web hosting

The Ultimate Web Hosting Guide – Everything You Need To Know

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If you have found yourself scratching your head at the word “web hosting” then you might be surprised to know that you are not the only one.

Matter of fact, I am still surprised by the number of people that still ask if there is a difference between WordPress and Bluehost.

Trust me, it is not that obvious.

When I started my first blog 8 years ago, I accidentally hosted my site on a free wordpress.com domain and had no idea what I was doing.

So to make sure you avoid making the mistakes that I made, I want to give you all the information you need to know.

Just this weekend, in our Blogging 101 group, someone asked me to explain the basics of web hosting and the different services you can get.

So if you are also about to start your online journey and need to figure out how to start hosting your site, then this article is for you.

What Is Web Hosting?

what is web hosting

If you read my full Bluehost review then you probably already know a little bit about what web hosting is.

But take this as a refresher course.

Web hosting is basically when a company provides space and storage on the internet and then rents it out to people.

It’s like carving your own little piece out of the internet pie.

They provide the servers, and you pay a fee to be there.

What Is The Difference Between WordPress and Web Hosting

Most beginners get confused and think that if they start their site on WordPress.com, then is it a fully hosted website that they own.

This is not necessarily the case.

WordPress is essentially a CMS (Content Management System) meaning it was made to allow you to create and save content.

However, WordPress also provides hosting for your website.

If you have your website on wordpress.com and you are not paying for it, then you have what we call “free hosting” meaning you are not paying for it.

However, this also means that you will have a nice wordpress.com stuck to the back of your domain name. Like this:


As you can see, it does not look so nice. You also will have a very limited amount of features available to you.

If you decide to host your site on WordPress.org, or any other hosting provider, you will be asked to choose a plan that you can pay for and actually own your own domain.

So your domain name would look like this instead:


Not only do you get better features, but you have full ownership of your website and this is much better for your SEO as well.

What is WordPress Hosting?

Now you may be wondering then why you see something called WordPress Hosting on other hosting platforms.

That is because WordPress hosting is not limited just WordPress.org.

Any hosting provider can decide to provide dedicated WordPress hosting as a plan as well. This means that you must use WordPress as your CMS.

If you have another CMS then you can not use WordPress hosting.

What Are The Different Types Of Hosting Options Available?

Now that you know what hosting is and also know what WordPress hosting is, we can now move on to the most common hosting services that you can usually find with any provider.

These services are available for almost any CMS so if you don’t want to use WordPress then you don’t have to.

However, I highly suggest that if you are looking to build a blog or website with a lot of authority in the future, then you are going to want to stick to WordPress.

It is by far the easiest and most dominant CMS available with over 40% off all websites on the internet hosted on it.

Just some food for thought.

Shared Web Hosting

If you are a beginner, most likely shared hosting is what you are going to want to start with.

Not just because it is usually the cheapest plan but also because it is the one that is going to be the easiest to start with.

Shared hosting basically means that you are sharing a server with other websites.

I usually use an apartment metaphor to explain it a bit more.

Shared hosting is like renting an apartment in an apartment building. You have your own space, but you are sharing the building with other tenants.

The concept is simple and is actually one of the best options for beginners.

Best Shared Web Hosting Providers

Virtual Private Server (VPS)

what is virtual private hosting

Virtual Private Servers are a little more complicated than shared hosting plans.

For one, you do not share the hosting space with anyone else. You get your own RAM, CPU, and other core features.

However, instead of it being just one server for you, the hosting provider will split up that one server into a network of multiple servers.

Going back to my apartment here, think of it as a huge 5000 square foot apartment.

Instead of having just one open-floor studio layout, it is split up into several different rooms. If the light goes out in one room for some random reason, you can just move to the next room.

The same goes for VPS servers. If for some reason one part of your server goes down, you can just move on to the next one.

Best VPS Web Hosting Providers

Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated hosting is also one of the more expensive options.

It means that you actually have a whole server to yourself.

So this is no longer an apartment in the building.

This is a house on the block.

With this house comes also a lot of responsibility. You now have to make sure that you can fully handle and take care of your own server.

So if you are a beginner who doesn’t know much about being an administrator for a website, you might want to steer clear of this one.

Or you may want to hire a developer to help you out instead.

It may be a bit more pricey but it is definitely worth it.

Best Dedicated Web Hosting Providers

Managed Hosting Service

what is managed hosting

Managed web hosting is actually another form of dedicated web hosting. However, instead of having to take care of everything yourself, the provider will manage it for you.

You get leased a dedicated server but you will be able to tell the provider what you want to do.

You may be thinking that this is a perfect solution.

They will do all of the back-ups, provide the necessary security functions, and also support your applications.

I must admit, it sounds pretty sweet.

However, keep in mind that this also means that if you want to make any direct or urgent changes, you will have a bit of a delay.

You will first need to contact the hosting provider and tell them what you need and then wait for them to do it.

So it does have its cons but it also has a lot of advantages.

Best Managed Web Hosting Providers

Cloud Hosting

what is cloud hosting

Cloud hosting is a newer type of hosting but it is already in very high demand.

Similar to Virtual Private Hosting, it also has several servers involved. However, it is not just a single server that is separated into different partitions.

It is a network of both physical and cloud-based servers that are all interconnected. This kind of hosting almost always guarantees both speed and full uptime for your website.

As amazing as it is, it is also very important that you choose a hosting provider that is very secure what it comes to cloud hosting.

There is always a bit more of a risk when it comes to security and cloud-based services so it is just something to keep in mind.

Best Cloud Hosting Providers

Home Server

what is a home server

This one is one of the least common and probably most expensive as well. But security and control-wise, you really can’t get any better than this.

A home server is when you build and host your own server from a private residence. Whether it is in your own home, or another space doesn’t matter.

It is fully up to you and under your control.

I wish I was smart enough to be able to do this myself because this definitely takes some skill and a big investment.

Here are the things you will need to be able to make it happen:

  • Processor
  • Motherboard
  • Memory (RAM)
  • Storage
  • Graphics Card
  • Casing
  • Power Supply and UPS
  • Operating System

To give you an idea of what you need and how much it is going to cost, here are some of the best choices for the different parts:



Memory (RAM)


Graphics Card


Power Supply and UPS

Operating System

This can actually be completely free for you if you decide to run it on Linux.

These are just some of the top choices but PLEASE do your research before you start and make sure you choose what is right for you.

Final Thoughts On Web Hosting

There are plenty of options for you to choose from when it comes to web hosting. The most important things to keep in mind before you make your decision is:

  • What do you need?
  • How much are you willing to pay?
  • How high is your skill level?

With these things in mind, you should be able to make a smart decision.

But don’t worry if it takes some time.

If you want to look into some more hosting providers, you can look at this list of the 11 most popular hosting providers for small businesses.

I also have some other resources that you may find useful for your online journey so make sure you take a look at our amazing resources page.

With all of this in mind, you are going to be able to find what you need.