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Shared Web Hosting, Dedicated Servers and Virtual Private Servers

Many times those that are relatively new to web hosting terminology stumble into some confusion in their quest for a good web hosting plan. One of the major sources of this confusion may simply come down to what is what where web hosting plans are concerned.

In this article I will talk about three different types of web hosting and their differences. These types are shared web hosting, dedicated server hosting and virtual private server. They mostly vary wildly in price and altogether fill different needs as far as hosting plans are concerned.

Shared web hosting is a term used to refer to when a hosting company puts websites from many different users on one server. Every user is usually given some limit to the amount of resources their site is able to consume. When several sites on the same server get busy or a script on one site consumes extra resources the server can bog down, slowing your site.

Most shared hosting plans are very cost effective and if you get a good hosting company you may be able to avoid having your site bogged down by having too many users on one server. Many shared plans can be had for under $10 a month and come packed with features and possibly even free domain registrations.

Dedicated server hosting is the most expensive web hosting of the three. Instead of sharing a server with other users you are in effect renting an entire server for yourself. Usually, all of the resources of the server are at your disposal. Many times hosting companies give you several options for the type of server you can rent and the operating system it runs.

Dedicated servers are for either bigger sites or for the webmaster who has 200 web sites and is tired of paying for 200 shared hosting accounts. Shared or virtual private server hosting accounts usually can handle personal or small business sites.

A virtual private server in essence is a hybrid of a shared web hosting account and a dedicated server. Software on the server is able to break it down into multiple “virtual” servers. The effect is basically like having several servers on the same machine. You would be paying for one of these virtual servers.

Virtual servers allow you the flexibility of customizing your server settings as if you were renting a dedicated server but since you are actually sharing a server with other users you pay much less. Virtual private server plans are usually priced just a bit higher than shared web hosting.

When you search for hosting do whatever research you need to do to pick the plan that’s right for you. There are thousands of sites offering quality information about web hosting that will help you to fill in any gaps in your knowledge and enable you to make the best possible decision.

Many hosting plans seem to offer the world on a string for a quarter. That’s fine and all but what happens when they cram several hundred busy accounts on one server and your site loads 30kb of HTML in 10 minutes on a DSL connection?

There may actually be many different hosts that can be right for you. Whichever you pick will come down to your requirements for resources like bandwidth and storage space, your requirements for features like PHP and/or ASP, and your requirements for price and level of support. Have fun.