Different Web Hosting Packages
Web Hosting is typically done one of two ways: hosting from a computer you own using web server software or paying a company for a hosting plan to share the your website for you. Choosing a third party host is usually the best option because most of us don't want to mess with software on your own -- here's why.
The Dangers Of Being Your Own Web Host
When hosting a web site from a computer in your home or office, there are many things you have to consider. This was a viable option in the early days of the net (now, 15 years ago), but now it's far too dangerous.
Hackers are on the hunt and never tire of looking for vulnerable web servers to vandalize. If you're not 100% up to date on all of the necessary security patches, you leave your whole network open to attack, and without a secure network you can't do business on the web.
Next, you have to consider the toll it will take on your bandwidth. If you plan to host from a consumer type internet package, you are seriously compromising your speed and connectivity as it will be drained by serving files over the internet. The only real option is outsourcing the job through purchasing one of many different web hosting packages from a reliable host.
Outsourcing Your Hosting (Web Hosting Packages)
When you go with a web host, you can enjoy total security, backups of your data, no strain on your network, and more. Most small sites start out with what's called "Shared Hosting" and which can cost as little as $1 a month to about $9 a month. We recommend shared hosting for everyone who's starting out in the business, unless you know that you're going to be building a huge ecommerce site (1000+ uniques a day and more). Cheaper shared packages are not always better, it's best to get the overall best value in your package.
Shared hosting means your site is shared from a computer that serves up many of the hosts customer's websites. You may experience slowdowns if another website on your shared machine experiences spikes in popularity, but generally you're pretty safe from slow loads, especially if you take advantage of various things like -- good coding, and WordPress plugins that increase load time (if you use WP, and many of us do).
Different Web Hosting Packages - VPS, Dedicated, Shared
Virtual Private hosting (VPS hosting) will cost a bit more, but the computer your site is being hosted on is split into virtual machines, where the load is distributed evenly, giving you a guaranteed service level, depending on what service tier you pay for. Other websites on the same physical machine at the host won't negatively affect your site's performance, which is worth the increased costs.
Dedicated hosting (your own server) is best for web hosting where your site will be accessed by a lot of people, uses a lot of bandwidth, and uptime of 100% is absolutely critical. Your site is hosted on a dedicate machine used only for your site at the host's datacenter. The preceding web hosting packages are the main types you will run across, although Cloud hosting is another one of note, which you may want to investigate.