Shared, VPS, Dedicated

What does it all mean?

There are so many hosting plans out there and most lead with pricing vs what they actually are, this can be very confusing when making a buy decision. I often feel folks make a hosting decision based on price versus the technologies involved and how those technologies are put to work for their site. Not all hosting plans are created equal. Some make your site share resources with many (if not hundreds) of other sites, making you the victim if any one of the other sites abuses the environment. Others guarantee your site a certain amount of resources or of course you can lease an entire server dedicated only to you. In this video we cover what the most common hosting plans actually mean to you and your Website.

What is Cloud Hosting

It seems that over the last few years, ‘Cloud’ has become the marketing buzz word when talking about hosting or just about anything Internet related. But what does it really mean? To be honest it is hard to tell because hosting providers apply the term to just about any hosting account out there. And though Cloud computing is an amazing set of technologies, it doesn’t always mean more up time for your site, better performance or even a price difference. In this video I explain what cloud hosting is and how it works.

What the Video Covers

  • What is shared hosting and what does it mean to your site
  • What is a VPS and the advantages of it
  • How a dedicated hosting plan compares to others
  • What Cloud hosting means, and how it works.

Video Transcript

Hi there. I’m going to talk a little bit about the different hosting options that are available out there. So as you’re out there shopping around for a hosting provider for your WordPress website, you’re going to come across a couple different hosting options. I’m going to go through the very simple and cost effective, all the way through a dedicated infrastructure, and then touch a little bit on what it means to be Cloud hosted because that’s the big marketing buzz word nowadays. So let’s go ahead and get started.

One of the most common things you’ll see out there is what’s called a shared hosting plan. Now these are very cost effective. They are usually only a few dollars per month. So let’s go through exactly what that means. Let’s pretend that I’m a hosting company, and I’m going to build a server that I plan to rent space on on a monthly basis to people who want to host their websites with me.

I’m going to give that server a CPU, some memory, hard drive, and I’m going to connect it up to the Ip nternet. I’m then going to let you go ahead and load up your website. Let’s say you’re paying $7 per month to host your website with me. This is a pretty expensive machine so your $7 isn’t covering it for me. So I’m going to let someone else load up their website and let someone else load up their website.

Over time, I’m going to go ahead and let a whole bunch of people load up their websites. This is a very cost effective solution, and technically you can host hundreds of websites on a single server. However, the down side here is that all these websites are sharing the resources of the server. So they’re each sharing the hard drive space, the memory, and the CPU as well as the bandwidth out to the Internet.

So let’s say your website is doing just fine, and you’re getting a moderate amount of traffic on a regular basis. But what happens if one of these other websites gets a sudden spike in traffic? Maybe they get onto Shark Tank and they’re famous overnight. Or worse, they have a security issue. Their website is hacked, and it’s causing a lot of bad traffic to go to and from this particular server. All of the websites in this scenario are going to suffer.

In fact, if you’re with one of the larger hosting providers and you realize that your site is slow, you may call them and complain. They’ll take a look at it and they may tell you, “Yes, that’s a pretty busy server”. Or, “Yes, there is a site on that server that is having an issue”. And they may go ahead and volunteer to move you to another server. If they do that, it’s only a matter of time before they load that server up and you have the same issues.

So the next level up is what we call the VPS. You will see VPS plans all over the place, ranging from $10 to hundreds of dollars per month. A VPS is much the same as a shared scenario except we’re going to lock down the amount of resources any one web hosting customer can use. So let’s take a look at this model. Just like a shared solution, if I’m a hosting provider, I’m going to build out my server. But instead of just letting someone load up their website or lots of people load up their websites, I’m going to break this website into four different, what we call, virtual machines.

I’m going to tell each one of those virtual machines that they’re allowed to use a certain percentage of the CPU, the memory, hard drive, and network connections. It is not allowed to go above that. If we give out – let’s just pretend that each one of these is using 25 percent of the resources. We don’t care if one client loads up one really big website, and another loads up another website, and one loads up a couple different websites because we have basically locked down the amount of resources any one hosting customer can use.

This is a great system. It’s a little bit more expensive than a shared environment. However, you can see here the advantage is that you don’t fall victim to what other folks are doing on the server. The next solution you’ll see is what’s called a dedicated solution. A dedicated solution is the same deal. We’re going to build out a server, give it all it needs, except the difference here is that it’s all you.

This is great because you get to do whatever you want with the space, the CPU, the memory, hard drive, and network is 100 percent yours. You’re not sharing it. You’re not susceptible to what other people are doing. However, it’s going to be more expensive, and in some dedicated scenarios you’re going to be responsible for more than simply loading up your website. You might be responsible for the website. However, there are managed services out there that will help keep your dedicated server up and running. So, if you’re looking for dedicated performance, this might be the way to go if you have the budget for it.

We have basically just covered shared, VPS, and dedicated hosting. Mixed into all that is what is commonly called Cloud hosting. This is a marketing buzz word. You’re going to see it all over the place, and you’re going to hear about it. It can be applied to shared hosting, VPS’s, and dedicated environments.

Let’s talk about what Cloud really means. Instead of putting up a single server and regardless of whether you’re creating virtual machines out of that or loading it up in a shared environment, we’re going to go ahead and put up a whole bunch of servers. We’re then going to connect those servers together. If you remember our last model we had CPU, a hard drive, memory, and network bandwidth connected to each one of those. You can imagine all these servers are told, “Hey, you can share resources amongst you.”

Now we’re going to load up your website, but instead of loading it up onto a single computer, we’re going to load it up in the Cloud, meaning it’s going to exist on more than one server at a time. You can imagine here if one of our servers goes down, it doesn’t matter. If another server is down for maintenance or needs updates or whatever, it’s not a big deal because all of the other servers are up and running.

The other beauty about this system is that if one of the websites on this system gets a whole lot of traffic, has a security issue, or whatever it may be, it can pull resources from more than one server in order to perform. And that is a high level overview of some of the most common hosting options you’ll find as you try and find a reliable host for your website.