The Three Different Types of Web Hosting
In this part I'll clear up some of the BS around web hosting and try to make it easier for you to figure out what type of hosting you need for your blog or website.
All the affiliate links to the hosting providers on this page are for hosting companies that I have personally used. As best I can, I'll highlight the pros and cons of each kind of web hosting service you could buy.
If you're starting a blog, you'll probably choose an inexpensive hosting option like Bluehost which is usually a great choice for beginners but you should be aware of the potential downsides and what "unlimited" really means to the bargain web hosting crowd. Here's a hint: it's not what the dictionary says.
And so, without further delay, here are the three different types of web hosts as I see them.
Web Hosting Recommendations
I get a little long winded on this page so if you're in a hurry here's the summary of the kinds of web hosts you could get for your website.
Under Ten Dollar Hosting: try Bluehost for your blog (very inexpensive, great for beginners but will crumble if your traffic becomes massive).
Twenty Plus Web Hosting: try Dathorn in this money range (not as cheap but much better at handling traffic spikes - it's the host this site currently uses).
Fifty bucks and Over Web Hosting: try Servint (these are expensive hosts - they're mainly necessary if you're running a site that constantly generates high traffic numbers).
1. Under Ten Dollar Web Hosting
Typically these web hosts are great for beginners they charge you about ten dollars or less per month and they often have a one click type of install for WordPress so you can get your blog up and running very quickly. In this range, I would recommend you use Bluehost to set-up your blog .
All the companies in this range promise you unlimited bandwidth and so let me be clear here on this issue... this is not true.
If your site starts to use a lot of resources - for example if some content on your website goes viral, gets super popular and you gets a big surge in traffic - make no mistake - your site will go down and your account might get suspended.
And if you're not aware that this is a probable outcome then you're going to be very unhappy if this ever happens to you.
They're unlimited with a large asterisk - as soon as you need to accommodate a huge amount of traffic, unlimited becomes very very limited.
Imagine it this way, you bought a second hand Subaru hatchback for buying groceries on the week-end and you suddenly find yourself on the racetrack of the Indy 500. This much is for certain, you aren't winning this kind of race and most probably bad things are going to happen.
Here's a little story to illustrate my point...
Unlimited Bandwidth and "It doesn't look like the picture!"
I was in line at a fast food restaurant behind a guy from China. He was visiting North America and obviously enjoying the newness of the experience. He ordered a bucket of chicken things - some kind of combo special consisting of fried chicken, popcorn chicken and some other heart stopper that I don't recall.
He picked up his order and went to this car. I ordered my meal and was waiting when the man came back in.
He went up to the cash and said he wanted his money back. He had the now open bucket in hands and, gesturing to one of the pictures in the restaurant, he said "It doesn't look like the picture."
He was showing the open bucket to nearby people and repeating the phrase "It doesn't look like the picture".
And indeed it didn't. It wasn't like the picture - the contents weren't a perfect golden brown bursting out of a seemingly magical bucket possessed with an inner glow of its own.
Everyone in the line-up, basically thought he was crazy and avoided him when he looked at them and restated his "It doesn't look like the picture" revelation.
Now... should it look like the picture.... yes... there should be some truth in advertising. But everyone knows that the pictures you see in fast food restaurants are not what you're going to get. To think otherwise is to be completely naive to the ways things actually work.
And so, don't be a country bumpkin, when someone promises you unlimited bandwidth, know that it isn't true. It just isn't.
It doesn't look like the picture.
Ok. Now that I've got that out of the way - you should be a little more informed on the real limits of unlimited but these budget hosts can be a good choice for beginners. You probably won't be getting much traffic for a long time and they're very affordable for most people.
I have used these two hosts and I would recommend you check them out:
BlueHost: A good web host with hosting services under five bucks a month (free domain name with hosting). I prefer Bluehost at present for simple beginner sites.
Now onto the second kind of web hosting you can get.
2. Twenty Plus Web Hosting Services
This is your intermediate hosting solution. The cost is usually around 20 something dollars.
They don't offer unlimited bandwidth - they clearly state exactly what kind of bandwidth and storage you're getting for your money - which is really how it should be in my opinion. And if you go over your bandwidth limit they usually have some kind of extra bandwidth you can buy should it be needed.
In this middle level, I recommend Dathorn Internet Services - it's the hosting solution that I currently use for TextFixer.com and I'm very satisfied with the service I've received with them - they've been really quick in replying whenever I've have a question or two about things. If you're looking for something a little more reliable than the budget hosts then something in this range might be better suited to your needs.
Also if you need a security certificate or a dedicated IP for your website they will be able to implement these for a small fee.
My recommendation is Dathorn web hosting in this range, I've been with them for a number of years now and so far they've been great for the site.
3. Web Hosting at 50 Dollars and Over
Here are the big guns. The prices usually start at around fifty dollars and go much higher. Hosting at this type of level is usually a choice between two options: VPS and Dedicated. The quick way to know what to choose to take out of the two is that if you don't know the difference then VPS is probably what you want.
I'm being a little humorous here but the point is that the Dedicated option will most probably require someone with more technical skills so go with VPS if you don't have a technical background or have someone with those qualifications that you can count on.
A while ago, I was running a website that became very popular and so I had to move out of the intermediate range of hosting to this level. The site was serving up millions of pages a month and so I needed top line performance.
I had heard about Servint while doing my research - if I remember correctly a very high volume site (Fark.com I think) had used them so I gave them a shot.
They were great. They served up millions of pages without fail and the customer service was very helpful whenever I had questions.
This option is overkill for most people starting a blog unless you somehow already have some kind of built in fan base or are planning on launching a site that is very resource heavy. If you are then go with Servint for your web hosting. But again, most people don't need to start a blog with this level of web hosting.
Brainstorming a Name for your Website
I also have an article on choosing a website name that you might want to check out first before choosing your webhosting: Brainstorming a Website Name