-base Managed Dedicated Hosting: Includes: what comes with the
standard plan plus Server Security Services
* Hosting companies offer their own naming schemes or categories or
options for different levels of managed hosting services. The above list
of different managed hosting options is just an example.
What is the main difference between managed vs unmanaged dedicated server
Managed Dedicated Hosting usually includes setting up the server OS and
the other server software such as the web server, database server, etc...
Then on top of setting up the server, the hosting company may provide
backup and restoration service, server security services and other service
options based on higher monthly cost.
Managed Dedicated Hosting has a higher monthly cost, but if you're not a technical person
and if you need help with installing and maintaining the server software and your application,
then managed dedicated server hosting service should be a better option for you.
Unmanaged Dedicated Hosting usually includes setting up the server OS and
you take the responsibility of installing and maintaining the server software and your web
The cost for Unmanaged Dedicated Hosting is usually much lower because you
will be responsible for installing the server software, installing your
web application, and setting up the backups.
If the server goes down, the hosting company restores the server just to
server OS and it's your job to start over installing server software and
restore your web application.
So, unless you're a highly technical person, or you have a technical team
with specialty and experience dealing with servers, then you want to stay
away from unmanaged hosting services.
So, here are the pros and cons of dedicated hosting services:
Dedicated Server Hosting Pros:
You have access to the entire server resources so depending on the
server power (RAM and CPU), your website should have the optimal
There is a Managed Dedicated Server Hosting option that is available and
depending on the managed plan that you sign up, you should receive a
good service and support for maintaining your web application.
Dedicated Server Hosting Cons:
- Higher monthly cost
If you sign up for Unmanaged Dedicated Server Hosting, the monthly cost
will be lower, but you will not receive the support to maintain your web
application on the server so you will need to be highly technical or
have a technical team on your side who has experience in server
What is Cloud Hosting
Cloud Hosting is a hosting environment where the Cloud service provider
can allocate a certain number of CPUs, a certain amount of RAM, disk space
and bandwidth to an account.
Cloud hosting service is similar to VPS hosting as it relates to having
the option of the allocation of certain amount of RAM, disk space and
CPUs, but they are based on different technologies.
The main difference between Cloud and VPS is that Cloud provides an option
to have an exorbitant amount of resource allocation, especially bandwidth
allocation because Cloud technology usually uses the resources of multiple
Also, Cloud service provides the option to purchase Cloud servers and
bandwidth per hour.
One of the main advantage of the Cloud over dedicated server is how
quickly you can deploy (setup) a Cloud instance and how quickly you can
clone your existing instance and copy it to a new bigger instance.
For example, if you setup a Cloud based on 4GB RAM, 2 CPUs and 100 GB disk
space, and you setup your web application on that Cloud setup and you
start running out of RAM, you can quickly create a new Cloud instance for
double the existing server resources and copy your existing image into a
newly setup instance. This process can be done fairly quickly, sometimes
less than 30 minutes.
There are some misconceptions or biased opinions out there about Cloud
services being much more reliable than dedicated server hosting; this is
because some articles are written by Cloud service providers promoting
their Cloud over dedicated server hosting and some articles are written by
someone copying another person's article and opinion. Although usually
Cloud services are running on multiple redundant servers which should make
the technology more reliable, Cloud technology is more complex in nature
and especially when the Cloud service provider focuses too much on
increasing the number of subscriptions and falls behind on maintaining and
keeping the infrastructure up-to-date, there are more risk of major cloud
services outages. Recently there have been a few major Cloud outages due
to glitches in part of the technology or misconfiguration or due to the
Cloud provider not keeping their infrastructure properly monitored and
Another disadvantage of Cloud over dedicated servers is the monthly cost
when a lot of server resources are needed. For example, if your
application uses a lot of RAM, CPUs and Storage, the Cloud services could cost you much more than the dedicated server hosting
For example, if you need 128 GB RAM, *20-30 Core CPU and 1 TB SSD Storage, in most situations, based on today's pricing:
*The reason I included a range of CPUs because there are dedicated server hosting companies that are running promotion offering 30 CPUs for the same cost of 20 CPUs.
- An unmanaged dedicated server hosting which handles both web services and database servers would cost you at around $250 p/month
- A managed dedicated server hosting which handles both web services and database servers would cost you at around $400-$500 p/month
- An Amazon EC2 for web services with 20 CPUs, 64 GB RAM, 1 TB Plus would cost at around: $600 p/month Plus:
** Amazon RDS for MariaDB Database Server: 8 Core CPU & 32 GB RAM: about $1,000 per month
Total cost of Amazon Cloud services would be at around $1,600 per month - important: this cost does not include Amazon support.
Support would cost anywhere from $100+ p/month to $10,000+ per month depending on your usage requirement and how fast of the response time you would need.
** You could just use Amazon EC2 for web services and MariaDB database services; however, Amazon is promoting RDS by saying: "Amazon RDS is easier to set up, manage, and maintain than running Oracle Database on Amazon EC2".
If you were to use Amazon EC2 for web services and database server, your monthly cost will be about $670 p/month.
One other disadvantage of Cloud hosting services that I have noticed is that some
of the large Cloud service providers have exorbitant number of users, for example, Amazon AWS has over one million users, so not only you will be one in a million user,
supporting so many users using senior level staff may not be feasible,
so realistically, it will not be possible for those Cloud hosting companies to have that many senior level support staff to support that many clients,
so if you run into any issues with you application, unless you sign up with an enterprise support, which the starting cost is at around $10,000+ plus per month,
you may not be able to receive a quality support when you have a critical server or application issue.
So, here are the pros and cons of Cloud hosting services:
Cloud Hosting Pros:
You can quickly deploy (setup) a Cloud instance and if you run out of disk space, CPU, or RAM resources, it is very easy to clone your existing cloud instance (create an image) and copy it to the new upgraded instance.
Cloud servers tend to be more reliable; however, there have been many outages related to Cloud infrastructure and setup, so although your instance may be running on a more reliable server setup, you could experience outages due to infrastructure and system issues.
Cloud Hosting Cons:
- Higher monthly cost
- Usually, the support for Cloud services requires add-on cost which can be very expensive, and unless you pay for enterprise Support Plan, you may receive substandard support.
- Cloud services tend to be more complex when it comes to setting up and maintaining the cloud and application,
and because most large cloud service providers do not offer support and server software management without you paying for an expensive Support Plan,
you will need to make sure to have an experienced cloud IT person on staff to help you with the setup and maintenance of the cloud and your application.
Which in either case, the monthly cost for the support of serving your application can become very costly.
- I believe having a reliable and quality support is very important for any application hosting project,
so if you are looking for a hosting provider, pick a hosting company that provides reliable and quality support.
Based on my experience, some of the companies who are specialized in managed dedicated hosting tend to provide quality reliable support as part of their managed dedicated hosting services.
- Stay proactive in making sure your server's OS, web server, database server, and your web application stays up-to-date, especially when it comes to security.
- Sign up for a monitoring service to monitor your server and application's uptime.
Monitoring service software should run on your server and monitor your server and your application for any issues such as the status of your server's CPU, RAM, disk space and bandwidth usage and notify you when your server's resource usage reaches a certain limit.
- Have a backup and disaster recovery plan in case your server goes down due to server hardware issue,
or if your server becomes compromised or if there is a natural disaster, fire or any other major situation.
So, try to continuously backup your application and database and store it in an off-site or off-site out of state location just incase there is a major natural disaster in your state.
- Know that Search Engines rank sites based on many factors such as how often you update your website, and your website's performance,
so if you host your website on a sluggish server, your website ranking will suffer.
- Stay away from cheap web hosting companies that their main focus is to get
thousands and thousands of accounts on one server which causes your site to run sluggish or have outages due to a few users hogging all of the shared hosting server's resources.
If your monthly budget can only pays for a shared hosting service, then pick a hosting company that has a better reputation for server reliability, performance and support.