Shared hosting is an entry-level hosting plan. The highly competitive shared hosting industry means that consumers benefit from a low monthly price. Prices generally range from $2.51 per month for the entry-level to $4.62 for a mid-tier option. With shared hosting, users share their web server with other websites. The number of other websites can range from a few hundred to thousands.
The advantage of shared hosting is the affordable price. The downsides are spotty service, no uptime guarantees, possible security risks, and limited resources, which makes it difficult to scale websites. This option is ideal for low traffic websites, static pages and new websites.
Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting is the next level of hosting. On average, the cost of VPS plans falls between the cost of shared hosting and dedicated hosting. Users can expect to pay between $20 and $100 per month. With VPS, users still share server space with other websites. However, there are fewer websites sharing the same space. This allows websites to handle higher volumes of traffic and increases the level of site security.
Users will also have more control over their hosting environment, which is better for privacy than shared hosting. This should be the lowest level of hosting for e-commerce websites. The downsides of VPS are increased costs and the possibility of occasional slow uptime.
Dedicated hosting dedicates an entire server to the user. This gives users full control over their server environment, allowing them to customize the operating system, software, and general configurations. Dedicated hosting prices usually start around $100 per month. Websites with their own dedicated servers run faster, can handle a high volume of traffic, and experience less downtime due to high bandwidth, storage space, and RAM. Dedicated servers are also more secure, making them imperative for larger businesses with sensitive data.
Cloud hosting is a cluster of servers working together instead of relying on a single server like traditional hosting services. Its main advantage is the extreme rarity in which servers go down. Cloud hosting does a great job of balancing traffic to maintain website performance even when traffic is high. Instead of a flat monthly fee like traditional hosting, cloud hosting users typically use a pay-as-you-go model and only pay for what they use.