Four Types of Web Hosting
Free Web Hosting Service
This is the most basic kind of Web hosting that you can get. Free Web hosting is typically advertisement-supported and offers limited features. This is the best option for those just starting out and only interested in hosting a small personal site that will be light on traffic.
Free Web hosts will give you a subdomain (yoursite.example.com) or a directory (www.example.com/~yoursite). They include a small amount of bandwidth and storage and tend to offer little to no support for MySQL, PHP, multiple e-mail addresses, and site statistics.
Shared Web Hosting Service
Shared hosting is the most popular kind of Web hosting service. Virtually all small businesses, medium to large Web sites, and professional sites see shared hosting as the perfect solution to their hosting needs. None of these entities require anywhere near all the resources of an entire Web server, not to mention the fact that it would be very costly for them to purchase and run one.
As the name suggests, shared Web hosts allow more than one site to be hosted on the same server. These hosts provide system administration, which is good for users that do not want to deal with the hassles of running a server along with a number of other users.
Although it depends on the specifics of the hosting plan, most server features will be readily available to the user, including PHP or ASP, MySQL, multiple e-mail addresses, and more bandwidth and storage than a free host. One downside is the possible security risks that are inherent with sharing a server with a number of other sites.
Dedicated Web Hosting – Unmanaged
This is a great option for users who want more bandwidth, storage, and other server features that free or shared hosting cannot offer. Having a dedicated server means that there are unlimited numbers of databases and e-mail addresses that the user can create, not to mention bigger bandwidth capabilities. Normal dedicated server plans give the user about 500 to 1,000GB of bandwidth per month, and if extra storage is required, a new hard drive can be purchased for the server.
For some users, the one big downside of having an unmanaged dedicated host is that you must be your own server administrator. If you do not know how to deal with this task, there are two options: learn about how to be a server administrator, or just go for the next Web hosting option.
Dedicated Web Hosting – Managed
So, if you want the big-time capabilities of a dedicated server but you do not want to deal with the hassle of learning about server administration, then this should be the perfect option for you.
Going this route means that you will have help in getting your server up and running, and you will have assistance readily available to you if something should ever go wrong. That being said, it is best to get a referral from a close and trustworthy person, or to at the very least do some diligent research on the Internet.
Pricing varies depending on how much reliability, security, and depth of support you want.