When it comes to picking the right web hosting plan for your business, countless packages are available across so many web hosting providers and companies. Sifting through the different types of web hosting can leave you with a headache — but if you pick one at random, you’ll likely end up with a hosting plan that does your business more harm than good.
In this guide, you will discover the types of hosting and how to choose a web hosting service provider and plan that are the perfect fit for your business.
Types of web hosting
There are several types of web hosting services available to accommodate different website and application needs, each with its unique features and benefits.
Here are a few common types of web hosting.
Shared hosting has the advantage of being more affordable than most other types of hosting. That’s because these plans share the same server and resources. One web server will have multiple customers using its resources simultaneously.
In addition to being affordable, shared plans are also easier to manage, making them an excellent choice for beginners and small businesses without an IT team.
Dedicated hosting offers unparalleled performance, security, and control. With an entire server to yourself, it ensures consistent and optimal performance, making it ideal for resource-intensive applications.
While pricier, it is the top choice for businesses demanding the highest reliability and customization.
VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting balances cost efficiency and flexibility. It’s suitable for growing websites and applications needing more resources and control than shared hosting. You can scale resources as needed and enjoy increased security.
VPS suits businesses with varying traffic demands and a need for customization.
How to choose the right web hosting plan
The process of selecting the right web hosting plan involves these steps:
Before diving into specifics, it’s important to know the complete process of picking a web hosting plan.
Step 1: Determine what type of website you want to build and host
Define why you want to create and host a website.
If you own a small business, the purpose of your website may be to have an online presence for your company and increase its reach. In that case, you could meet those requirements using a simple website with a few pages about your business’s services, some testimonials from clients and perhaps a blog section.
On the other hand, what if you run a brick-and-mortar retail store and want to start an online version of your store? For this, you would need an eCommerce website with a secure online payment solution, customer support channels, order tracking and media-rich pages for each product.
Each type of website requires a different set of features to perform at its best. This plays a significant role in determining the hosting plan you will need.
Step 2: Outline the web hosting requirements for your website
Once you know what kind of website you want to create, you can identify the type of hosting you need to get your website online. Use the following questions to guide you at this stage of the process:
- Which platform will you use to build your website?
- How much traffic do you expect your website to receive?
- What level of security does your audience need?
- Will your website have a lot of media files?
- How vital are speed and uptime to you?
- Do you have the technical capacity to build and manage the website on your own?
- What is your web hosting budget?
- How much do you expect or want your website to grow in the future?
- What functionalities should the website have?
Answering these questions will determine the best type of hosting for you.
Step 3: Choose an appropriate web hosting provider
Now that you know what kind of web hosting you need, it’s time to find a web host that offers the right plans. You will likely find dozens based on your requirements. How do you narrow down the list?
Pay attention to the additional features that each service provider includes with its plan. These features will help you figure out the best value for your money. Feel free to chat with the sales team and ask questions.
Look out for customer and expert reviews about the quality of service. These reviews are a good indicator of what you’ll experience. Using these investigative steps, narrow your options to the provider that offers above and beyond what you need.
Step 4: Review the available hosting plans and select the right one
Compare the features of each plan from your chosen web hosting company. You may also see different packages for each plan type. For example, Bluehost has shared hosting plans for both WordPress websites and WooCommerce stores.
If you intend to set up an online store, look at the WooCommerce plans. If you’re starting a WordPress website for your personal blog or small to medium size business, Bluehost has you covered as well.
If your chosen hosting solution offers different price tiers, compare the features in each one and select whichever tier best matches the requirements you outlined in step two.
Now that you understand the process, consider in-depth tips on completing the steps.
When should you upgrade your hosting plan?
Upgrading your hosting plan is a crucial decision that can significantly impact your website’s performance, reliability, and overall user experience.
Here are some key indicators that it’s time to consider upgrading your hosting plan:
- Slow Website Performance: If your website experiences slow loading times, frequent downtime, or sluggish response rates, it’s a sign that your current hosting plan may not be able to handle your traffic and resource demands. Upgrading to a higher-tier plan with more resources can improve speed and reliability.
- Traffic Growth: It’s a good time to evaluate your hosting bandwidth if you notice a consistent rise in visitors. This is one of the moments when you should consider upgrading to a more robust hosting solution to withstand the growing traffic.
- Resource Limitations: If you frequently encounter resource limitations such as CPU or memory shortages, especially during traffic spikes, it’s a clear signal to upgrade. Resource constraints can lead to website crashes and poor user experiences.
- Security Concerns: Hosting plans with inadequate security measures can leave your website vulnerable to attacks. If you handle sensitive data or experience security breaches, it’s time to consider upgrading to a plan with enhanced security features and support.
- Future Expansion: If you have plans to expand your online presence, such as launching additional websites or applications, upgrading your hosting plan in advance can ensure you’re prepared for future growth.
How to assess your web hosting needs
As you define the purpose of your website, you’ll recognize which functions will make it possible for your website to fulfill its purpose. Consider the following factors when creating a requirements list for your website.
For eCommerce websites, there’s even more to consider. You can use WordPress with a plugin like WooCommerce. Alternatively, you can use SaaS eCommerce platforms like Shopify.
Your website’s performance requirements are strongly linked to its purpose.
Small business websites often work with a single server or shared hosting plan. In contrast, an enterprise organization that runs custom web applications requires a dedicated hosting plan with more computing power and scalable infrastructure.
The quantity of space needed for your website will affect the type of hosting you need.
To illustrate: A personal blog may not need as much storage as a website for a multimedia company. That’s because the latter would upload primarily videos and other media files to its website, which takes up a lot of space. The blog would presumably focus more on text-based content, using fewer media files.
Pick a plan with a comfortable amount of storage, making sure to consider space for future content as your website grows over the years.
Websites vary in their security needs. While all sites should maintain basic security, e-commerce platforms handling sensitive data must adhere to stringent standards like Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). Conversely, a small business site may suffice with an SSL certificate to secure page visits, as long as it doesn’t collect sensitive data. Security measures should align with the nature of data handled to ensure user trust and compliance.
For your website to achieve its purpose, will it require additional features from the hosting provider or a third-party vendor?
Consider these examples:
- To run a news website that constantly updates its content, an owner can seek a hosting provider offering daily backups.
- For security reasons, malware detection may be a focus for someone running a bookkeeping website where clients submit their tax info.
- A business owner with international customers may prioritize content delivery networks to increase load speeds for everyone.
If you’re unsure what you’ll need, take a peek at your hosting solution’s features and see if any resonate with you.
A web host may bundle some of these features as part of a managed hosting plan. Alternatively, you can visit third-party vendors to purchase the features as add-ons and integrate them into your website.
Consider your team’s technical expertise when choosing a hosting solution. Building a website from code demands more skills than using a CMS. Additionally, managed hosting plans are easier to navigate than dedicated or VPS hosting plans. So, assess your team’s capabilities or opt for a cloud hosting or service with support to meet your requirements effectively.
Bandwidth is crucial for website responsiveness. High-traffic sites need unmetered or high-capacity bandwidth. Server specs, including storage type, RAM, and PHP workers, are equally vital for performance, alongside bandwidth.
Factors to look out for while choosing the web hosting plan
Knowing your web hosting requirements is just one part of the equation. You also need to find a good web hosting provider. To do so, pay attention to the following features.
1: Server speed
Server response time measures how quickly (in milliseconds) content loads when a webpage is accessed from a web hosting company’s servers. It’s a decent measure of how well you can expect your website to perform when you host it with that company.
Slower response times can reduce the responsiveness of your website, leading to a bad user experience for visitors. Across the globe, the average response time for Bluehost is 153 ms, faster than Google’s recommendation of 200 ms.
Server uptime reflects a hosting company’s reliability. Higher uptime ensures fewer website outages. The closer to 100% a hosting provider’s server uptime figure is, the more peace of mind you’ll have. The overall uptime for Bluehost’s dedicated servers, measured since 2018, is 99.98%
Consider web hosting plan costs when choosing a provider. Compare prices from other web hosts, making sure to factor in the features included in each package.
Bluehost offers affordable options starting at $2.95/month for basic shared web hosting. Committing to three years upfront can save up to 50%, eliminating hosting fees for 36 months. Compare prices and features with other hosts.
4: Customer support
The scope and quality of customer support will impact how well you can make use of your web hosting. Moreover, good support is crucial for businesses with limited technical skills across the team.
Bluehost offers 24/7 customer support to all its customers, on all plans. Also, technical support is available across several channels, including phone calls, chat and email.
This level of support makes Bluehost one of the best choices for beginners who need access to immediate help as they are building, tweaking, or fixing their websites.
5: Type of hosting plan from Bluehost
Plans can be based on the type of web hosting or the customer’s use case. A web host that offers plans based on a mix of these criteria is more likely to meet your requirements.
Bluehost has over a dozen web hosting plans across shared, VPS and dedicated hosting. It also caters to WordPress users — and to eCommerce store creators, who should opt for the WooCommerce hosting plans.
So whether you’re an individual looking to start a simple website or a large corporation that needs specialized hosting infrastructure, Bluehost has a package that can meet your requirements.
Bluehost web hosting plan comparison
Bluehost has several different hosting plans, each of which falls under the following web hosting types:
- Shared hosting plan.
- Dedicated hosting plan.
- VPS hosting plan.
Shared hosting plans
Each shared hosting plan from Bluehost focuses on either WordPress hosting for simple websites or WooCommerce hosting for eCommerce businesses. All of Bluehost’s shared hosting plans include the following features.
- Free SSL certificates: These certificates are necessary to ensure the confidentiality and integrity of eCommerce transactions, personal information and other sensitive data on your website.
- Automatic WordPress installation: Once you pay for and create a hosting plan, Bluehost installs the most recent version of WordPress so you can promptly start building your websites.
- Custom WordPress themes: Shared plan customers also have access to the Wonder theme, a block-based WordPress design template you can customize to create cool websites or online store designs.
- WordPress Academy: This is an eLearning portal with video lessons to help you build a WordPress site from scratch and customize it to meet your needs.
- Resource protection: This feature ensures that your website maintains its performance and remains unaffected by the resource usage of other shared hosting customers on your server.
- Automatic malware scans: Consistent detection and protection against viruses and malicious software.
Shared hosting plans are great for:
- Individuals who want to start a personal website or blog.
- Small and medium-sized business owners looking to increase their online presence.
- eCommerce business owners who don’t expect much traffic.
Pricing for Bluehost’s shared hosting plans starts at $2.95 per month with the basic plan and goes up to $13.95 per month with the pro plan.
Dedicated hosting plans
What’s the difference between dedicated and shared hosting plans? Well, Bluehost’s dedicated server plans fit customers who need more powerful infrastructure and greater control over their setup.
For these customers, Bluehost offers the following benefits of dedicated hosting:
- Multi-server management: Easily scale your infrastructure by bundling more hosting services. You can use one account to manage all the hosting services you accumulate.
- Complete server control: You’ll have unrestricted access to manage and maintain your Linux-based hosting server. Install whatever software you want, and set up your own monitoring and security features. You’ll even get a dedicated IP address to use for your web applications.
- cPanel access: Dedicated hosting plans include the cPanel management platform. This control panel application gives users a central location to manage email accounts, websites, subdomains and server resources.
- Unmetered bandwidth: Dedicated hosting customers aren’t charged according to the bandwidth they use during normal operations. This particular feature is subject to terms of service that require you avoid exceeding 25% of the system’s resources for more than 90 seconds.
Dedicated hosting plans are perfect for:
- Enterprise businesses with multiple websites.
- eCommerce businesses pulling a lot of internet traffic.
- Clients with web applications that have unique hosting requirements.
- Clients with resource-intensive websites.
The standard dedicated hosting plan from Bluehost is $89.98 per month and gives you access to a four-core, eight-thread server. The server uses an Intel Xeon-D CPU, eight GB of RAM and a one TB hard disk drive.
Virtual private server hosting plans
VPS is compared to shared hosting and dedicated hosting — it’s the sweet spot in between. You’ll get some of the cost savings from shared hosting plans and some of the perks of dedicated hosting, like improved performance and control. Bluehost VPS hosting includes the following features:
- Dedicated resources: Server resources allocated to your virtual server are solely for your use. You don’t have to worry about other customers’ websites affecting your performance.
- Unlimited websites: With a VPS hosting plan, you can host as many websites as you want.
- Solid-state drives (SSDs): All VPS plans use servers with SSDs for improved read/write speeds. This translates to an impressive performance boost for your websites.
- Unmetered bandwidth: VPS plan users don’t pay for bandwidth by usage, provided they avoid using too much of the system’s resources at once.
VPS plans will work best for:
- Medium or large-scale businesses that don’t have the budget for a dedicated plan but still require improved hosting performance and control.
- Web application developers.
The price for standard VPS hosting from Bluehost is $29.99 per month. Customers will get a VPS configured with two GB of RAM, a two-core CPU and 120 GB of SSD storage.
Final thoughts: How to choose the best hosting plan
The key to getting the right hosting plan lies in understanding your website’s needs. Once you know them, find a reliable hosting provider and choose the package that works best for your requirements.
Bluehost has provided excellent web hosting services to millions of satisfied customers for over a decade. If you’re looking for easy-to-use, WordPress-recommended hosting and 24/7 professional customer support, check out Bluehost’s hosting plans to get started.
Bluehost plan comparison FAQs
Yes: If you choose a VPS or dedicated hosting plan from Bluehost, you can pay monthly. Bluehost does not offer the option to pay monthly for shared hosting plans. With a shared hosting plan, you can pay upfront for either a year or three years.
You can easily upgrade your hosting plan at any time with Bluehost. If your current hosting doesn’t meet your needs, contact the support team and schedule an upgrade to a higher-tier plan.
This also applies to upgrades between different hosting types, like switching from shared hosting to VPS. Depending on when the upgrade happens, Bluehost will recalculate your monthly pricing to reflect the cost of the new hosting plan.
Customers needing to downgrade a hosting plan can cancel the original plan and buy a lower-tier one.
If you purchase a Bluehost plan to host a WordPress website, you don’t need to pay an additional fee to access or install WordPress. That’s because WordPress is free to use.
In fact, if you use any of the WordPress plans from Bluehost, WordPress is automatically installed for you during the setup of your hosting environment, at no extra cost.
Bluehost’s Choice Plus plan is recommended for shared hosting customers needing a great mix of features and affordability. It offers the most savings of any plan from Bluehost, with over 50% off the total cost if you pay for three years upfront. Specifically, that’s $268.20 for three years instead of the $545.16 you’d pay in yearly installments.
Plus, you get the following features:
● 40 GB of SSD storage.
● Free content delivery network (CDN).
● Hosting for unlimited websites.
● Free domain name for the first year.
● Custom WordPress design themes.
● Free SSL certificates.
● Free daily website backups for the first year.
● Domain privacy.
● Malware scanning.