So we have our domain and we want to publish our webpage. We’re going to need a machine capabable of running 24/7 every day of the year which is accessible from any point of the planet. Normally we would hire a hosting service from a specialized company, one which also carries additional services (ex. email, databases, SSL certificates, a DNS, etc). There is a large variety of services and prices which we can split into 4 big sections. The option we choose will depend on our needs and economic capacity:
- Low cost/Free Hosting
It’s price is its perk, however they tend to offer less resources and, in many cases, their availability and performance leave much to be desired. They are recommendable only for testing or simple personal projects. It’s sort of like going on vacation to an acquaintance’s house or renting a flat between many people: it might be an experience we wish not to relive once again.
- Shared Hosting
It’s one of the more common solutions. Users who share the same server have some degree of isolation between each other and access to resources (space, bandwith, databases, etc) is usually guaranteed. They may be specialized in specific CMS (WordPress, Prestashop, Joomla). Price varies with the services and resources hired. They are a viable option to start off our project with, besides we needn’t worry about administrating our own server. It’s the equivalent of booking a room in a hotel for our holidays.
- Virtual Private Servers (VPS)
Even though the physical machine is shared, users are completely separate from each other and they have full control over their hired resources. The downside is that we have to manage our own server, although it is possible to hire this type of service at an additional cost. Up to relatively recently these had a considerably greater cost to shared hosting and they were used for relatively large projects. Its equivalent is renting an apartment.
- Dedicated Servers
In this case the user is the exclusive owner of an entire machine. There is complete freedom, but the cost enormously increases. We’re no longer renting, we’re buying the house. Now on top of the renting, we’re taking care of its maintenance. As such they greatly exceed the needs of the majority of projects.
Until recently the only somewhat affordable service was shared hosting. However, with hardware costs decreasing and the big companies (Amazon, Google and Microsoft) competing with each other, virtual private servers are within anybody’s grasp. With prices lowering (AWS and Google Cloud offer machines for as low as $5 a month), one can acquire a much superior service over traditional shared hosting services. Administration and management of services is an ever simpler task, and should we not want to take care of them, we can hire a service for this at very reasonable costs.
Nowadays it’s completely viable to run a VPS from the get go for the needs of our project. Google and Amazon offer a year of free use for new clients, which is a great incentive to test the boundaries of their services. On contrast, there is a large quantity of available services, many of which offer a layer of free use. In my opinion, on this day and age one can acquire a VPS at a cost similar to that of a shared hosting service.
One of the main goals of this site is to offer as much information and help as possible so as to make the transition as swift and effortlessas possible. May the experience gained by me make the path easier for you all.