What Are Shared, VPS, Co-Location, and Self Hosted Solutions

When you start looking at hosting you will find all kinds of terms being bandied about and quite honestly it can get very confusing. Hopefully this will provide you with some information that will aid you in your understanding.

There are 4 major types of hosting available to each online business owner. They are: Shared, Self Hosted, Virtual Private Server (VPS), and Co-location. To understand what each of these are and what is required of you depending on your choice will  be discussed here. The servers these run on typically are powered by either Centos (Community Enterprise Operating System), or Microsoft’s Windows software.

Server Software:

Microsoft Enterprise Server of course is a product of Microsoft. Microsoft software powers more home computers than any other pc operating system, thus you are most likely familiar with the name. This software uses Microsoft’s SQL distribution as its database.

Centos is a Linux distribution based on the RedHat Linux Enterprise Operating System. It is maintained by a community of programmers that add functions and clear bugs within the code. It uses the MySQL database distribution. The cPanel addon as well as the Web Hosting Manager (WHM) software is a product of the company cPanel.


Is a server that the business owner physically owns that is placed in a data center where the data center provides the physical space, electricity, internet connection and some type of backup power. The owner of this server is required to maintain the hardware and software (Centos, Linux or Windows) along with their respective licenses and updates. This can easily cost $20,000.00 to deploy and yearly cost can be as much or more than the server initial cost.

Virtual Private Server (VPS):

This is space inside a server that the datacenter or hosting company owns. The only similarity to a Co-location server is the data center does not license, own or maintain the software that runs in the virtual space. However they are responsible for maintaining the hardware, and the other items. This has more in common to shared hosting, except the business owner has full control of the software that runs their VPS server. The cost of this can easily be $5,000.00 to $10,000.00 per year or more.

Self Hosted:

This is a fully owned, controlled and maintained server by the person that owns it. Sometimes this can be a true internet or web server, and other times it is a sandbox server to test things in. The cost here can be under a few hundred dollars initially to several thousand. If this is a web server the internet connection and fixed IP address costs can get rather high per year. The yearly cost can be on a level similar to a VPS or Co-Location server.

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Shared Hosting:

This is space on a web server that is owned and maintained by a data center or hosting company. This the least expensive option for hosting a website or online business. If everything works as planned it is the least troublesome to the website or online business. The data center or hosting company maintains the servers, the operating systems, licenses, web connections and backup power supplies.

Where the problems arise is most data centers or hosting companies try to squeeze far too many sites onto one server so they can maximize their revenue. Many limit you with ‘CPU Throttling’, iNode limits and other restrictive measures. Which hurts your site or business by slowing it down. They also use lots of advertising on their servers, such as sending their own 404 pages out, many times in competition to your business when a visitor to your site encounters a page that no longer exists. They do this while advertising unlimited everything, which obviously is not true.

A better and more honest approach is to define exactly what is offered and keep the number of sites hosted on the server far below its available space. This in effect offers you the ability to run your business without having to worry about the hosting company and what they are doing. If you need more space or bandwidth it is a simple task to upgrade your plan.

Even here the better hosting companies do have some restrictive limits. These are put in place more to protect your site than to restrict it. An example would be a site owner that has a script running that is hogging system resources and keeping other sites from being sent to visitors. The hosting company will usually step in and shut that script or account down and notify the owner.

Reseller – Shared Hosting:

This is a form of shared hosting that offers some unique benefits, but it can be troublesome. If you have a few sites and want to protect them from being cross hacked this is an excellent choice. However there are drawbacks, like you must learn new skills like using the Web Host Manager, setting up cPanel accounts, basic account troubleshooting, and of course the increased cost.

Typically, you must sign a longer term contract for services which involves monthly fees versus a yearly fee. Also you would have to verify that the data center or hosting company you choose to work with will respond quickly to your questions, especially if you intend on selling use of some of your space to customers. If you intend to sell space, there are other considerations like support, invoicing and more.

An alternative to this would be multiple shared hosting accounts with the same hosting company.  For example you have 5 websites which could fit into one of  our Premium Hosting packages,  but to provide some protect from cross site hacking, you opt for two Premium Hosting packages. You then separate your sites into the two packages and if a hacker gains access to one package through some means, they would be restricted to only harming those sites within that package typically.

Hope you have enjoyed this explanation of the differences in hosting platforms. Here at Bypass Host we offer shared hosting packages that range from $19.87 to $59.87 per year and supply you the extra tools to succeed. Shouldn’t you be hosting with us?