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Choosing a good host is 99% of the battle. The old saying 'you get what you pay for' has never been more true. In this screencast, we'll look at the different types of hosting and what to look for when choosing a good web host, and then we'll wrap things up with my personal collection of reputable and reliable hosts. In general, there are four different types of hosting: shared, virtual, dedicated and cloud hosting. Shared hosting is good for multiple web sites on the same server. Generally, it's lower cost than the other types of hosting, and you can get most of the common features that you need, such as software, and so on.
You also have limited flexibility and control as one of the downsides. I would say that shared hosting is probably best for blogs and small sites running standard software. Next is virtual private hosting which is similar to dedicated hosting, but at a lower price. With virtual private hosting, multiple sites are stored on the same server in what are called virtual containers. Most virtual private servers provide root access and full control over features, software, and tools.
I would say virtual private servers are probably best for sites that need more control, but at a lower cost. Next we have dedicated servers which provide maximum control over the web server. The entire server is dedicated for your web site, and of course with this kind of service, dedicated server are going to be more expensive than other types of hosting options. I would say that dedicated servers are best for sites needing full control, strong flexibility, and great performance.
Next, we have cloud hosting which is infinitely scalable and designed to handle large traffic spikes. With cloud hosting, sites are hosted across multiple servers, which are referred to collectively as a cloud. Cloud hosting generally provides all the features required by most sites and is best for sites with lots of traffic or lots of unpredictable traffic spikes and surges. When looking for a good host, it's important to determine your needs. If you have a regular blog or a small site with moderate traffic, shared hosting is probably going to be fine.
For larger sites, needing more control over software and features, virtual private hosting is probably the best bet. For total control over every aspect, you want your own dedicated server. And then lastly, if you have a site with large traffic spikes or massive amounts of traffic, cloud hosting is going to provide you the scalability and flexibility needed to keep up. A great way to get the scoop on potential web hosts is to hit the search engines.
Google around for stuff like webhostname review, or webhostname downtime where webhostname is the name of your host that you are considering. As you search, look for hosting forums where people are sharing experiences with potential hosts. I've gleaned much insight from reading about good and bad experiences of others. Along the way, I've put together a collection of hosts that I found to be pretty great and worth checking out. First there's Media Temple where I am hosted currently.
Media Temple is great. I would stay away from their Grid Server and go with anything above Grid, dv or ve or any of these other options here, and you're going to have an excellent experience with them. There is also linode.com which is great with virtual private hosting and cloud hosting. Laughing Squid, this is an underground favorite. They have excellent customer service, and their servers are very reliable and consistent. WiredTree has phenomenal service and some great deals on managed virtual private servers, and so on.
Rackspace, if you absolutely need the best and can afford it, Rackspace should be something that you definitely look at. midPhase, another great host with affordable prices. Joyent is used by many people and is another excellent host. There's also squarespace, which provides just about every kind of hosting you could want and also has excellent customer service. CloudFlalre is another one, and ServInt.net is another host that you should check out as you begin looking for the best possible host for your site.
To see my entire collection of collected hosts, visit delicious.com/perishable/hosting. In this screencast, we've explored the different types of web hosting and what to look for when choosing the best possible host for your site. I've also shared my private collection of top hosts to help you get started with your own search. Once you know what you are looking for, the tips presented here will help you find the best host for your site.
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