Website Hosting Options

Website hosting options

Before you choose a website hosting company, you need to decide what ‘type' of website hosting you need.

These can vary from free of charge to tens of thousands of pounds per year. Broadly speaking, they fall into one of the following categories:

Free web hosting is a great choice if you are building a personal website and you are not too worried about speed and reliability. It may have some banner advertising alongside it but you get what you pay for!

Usually, your free web space will have a ‘sub-domain' as its address (although you can point your own domain at it) – usually something like If you are using this free domain name, remember that you cannot transfer it later so if you build a reputation, you will need to manage re-direction to you new domain name.

Best suited for: Personal, hobby and non-critical websites.

A shared hosting environment is probably the most common type of service for small and medium sized websites. With this type of hosting, you share a web server with other websites (both the hardware and software). The biggest benefit of using a shared hosting services is that they are affordable as the cost of running the server is shared between all of the website owners.

The potential downside of shared server hosting is that they are likely to be a bit slower and can have an added security risk – much of this will depend on the website hosting company managing and isolating the individual websites so that one site does not ‘hog' the server's resources.

Shared servers can host anything from 25 to 10,000+ websites and not all shared hosting services are equal – they can vary in quality from being secure, reasonably fast hosting services to slow and insecure so you need to check with the company to see what their reputation is like.

Best suited for: Small and medium traffic websites.

Dedicated Hosting – a dedicated web server means that you have the entire server to yourself. In general, this will be faster as you don't have to share with others. However, this will also be a lot more expensive as you have to pay for the server and its maintenance, the ‘big pipe' connections to the web and everything else completely. This can be a good choice for larger companies with websites that require a lot of system resources or need higher levels of security.

Collocated Hosting This is similar to the dedicated server option but you buy your own server and have it housed (collocated) at a web host data centre. You are still responsible for the server and its maintenance yourself but you have full control (eg over what you install) and do not have to share the server with others.

Best suited for: Large companies with complex web systems.

Virtual Servers have blurred the lines between dedicated/collocated servers and shared servers. Using ‘virtualisation software', you have what appears to be a dedicated or collocated server but it is, in fact, running on the same physical server as several other servers. This has the advantage of reduced running costs over a dedicated/collocated server and is becoming a popular solution that is very scalable and resilient.

Best suited for: Smaller companies / services with complex systems.

Under the managed hosting model, the hosting provider leases and manages the hardware, operating system and other software. This is similar in the level of support you have from the shared hosting service but without any compromise on the performance.

With managed hosting services, they can be highly scalable for very high traffic websites.

Hopefully, these descriptions of the main types of hosting will give you an idea of the options and which is best suited to your business.

Mark WoodroofMark Woodroof is a qualified marketing coach who was awarded a BA(Hons) in Business and a Diploma in Marketing (from the Chartered Institute of Marketing) in the early 1990's and has spent the last 20 years working with private and public sector organisations.

During that time, Mark has worked with hundreds of business owners helping them to grow their businesses, launch new products and services, set up and manage their own marketing plans, websites and digital marketing strategies.

Today, he specialises in Digital Marketing, Social Media, WordPress Development and marketing automation systems such as ActiveCampaign & Infusionsoft.

Mark's areas of expertise include:

  • Marketing Strategy & Planning
  • Software Development Project Management (Microsoft.Net & Laravel)
  • Customer Relationship Management Systems (Infusionsoft, Zoho & Insightly)
  • Web Design & Development
  • Digital Marketing Campaign Development
  • Mailing List Services (eg AWeber, Mailchimp)
  • Traffic Generation Strategies & Tactics
  • Sales Funnels, Squeeze Pages & Online Conversion
  • Customer Value Optimization


  • BA(Hons) Business Studies (University of Portsmouth)
  • Diploma in Marketing (Chartered Institute of Marketing)
  • Level 5 in Coaching and Mentoring (Chartered Management Institute)
  • DigitalMarketer Certifications:
    • Certified Content Marketing Specialist
    • Certified Customer Acquisition Specialist
    • Certified Customer Value Optimization Specialists
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