Web hosting is the service you use to put your website on the internet so that is accessible to other internet users. There are 3 main types of web hosting:
• Shared Hosting
• Virtual Hosting
• Dedicated Hosting
Shared Web Hosting is the most basic form of web hosting, where each user is given a certain amount of disk space on a server. This is the best option for small sites, with low volumes of traffic, so is great for when you are just starting out with your website.
Due to the fact that the other server components such as RAM and CPU usage are shared by all the sites hosted on the shared server, a couple of busy sites could slow down all the other sites on the server, and in some cases make the sites unavailable. Once your site becomes busy you may want to upgrade to Virtual Server Hosting to avoid disappointing your customers when your site fails from becoming overloaded.
Virtual Server Hosting is basically the next level of web hosting this is a different method of splitting a server for hosting purposes. Each virtual server runs its own fully-fledged operating system and each server can be independently rebooted as opposed to shared web hosting where all of this is shared. Consequently each virtual server appears as a dedicated unit to the user from the control Panel.
A virtual server is more reliable as it has a centralised storage area and is available at a lower cost when compared to a dedicated server because of the ability to pool resources lowering hardware costs. This option is also more secure than shared hosting as each virtual server has its own operating system prohibiting the exchange of virus's or spyware.
Dedicated Server Hosting is a step up from virtual hosting because at this level you are renting a physical piece of hardware that has its own processor, hard drive(s), RAM (Random Access Memory) and bandwidth capability. Your applications and/or websites will be hosted exclusively on the dedicated server's hard drives.
This is the best option for busy or large ecommerce sites, and all aspects of the server are fully customisable. It is also the most secure option as the server is only accessed by the user.