Choosing the right hosting is important. The right host will make sure that your website always is up when someone wants to visit it and that it loads fast so that the visitor gets a good visitor experience. Bad slow loading hosting can cost you a lot of money as many visitors chose not to visit a website if it loads too slowly. You lose visitors if your website takes more then one second to load and you lose more than half of all your visitors if your website takes more than 3 seconds to load.
Losing customers is not the only problem with a slow loading website. You will also find it hard to get exposure in search engines such as google that prefers faster websites whenever possible. Hosting your website on good fast hosting will make it easier to succeed.
Lets look at some different hosting alternatives that are available to you.
You should never use free hosting. It is always a bad idea. If you can afford paid hosting then you should always use paid hosting.
Shared hosting is the type of hosting most people use and the type of hosting most people think about when they think about hosting. When you sign up for a shared hosting account you get an account on a web server that you can use to host your website. Some hosts allow you host several websites on the account. The account is one of many that shares the same server. All accounts share the same resources. There might be hundreds or even thousand accounts on the same server. Some or all might share the same IP.
Shared hosting is usually the best alternative to start with if you are building a regular website. It is cheap, gives you the freedom to create the site you want and make sit easy to move the site to a larger account when needed.
The quality of shared hosting can vary a lot between different companies. Some offer great hosting while others oversell their servers and place to many accounts on them. This causes a lack of resources to each site which can cause slow load times and other problems at peak times.
Cloud hosting can be a good option since it is very reliable and makes it easy to scale your hosting as your website grows.
A virtual private server (VPS) is a an hosting account that is located on a shared server but that acts like a dedicated server. You have access to the server back end and can set up new accounts and customize the settings you want to use on the server. It does not offer the same benefits as a dedicated server. You are still sharing a server with others. But it is also a lot cheaper then a dedicated server.
A VPS is the natural next step when you have outgrow shared hosting. It give you more control over the site than you had on shared hosting and allow you to optimize the server to suit your site as well as possible.
A dedicated server is the best type of hosting you can get. You have your own server that you do not share with anyone else. Actions of other can no longer affect the server you are using. The server resources will be used exclusively by your websites.
There are a lot of different dedicated servers available and they can have very different specifications. Some of them are only marginally stronger then a good VPS while others are monsters white large amounts of CPU:s, ram and storage space. It is up to you to decide exactly what you need. The stronger server you chose to get the more I will cost.
I always recommend that you get a fully managed dedicates server with WHM/cPanel. If you do not know what this is then you will need it. Using a server without WHM/cPanel is hard and requires a lot of knowledge about computers. The same is true for managing the server yourself. Only experienced and knowledgeable server admins should consider getting an un-managed server.
The best option
If you are planning to build a small website and are unsure about what will happen then I recommend that you get a good shared hosting account. That will be good enough to get started and you can upgrade later. If you are building a little larger site then I would chose to get a VPN right from the start. This gives you the freedom to create the site you want and gives it the best possible chance to succeed.