A common problem faced by all of us when we start off our careers as web designers or web developers is “What is Web Hosting, and Which Hosting Package should I choose?”. The variety of available options can make it very tough for you to choose the absolute right one for clients website especially when you are planning to land up in Web Hosting, Web developers and Web designer business. This article is meant to help you and clear up the confusion regarding Web Hosting.

What is a Domain Name?

Domain Name is a unique name of your website which identifies you when anyone searches you in Internet with a URL(Uniform Resource locator). Domain Name is backed up by Domain Name Server which keeps the Internet alive by its rules and procedures.

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What is Web Hosting?

For ease in understanding, I am going to answer this in the simplest method possible. Web Hosting is a service that allows users to upload content on Computers that are always connected to the Internet without any downtime, using which the content are always online to others. Web hosting providers make all the data accessible with the help of World Wide Web and interlinked contents all around the Internet.

Different types of Hosting Plans.

Single Domain Hosting (SDH):  This is the most basic hosting package that any Web Service Provider can offer. It’s meant to host a single website (amount of sub-domains, bandwidth and storage space differs from package to package). This is perfect for a users with a single blog/simple website, or a web designer who considers starting off his career. If you have a very few clients who require Web Hosting, then you should ideally look out for Single Domain Hosting Packages.

Pros: It is ideal for a small project, and the customer receives enough Hosting Resources to easily carry the weight of a simple website.

Cons: Once your business expands, maintaining several different Single Domain Hosting Packages will become time-consuming and expensive. That is when you should consider shifting to a multi-domain package or a reseller package otherwise you will only have mounting expenses and managing issues.

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Multi-Domain Hosting (MDH): This package allows you to host a certain amount of websites with a cap on Bandwidth and Transfer (again, differs from provider to provider) If you need to build several websites, or provide extensive Hosting Resources for one client or company, you could consider buying this package.

Pros:  Each client’s websites will be on one package only. It helps you to consolidate your clients websites and makes managing them easier. It would also be cheaper in the long run than several Single Domain Packages. Moreover, if your client requests for a Control Panel to manage all of their websites, then you could offer them one Control Panel through which user can then handle the Hosting Resources for all their Web Properties in one place.

Cons: This works very well if you have a single client with Multiple Websites and Hosting Resource Requirements. However, this can prove to be expensive if you have additional clients who have Multiple Websites and require more Hosting Resources.

Reseller Hosting (RH) aka WHM Hosting: This is the perfect package for a designer/developer with a large client base. You are allotted a certain amount of Bandwidth & Web Space. Depending on your provider, you can split this package up as you see fit and allot different amounts of Bandwidth and Web Space to different websites. Some providers even offer add-ons to this package like the ability to buy cheaper domains, sell SSL certificates, get a free customizable website to sell from etc.

Pros: This is the most cost-effective package in the long run. For example, it would be cheaper to use one Reseller package than to host on 5 different Multi-Domain Packages. You could even break this package up and sell it to other smaller Web Designers and Web Developers. Reseller Hosting offers several ways for a good income.

Cons: You are paying for a fixed amount of Web Space & Bandwidth. If you lose clients, then this space will go unutilized even though you are paying for it.

VPS Hosting: Virtual Private Servers are similar to a dedicated hosting package without the huge cost of renting out or buying your own server. A server works in such a way that each VPS package functions like an independent server. This gives you the greatest freedom to configure it to your needs. Unlike normal shared hosting, no other package can use up your resources either. This means that there is a very low chance of your clients sites slowing down/not resolving, as a virtual server is dedicated for your clients.

Pros: Very limited sharing of resources, greater functionality and freedom, and Cheaper than a dedicated package.

Cons: More expensive than a Reseller Hosting package. You are still limited by the hardware and software specs that are selected by your provider.

Dedicated hosting: The most versatile and expensive option for hosting. When you purchase Dedicated Hosting, you are renting out an entire server. The resources are dedicated for your usage, you have complete control over the configuration but it is extremely expensive. Typically, this would be useful if you have a very large number of clients or you want to host heavy content (such as videos, photos etc).

Pros: You can upload any content (lots of SDH, MDH and RH providers have strict rules on what can and cannot be hosted.) If you have a very large client base, it could work out to be cost-effective

Cons: Extremely expensive. You will also need to pay a company to manage your server or manage it yourself.

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Cloud Hosting: This is the latest in Hosting offerings. All your data will be stored on the Cloud. This is a collection of servers at a remote location constantly connected which you can access from anywhere, at anytime. The primary advantage of Cloud Hosting is that it deals with Data Storage, Applications and serving data better than traditional hosting. Cloud Hosting lays emphasis on processing power, reliability and agility. You can simply and easily scale up or scale down your package without the need for long migration processes. This would work very well for a web designer who also designs software/mobile applications for companies.

Pros: Your data will be available at any time. It also works very well with applications as it has better processing power. The time taken for the round trip of the web application/sites with the hosted servers will be less. When dealing with large amounts of dynamic content, this is the best option.

Cons: For static content like a normal website, this doesn’t offer any significant advantages over normal hosting packages and could even prove to be more expensive.

That is a brief overview of the hosting packages typically available in the market. From my experience, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

All of the packages I just described (apart from dedicated and VPS) operate on a completely shared model. This means that the service provider is hosting your package on a Dedicated Server along with several other packages. This also means that the server’s resources are shared between all those packages. Very often, a few packages could receive a lot of traffic. This results in the consumption of a large part of the servers resources, leaving less available for your package. This could result in slower speeds overall, but not to an extent that it could hamper the web users experience.

Another important point to keep in mind is the Acceptable Usage policy (or a similar policy). All providers have a version of this policy. It states what you can and cannot do with each package. For example, you cannot consume over a certain % of the servers resources for longer than two minutes. Few providers have limitations on the bandwidth provided by them to access the servers. These policies are there to protect the other people sharing the package but could limit your options.

So the key points to keep in mind when choosing your package. :

Decide what you want to host. Is it heavy content? Is it light content? Will there be crazy amounts of traffic? You should look out for the bandwidth, storage space etc. offered by providers. My advice would be to source a reputable provider. Smaller providers may offer better pricing but their servers could go down more often. Up-time is one of the most important factors when picking a hosting provider. You should get an easily managed control panel to take care of your web sites and to manage the quota limits of the various shared resources on server. The next thing which you should keep in mind is that the service you are choosing should give an international support as your international clients may approach them with ease. Personally, I would recommend ResellerClub since they offer you a single panel using which you get access to all the type of Shared Hosting & VPS Hosting mentioned above. Moreover, their Hosting Package is available with configurations to suit most users. They also offer several add-ons to help you out. You can Sign Up with ResellerClub to get more details of their program, how they can help you out.

So, do your research, keep my final points in mind and good luck!

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