Web hosting was once a way to publish websites on the internet. However, as broadband speeds have increased and technologies evolved, businesses are increasingly using web hosting for tasks they’d previously have carried out using in-house IT equipment.

Choosing the right web host for your business can be hard; there are hundreds of suppliers to pick from, with each one offering a wide array of hosting packages.

The best place to start is by deciding what type of web hosting you need. Here’s a summary of the main options:

Shared hosting 

This is entry-level web hosting. It is perfect for hosting small websites or blogs. It allows multiple websites to use a single server. You won’t know who or which websites you’re sharing the server with. Each customer will have a limit on the total amount of server resources they can use, defined by your hosting package. Shared hosting is the cheapest and most cost-effective option for your needs. However, it can come with limitations.

Cloud hosting 

This is a versatile form of web hosting which is becoming more popular. The main reason being is that it scales up and down automatically to meet your needs. You only pay for what you use. Cloud hosting provides hosting on virtual servers which pull their computing resource from extensive underlying networks of physical web servers. Pricing has considerably come down over last 4-5years, as people have learned the advantages of cloud hosting. This is why the mid-size organizations have made the move to the cloud.

Virtual server hosting (VPS)

This is mid-price range hosting. It gives you much more flexibility and power than shared web hosting. It is good for sites and web applications that are growing. VPS is best for people that have very high traffic to their websites or need to set up their server in a very specific way. VPS hosting gives you the affordability of shared hosting while at the same time giving you more power and control like a dedicated server.

Dedicated hosting 

This is a very powerful type of business web hosting. It’s mainly used for busy, high-traffic websites or to run business applications. You can also use dedicated hosting to replace a server on your company premises.

Dedicated hosting is when a server is devoted to a single organisation or for a single purpose, like a website. This is in contrast to shared hosting, in where a server acts as a host to multiple clients. These are ideal for large organisations or websites with much higher traffic. The clients get full control of the server which allows them to configure it to meet their own needs.

Managed hosting services 

This refers to a type of web hosting where your hosting supplier looks after your system. They carry out updates and maintenance to keep things running and provides consultation on the best setups for your requirements. Managed hosting should reduce the amount of time you spend maintaining your hosting. Managed hosting is usually an extension of dedicated hosting, whereby the required hardware is owned by the hosting provider and is leased to a single client.

Some companies prefer to lease data centre space and hardware from a provider, then manage it themselves. This practice is referred to as hosting or unmanaged hosting. As technology continues its rapid innovation, more organisations are finding that outsourcing day-to-day infrastructure and hardware vendor management to an MSP is better to their business than managing it themselves.