Web hosting can seem complicated, but once you understand the four main types of hosting, and the basic terms you’ll run into as you look into your options, it’s not so complicated after all. Before we delve into the details, consider this: 95% of small businesses will find the right fit in Godaddy.

Their Deluxe hosting package costs just $5.99 a month, is often the right fit for businesses with fewer than 500 visitors per day, and includes a mobile site and anytime, anywhere access from a U.S. based support team who can walk you through the setup process. If you want all the details on all the options, read on for the full overview.

What is Web Hosting?

The information you post on your website has to reside somewhere. That ‘somewhere’ is known as a server, which is just a computer with software that allows it to host the files on your website and serve them to visitors. Technically it would be possible to host a website on your own computer, but most people don’t have the know-how or desire to deal with the hassle. That’s where web hosting companies come in.

The 5 Basic Types of Web Hosting Packages

A website with 100,000 visitors a day has very different needs than a website with 100 visitors a day, which is why there are numerous packages available. Let’s take a look at the five most common packages.

1. Shared Hosting (<$10/month)

Main advantage: Low cost.

Main disadvantage: Less control.

Top pick for: The majority of small businesses.

Shared hosting is similar to numerous people renting a large room and sharing it. In the past, one site generating a lot of traffic slowed down all sites on the shared host, but thanks to new technology from hosting providers like Godaddy, this problem is a thing of the past.

2. Virtual Private Server ($20 – $150/month)

Main advantage: More control compared to share hosting.

Main disadvantage: Cost and complication aren’t worth the money for most businesses.

Top pick for: Small companies who need control over the server.

Virtual private servers (VPS) are like renting an apartment where the building is shared, but each tenant gets a specific amount of dedicated space.

3. Dedicated Server ($100-$250/month-per server) and Co-Location Facilities ($200+month +cost of equipment)

Main advantage: Total control.

Main disadvantage: Costly and complicated.

Top pick for: Large companies who need a lot of control.

Dedicated servers are like renting a house with no other tenants: you have total control over everything and virtually unlimited options for configuration for your rented servers, while co-locations are like owning a home but hiring a company to take care of the maintenance. It’s essentially identical to dedicated hosting, except you buy the servers.

4. Cloud Hosting (price varies)

Main advantage: Capacity and costs scale as needed

Main disadvantage: Less control

Top pick for: Businesses with inconsistent traffic

The new kid on the block, cloud hosting, is like traditional utilities in that you only pay for what you use, but it does not include the control you get with your own server.

Basic Hosting Terms

Bandwidth – The volume of traffic that your site can handle. While some companies claim to provide unlimited bandwidth, it’s not always true – with some packages, the more bandwidth you use, the slower it is.

Disk/Storage Space – The amount of space on a server that your files can use. Most web hosting packages have plenty of disk/storage space, but companies with many images or videos may need more.

Linux vs. Windows Servers – If you don’t know the difference, then the most popular option, Linux, is likely the right choice for you. There are specific situations in which Windows is the right choice, but for most applications Linux is the most effective.

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate – SSL certificates are typically a must-have security add-on if you’re accepting credit cards directly, but for most websites that use third party services like PayPal, an SSL certificate is likely not needed.