What are the different types of web hosting?

Web hosting accounts are available for customers with a wide variety of needs and purposes. Whether you're looking to launch a personal homepage with a few visitors a month, or an e-commerce business website that serves thousands of users daily, web hosts are likely offering packages that fit your demands.

Shared web hosting: This is generally the most basic level of web hosting. A shared hosting account means that your server is used by a number of other shared hosting customers with the web host. There is generally enough disk space and bandwidth for small websites, and some other features such as email, FTP, PHP, and MySQL databases are often included.

Virtual private servers: Known as VPS for short, these allow you to have nearly as much control as a full dedicated server, however, the server itself is shared with several other virtual private server customers. As more system resources may be available, the quality and reliability of the VPS may be better than shared web hosting. Websites with medium size and traffic frequently work well on such a package, which costs more than shared hosting, but still a fraction of dedicated hosting.

Dedicated servers: Large-scale sites and those which are heavily-trafficked may be in need of a dedicated server for their web hosting. This means an entire computer (server) is available for a single client. These may be costly, although some lower-end ones are available for cheap prices, for customers who need more than a VPS offers, but have no use for a high-end dedicated server.

Clustered servers: Websites with extremely high amounts of traffic may become too intensive for even a whole server. In this case, clustered servers can be used in order to have multiple computers handling a single website.

When taking into consideration which type of web hosting, looking at the features each package offers may also prove useful. Does the account provide enough disk space, bandwidth and email addresses? Are sufficient databases provided, along with the scripting languages the website will need? Is it compatible with the minimum requirements of any third-party software that will be used, such as for a forum or blog? Is the control panel, such as cPanel, Plesk, or a proprietary one, suitable for you?

Once you have a plan for what type of web hosting and what specifications you need, choosing a particular hosting plan may become an easier task.

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