Article by Pierre Zarokian

Web hosting is the business of providing either shared or dedicated space to webmasters willing to pay a price for it. More often than not, hosting is a service used on websites. Games, applications and image galleries can also be hosted in the cloud or on a dedicated server.

The type of hosting you choose can affect everything about your page, from how Google sees it to how quickly content is served to the customer. There are three basic options for hosting, so this guide aims to help you choose one that’s best for you and your business.

Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated hosting is like renting an entire server to yourself. Why would you need an entire server to yourself? There are a few reasons. For one, if your product is media related (like music or video), dedicated hosting helps you keep the majority of the profits you would make from sales. You also tend to get more bandwidth and storage space, which means your site can be larger and server a greater volume of people. For those with a dedicated staff managing the site and its assets, dedicated servers offer the greatest level of control.

Virtual Hosting

Virtual hosting is the most common form of hosting for most small business operations, and has some good advantages. For one, it gives you a space for an affordable cost. You get less space and bandwidth, but you still have your own space on a server. Virtual hosting isn’t the best choice for rich media websites, as it can offer some disadvantages to speed, but it does help those with simple websites get themselves off the ground.

However, you do sit on a server with other IP addresses, which can inadvertently place you in a bad IP neighborhood. While it is the most cost effective approach, it can also lead you down a perilous path if you’ve not researched your host, and the IP neighborhood you’ll be placed into.

Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting typically involves a larger business with access to more personally identifiable information than the average business. It’s not uncommon to host customer databases, CRM software and certain components of a business from the cloud. In fact, some businesses run cloud hosting in conjunction with dedicated or virtual hosting, especially if those businesses manage applications.

Cloud hosting isn’t a service everyone needs, but it provides an important and cost-effective service to those who manage greater amounts of data. You only pay for what you use, and support is typically included when you utilize cloud hosting. Cloud computing also offers supreme reliability and security.

Choosing the Right Hosting Package

Ultimately, the hosting package that is the right one for you depends on the size of your business and your customer base. Security might also be a concern, depending on your size. Cloud hosting will solve agreat deal of the common challenges you’ll face owning a website on the Internet. However, cloud hosting is also the most expensive option if you’re not utilizing the services it provides. Dedicated hosting offers the most control, but won’t be of use to the average person with little or no computer skills. Virtual hosting offers a decent compromise on expense, but you could be paired with a bad IP neighborhood.

All of these options offer above-average reliability, so your decision might come down to the resources you need versus what you can afford.