The diversity of the online world is simply staggering. The Internet ecosystem has become so complex and varied that it’s difficult to comprehend. The actors are just as diverse – bloggers, hobbyists, businesses, fans, charities, artists, the list can go on forever. And, just like there are countless uses for a website, there are numerous flavors of web hosting you can choose from to put your website online.
Web hosting is a general term that encompasses dozens of services that differ by server type, operating system, resources, and purpose. Sometimes the variety of web hosting solutions available can be overwhelming, especially if you are taking the first steps to build an online presence. Linux hosting, Windows hosting, personal hosting, business hosting… what is the difference between them and which one should you choose? What are the particularities of each hosting solution, the details that make it stand out as the best solution to a problem?
In the following article, you get an overview of some of the most important types of web hosting. You will learn what the main features of each solution are and when you should consider it for hosting your website. If you hesitate in choosing a web hosting provider, this article will help you make an educated decision.
What are the features that set apart the various hosting solutions out there?
To begin with, let’s analyze the features that differentiate one web hosting solution from another:
Depending on how many resources you need for your website and your willingness to share the hosting environment with other clients, you can opt for:
Shared hosting – your website is hosted on a common web server, which you share with many other clients. The resources of the server are divided among all the hosted websites.
VPS hosting – your website is hosted on a virtual private server. The VPS is located on a web server, which you share with a smaller number of clients. Typically, VPS hosting gives you access to more resources than shared web hosting solutions.
Dedicated hosting – you rent an entire server and you get to use all its resources. Dedicated hosting is the most capable and expensive solution.
Depending on your budget and preferences, you can choose a web hosting solution that runs:
Linux – the open source operating system, available in various flavors, such as CentOS, Ubuntu, Fedora, etc.
Windows Server – the proprietary operating system from Microsoft and is a hosting solution that is required if you need to run applications or websites built with Microsoft technologies.
Many web hosting providers offer plans that are tailored for a specific use:
Personal web page hosting – typically, personal website hosting requires less resources than business plans. Personal web hosting plans are intended for smaller private sites, blogs, and any other online presence that is not used commercially.
Business web hosting – corporate pages, online stores, online services, etc.
Let’s go through some of the most important types of web hosting and see in what circumstances you should opt for each type.
Linux web hosting
Linux web hosting refers to any type of web hosting solution that uses a Linux flavor as the operating system. There are numerous Linux distributions in use, with the most popular being CentOS, Fedora, Ubuntu, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. It’s estimated that more than 60% of all web servers in the world run a Linux distribution, a figure that is telling for the performance of the Linux operating system.
Linux hosting plans are generally more affordable than Windows hosting solutions, as Linux servers cost less when compared with machines that run Windows Server. Linux servers are compatible with most open source applications, including PHP and MySQL, but do not offer support for Microsoft’s .NET Framework.
Linux web servers are very stable and reliable, and are used to host anything from personal blogs to mission-critical enterprise applications.
Windows web hosting
Windows web hosts are powered by a version of Microsoft’s Windows Server operating system. Although older versions are still in use, most Windows web hosting solutions use Windows Server 2003, 2008 or the latest version, 2008 R2.
Windows web hosts offer better compatibility than Linux machines, supporting .NET, PHP, ColdFusion, and many other technologies. For this reason, Windows hosting is recommended if you need to run applications built with different frameworks. You can host a .NET/VB/C# shopping cart and a PHP/MySQL forum on a single server without much difficulty.
Another advantage of Windows web hosting is user-friendliness. Unlike Linux web hosts, Windows machines are administered through an intuitive graphical interface that is almost identical with the familiar interface of a Windows PC.
Business web hosting
As the name implies, business web hosting solutions are designed to answer the needs of companies, organizations, and professionals. Some business websites generate revenue directly, such as ecommerce websites. Others are used for public relations (PR), to attract clients, and to develop business relationships.
Consumers increasingly rely on the Internet to make purchasing decisions or to educate themselves about various products and services. As a result, it’s more important than ever to have a quality, professional online presence that impresses visitors and converts them into customers.
In this context, the web host plays a major role in ensuring the reliability of your business website. For business web hosting, look for resource-rich web servers that are able to handle numerous queries at a time. Typically, shared web hosting plans do not meet the demands of business applications, so look for a VPS or even better, a dedicated server.
Ecommerce web hosting
Ecommerce web hosting refers to any hosting solution that is designed to be used for an ecommerce application. Ecommerce includes all types of online stores, from family-run shops to the largest online retailers.
Besides resources, ecommerce hosting applications have specific requirements. Mainly, business hosting solutions should include support for shopping cart applications, such as osCommerce, Magento, or Zen Cart. Shopping carts provide every tool required to set up a functional online store, from product databases to shipping methods, user accounts, and multiple configuration options.
To facilitate credit card processing, a business web hosting solution should support payment processing solutions, such as those provided by PayPal, WorldPay, or 2Checkout. Another important feature of quality business hosting plans is SSL security. SSL is a Web encryption technology that ensures that credit card numbers and other sensitive information cannot be accessed by third parties.
Secure web hosting
Secure web hosts offer extensive security features to ensure maximum protection for the hosted application or website. Secure web hosting is recommended whenever you run a high-risk online presence, including popular websites that are likely to be targeted by hackers, business websites that process financial transactions, and any website that stores sensitive information.
Security features include advanced firewall protection to ensure that no unauthorized application or user gains access to the hosting environment. SSL (Secure Socket Layer) is another must have feature, which ensures the confidentiality of the data exchanged between the secure server and the users.
To ensure that hackers cannot “sniff” the information sent to and from the web server, you should select a web hosting provider that offers Secure Shell (SSH), which provides secure authentication and communication over networks.
JaguarPC provides a wide range of quality web hosting solutions
Whether you want to publish a blog, a professional portfolio, or a business website, JaguarPC gives you all the tools you will need to create an attractive online presence. Since 1998, JaguarPC has made a name for itself by providing quality, non-oversold, web hosting solutions at reasonable prices. Every hosting plan offered by JaguarPC is backed by a money back guarantee and 100% network uptime guarantee for your complete satisfaction and peace of mind.
From discount web hosting solutions to dedicated servers and colocation services, JaguarPC offers almost every type of hosting solution, including Linux hosting, Windows hosting, business hosting, ecommerce hosting, and secure hosting.