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Examining the Advantages of Popular Hosting Types - What is Best?

written by: Sheila Robinson•edited by: Ronda Bowen•updated: 9/24/2011

There are a few web hosting options that offer different types of features and services.What is is best for your business? Discussed are shared, dedicated, virtual private server and free web hosting options.

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    Shared Web Hosting

    Web hosting options Using a shared web hosting service like GoDaddy or Yahoo! is a convenient way to handle an individual or small business website. One of the advantages of web hosting with a “shared" type of service is that you don’t have to worry about security issues (like someone hacking your site), operating system updates or general technical maintenance. This type of service is good for small business with an average amount of traffic. It is also a cost saver since most offer low annual fees and you do not have to purchase any hardware or personnel to handle these issues.

    Another advantage of this type of web hosting is that it is easy to use and offers a unique domain name. Most web hosts with shared hosting also offer templates and WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) formatting that allow you to create websites without a lot of technical skill. Pre-made forms, site specific search engines, calendars, counters and shopping carts are generally available for your use.

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    Dedicated Web Hosting

    When you use dedicated web hosting an entire server is rented through the hosting provider. Unlike a shared web hosting service it is used only by you or your company. The server you rent will always have the most current technologies, standard features and security. The hosting company is also typically responsible for updating and maintaining the equipment. These dedicated servers typically result in a fast, powerful, large capacity system that can handle a lot of data. They are typically the best solution for businesses that have large websites with a high volume of Internet traffic. However, this option is costly and requires a bit more technical expertise since the user may be responsible for any software upgrades and partitioning of drives among other "setup" options.

    We also suggest looking at Managed Dedicated Hosting which allows users to take full advantage of dedicated hosting with the added benefit of all hardware and software updates being handled by the hosting company. This comes at a premium price but is a great solution for anyone who needs more power for their websites but who don't want to hire dedicated server techs for any issues which arise.

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    Virtual Private Server Hosting (VPS)

    VPS is a combination of dedicated and shared web hosting. Your website is hosted on the same server with other customers, but is kept separate so it does not interfere with anyone else. It gives you the same security as a dedicated server, but you are allocated only a certain percentage of space in terms of bandwidth and actual hard drive and computer RAM available. Costs typically fall in between shared and dedicated web hosting plans.These plans also tend to offer "Managed" solutions which allows for greater flexibility without the need to fully manage your own server. VPSLand and WireTree are popular hosting solutions for this type of service.

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    Free Web Hosting

    For budget conscious individuals, free web hosting service may be a good option. The advantage is that most of these providers have easy to use design templates, free email addresses and some scripting and database features. However, you are limited typically to the amount of space you can use and the amount of customer service you will receive.This option is best suited for personal, family or hobby websites. However, as a tradeoff for these features you will have to display advertisements on your website which can often be placed via intrusive areas of your web pages.

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    A Final Note

    There are advantages of web hosting whether you rent, share a server or use a free service provider. It gives you the ability to move your business, information or research material to the Internet. Regardless of which option you choose, these services help make it easier for businesses to create an online presence.

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