If you do not want to spend money on hosting, free web hosting is your choice. This is better for a small site or you want to build a backup site for your existing site. You do not mind free ads, banners and pop ups on your site. The biggest advantage is that you do not need to pay a price. It’s free. It is best suited for testing purposes and for students. There are many drawbacks. The web host shows advertisement on your site to grab money. The disk space and bandwidth is low. There is limit on the file upload size. They often do not provide you the feature of sub domains instead they provide you directory. The domains are like yourusername.webhost.com. They do not provide the business features like shopping carts, databases etc.
Virtual or Shared Web Hosting
Shared web hosting means that there is one server (hardware and software) and many sites are hosted on it. You do not have total control on the server. Web hosts provide control panels to access the site and to maximize the revenue per server. You must see the terms of service before choosing shared hosting. Check whether there are scripts or software web host is not providing. The biggest disadvantage of shared web hosting is that if any of the websites goes down due to error, all other websites will be down.
Virtual Private Server (VPS) Web Hosting
Virtual Private Server (VPS) is also called Virtual Dedicated Server (VDS). You may have surprised by this term but it simply means that there is one server but the resource allocation is in such a way that each customer will get a dedicated environment. Customer has the feeling that no one else is using this server hence it is called virtual dedicated server. It is secure system because though the CPU and RAM is shared but file system is unique. If someone hacks a website then he will not be able to disturb other website because you have your own file system and only you can access that. A VPS is much cheaper solution than a dedicated server.
The disadvantage is that hosting providers oversell shared space. It means selling physical resources more than hosting providers have mentioned in the terms of service (TOS). If there are more customers and everyone has shared the physical resources and you oversell then overall robust environment can not be provided.
Dedicated Web Hosting
In a shared environment, many websites of different customers share the same server resources while in dedicated server environment, you own a dedicated server with complete control of your own control on software and hardware. Dedicated server is just like your own personal computer with your total control but the difference is that it is located in some data center. You can host as many sites as you want and install any scripts and software you want. This type of hosting service is best for CPU intensive applications. For example if you have millions of users accessing your website same time then you must consider this kind of service. The uptime is guaranteed.
There are cons of this type of hosting. First is the cost. Dedicated servers are costly because there is a setup fee and you need an expert to do that. In shared server environment, hosting provider only created a new hosting account. In dedicated server environment, the provider has to install and configure operating system for you and the hardware. You need an expert administrator to install software patches for you. The hourly rate for these professionals is higher than the support engineers who manage shared hosting accounts.
Managed Web Hosting
You buy a dedicated server but if you do not have technical skills than it is of no use. Hosting providers added another layer on top of dedicated server where you hire the server management facilities. A person having technical knowledge of installing software patches and other management activities does the job for you and you do not need to worry about the server if it crashes. They take regular backups for you. They install the software needed. They only provide you FTP to upload your content and they manage all the other technical stuff.
The drawback of this kind of hosting is the cost. This is the most costly solution but the advantage is that you only need to focus on the website content. Website hosting and administration is the duty of hosting provider.
Collocated Web Hosting
If you are not satisfied with managed hosting then you can choose to buy your own server from vendor, install all the required hardware and software and place it in some data center. You only use the infrastructure provided by the data center. You will have full control of the server with the infrastructure and administration facility of the data center. Most providers offer secure cages to place the server inside. The big companies on the Internet use this kind of hosting. You can best customize your server using this kind of hosting. You can increase the hardware and can install the software as you like. You are responsible to buy hardware and software and you are responsible for it if anything goes wrong.
You as a customer manage the server and you are responsible for any problem. If you hire some service as a part of TOS then you will have to pay extra.
Reseller Web Hosting
It is simple. You sell the hosting provider server space under your own brand. This is a contract between you and hosting provider. Agreements can be based on per server sign ups. You sell hosting package the hosting provider is providing and pay the fee to provider. The second option is carte-blanche. You pay a set fee and receive a certain resource and you can resell it independently. Third option is leasing a dedicated server. You resell the web space and keep all the profits.
This type of hosting pays you the most. Most of the IT companies offer design and development services and they also offer hosting. So, the clients have advantage of getting all the services under one roof. You must be very much technical if you want to delve into this business. You have to provide 24×7 support services to the clients. It is good for multiple domain hosting. The best option is that you buy a dedicated server and start the hosting business.