Web Hosting recommendations

December 6, 2016

So you want a website, but what about web hosting? There are plenty of options to choose from when deciding how to host your website. This page should be informative and provide you with some basic information for choosing web hosting that’s most ideal for you.

Types of hosting

Shared web hosting

Shared web hosting  is the most common type of web hosting available. You get some space on a shared machine.

Pros

  • Affordable, ranging from $7 to $12 per month
  • Full featured with cPanel, phpMyAdmin, an interface for managing domain names, FTP logins, and everything else you expect from a proper web hosting service
  • Convenient 1-click installs for common content management systems like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc.

Cons

  • No root access, so you may be limited in what you can do with your web hosting
  • If one of the sites or applications on the shared server gets hacked, your website may suffer the consequences (rare occasion)

Recommended shared web hosting providers

Virtual Private Servers (VPS)

Virtual Private Servers are great, and now they’re more affordable than they used to be. They used to cost upwards of $30 per month but now you can get them for as cheap as $5. You get your own virtual private space with root access, so you can do whatever you want on the servers, provided that your activities are within the terms of use of the provider, of course.

Pros

  • Root access to install whatever you want and do whatever you want—oh the power!
  • Affordable, starting at $5 per month for a machine with 512 MB memory, 20 GB SSD storage,  1 TB of transfer
  • Convenient 1-click installs for common application infrastructure like WordPress, Node.js, Ruby on Rails, Java, etc.
  • Only pay for your droplet’s uptime—if you destroy a VPS you don’t need to pay for it for the rest of the month.

Cons

  • Very barebones—you have to set up everything yourself so you should have a web developer or enjoy hanging around in the terminal while you learn how to manage your website or app. No fancy interfaces for the server, but many of the VPS providers have great interfaces.

Recommended Virtual Private Server (VPS) providers

Managed hosting for Content Management Systems (WordPress, Drupal, etc.)

Managed hosting is the most expensive option but it provides high-value to clients where website reliability is important, performance is important, and whose sites see a fair amount of traffic. Pricing for managed hosting starts at roughly $30 per month.

Pros

  • High-performance, thanks to the aggressive caching methods used
  • Protection against Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks
  • CMS application core is kept up-to-date for you automagically
  • Allows for multiple environments, e.g. staging and production, so that you can work on your site in a sandboxed environment while ensuring users only see your site when you’re ready to launch
  • Great deployment tools in place for developers, often using Git, the most common version control system that all web developers nowadays should know

Cons

  • Higher costs may not be justifiable for businesses whose sites see little traffic, or for businesses that generate little revenue

Recommended managed hosting providers

Cheap or free hosting options for static websites

If you are building a static website or a client-side JavaScript application, you can host your project for quite cheap or even free. You’re usually quite limited with what you can host on these platforms, and usually you need to be quite technically-inclined to work with these options. These options are a perfect web hosting option for static websites and client-side JavaScript applications.

Pros

  • Very cheap or free
  • Very fast and high-performing because everything is static

Cons

  • Static websites and client-side apps will often require you to rely on web developers to update them (unless the content is served from an API, for which you would need to host separately)
  • You cannot host Content Management Systems like WordPress or Drupal using this type of service
  • You need a web developer to use these services as they are geared towards technical people

Recommended hosting for static sites

  • Github Pages – Free
  • Amazon S3 – monthly from $0.004 per 10,000 requests for data transfers, and from $0.004 per GB of storage

Factors to consider

Search Engine Optimization

If search engine optimization is important to you, you may not want to build a website that is client-rendered using JavaScript since this is generally not indexed by search engines.

It may be more advantageous of you to develop a CMS-powered site or a static website in this case, rather than JavaScript application.

Updating the website yourself or relying on a developer

If you are updating the website yourself through a Content Management System like Drupal or WordPress, you will need to choose either shared hosting, a VPS, or a managed hosting service.

If you do not want a CMS, you can choose any of the options (except for managed web hosting), but you will need to rely on a web developer to update your website.

If you would like to get a website and want to talk about your web hosting options, contact me and I would be happy to discuss your options with you in greater detail.