Your great new website, complete with bells and whistles, is all set up and ready to go live. It’s time to choose a host provider, but before you do, one question remains: What type of hosting is right for you?

The answer will vary depending on:

  • How much you want to spend.
  • How many resources you’ll need.
  • How secure your site must be.

Here’s what the various hosting plans can and cannot do for you.

Shared Hosting

Although this least-expensive option is also the least robust, it happens to be the hosting plan with which most users choose to start. In addition to lower cost, shared WordPress hosting offers ease of use along with scalability, versatility and reliability. Most plans also offer full support.

Unfortunately, disadvantages do exist. Despite its budget-friendly demeanor, those who choose a shared hosting plan must realize that they will be splitting the resources of a single server with a number of other users. For this reason, these plans not only impose limits on bandwidth, disk space and subdomains but also restrict the number of available email and FTP accounts. Performance and reliability can also suffer.

VPS Hosting

Those who choose a VPS hosting plan will still be sharing resources with other websites, but with one major difference: Through the concept of virtualization, a VPS server will mimic the capabilities of its dedicated counterpart. Providing nearly all the options of a dedicated host, a VPS plan allows users to restart their services, modify server files and generate additional accounts.

VPS hosting plans allow you to install any software of your choice, with one caveat: your programs must run efficiently. The user of a VPS account still shares the server with additional websites. An account that hogs resources will not only impede the performance of the others but could also get your own suspended.

Although a VPS account will cost more than shared hosting, its additional functionality often makes it worthwhile.

Dedicated Hosting

If your website must handle multiple databases and numerous accounts on a hardware-intensive platform, a dedicated host will be your best choice. With this option, all hardware specs will be yours and yours alone. A built-in flexibility will allow you to dictate hardware setups and increase functionality as needed. You will also be free to install your choice of software with no worries about adversely affecting the resources of server-mates.

Additional security is another plus. With a dedicated hosting account, only you and your host provider will be able to access your server.

Which Hosting Account is Right for You?

If you’re like most people just starting out, a shared hosting plan will likely be more than adequate for your purposes. For those who may later require greater flexibility, an upgrade to a VPS account will always be an option. Nevertheless, if you are a major operation with a large customer base and heavy traffic, the more powerful and secure dedicated hosting plan is probably the one for you.