Why Hosting Prices Differ So Much

In the world of hosting, pricing varies from US$ 2 per month to US$ 20K per month. With such a gap, clients are obviously very confused which one to go for.

Here’s a detailed explanation.

Shared Server
Shared server is typically very cheap, the main reason is that hundreds of small websites are hosted on it by the hosting provider. Typically costs USD 2 up to around USD 20 per domain. So in essence if the hosting provider is hosting 100 domains on one dedicated server (USD 200/month) and charging USD 4.00 per month per domain, the total revenue they generate per server is USD 4 x 100 = USD 400. Which is double the hosting cost but it’s not so easy to calculate as software licensing costs start to add up like Plesk Panel or cPanel.

So which one to go for ?
It’s not that easy to decide.

The issues with Shared Hosting:

  1. SSL certificate are attached to an IP address. In most of cases; you will not be allowed to have your SSL certificate. The impact will be less security and lower SEO rankings by Google.
  2. You do not have dedicated software stack; which means if you have to tune any parameter; you will not be able to do that.
  3. Your bandwidth and usage is limited; which means that if you become popular, your website will be taken down by the hosting provider as it will be consuming more resources than they allocated to you.
  4. Since the whole server is using only one IP address; if one of the other websites get black listed; your website will suffer as well.
  5. Lastly, since it shares the same software stack; if one website gets hacked; hackers will have access to your data as well.

How to counter negative effects
You get what you pay for. So in essence you can not do anything about it except hope that the system administrators that your hosting provider employs are best of the best to keep you covered from hacking and responsive to cater to your needs.

Recommended for
Static websites; small websites, no login or customer information gathering; even the contact us form. In essence, for businesses less than 5 employees.

Dedicated Server
A dedicated server is hardware hosted in a data center and is exclusively assigned to you. You have your own instance of Operating System and Hardware. Typically a good configuration starts from USD 200 onwards. The pricing differs massively across different geographies and explanation is provided later.

The issues with Dedicated Hosting

  1. Hardware does fail. And if it does; your server will go down till your hosting provider replaces the hardware.
  2. In addition, within hardware disks fail the most. So there is a high potential that your data will be lost. In most cases; you will not buy central storage space on specialized storage racks and will be storing your information on local system disks.

How to counter it
Make sure you purchase managed hosting as well. Most of the server have redundancy built in; meaning if one component fails; it still keeps running. Since, its not located at your workplace; you will not see any Amber LEDs to depict that HW has failed. And you will be checking your system logs often to ensure no HW failure has occurred. Which means you will only get to know that something was wrong when the system goes down; managed hosting will ensure that hosting provider system admins will do regular maintenance of your server.

If you buy managed hosting; the system admin at your hosting provider will have access to your files on the system; ensure that database and other files are encrypted.

Cloud Server
Cloud server is an instance of Operating System running on hardware. Depending on the size of your cloud server; it maybe running on a dedicated hardware or there might be couple of other instances running on the same hardware. You have your own instance of Operating System. Typically, costs from USD 50 per month upwards.

The issues with Cloud Hosting

  1. Cloud hosting has very little downside to it. This is why all major IT providers are offering it; from Amazon to Microsoft to Etisalat and Du.
  2. The management can be a bit iffy; but there is a nice panel provided by major hosting providers; which can be learnt with minimal IT skills.

Why Cloud Servers
They offer key benefits over other types of hosting. Below are some key.

UPTIME
Since your operating system lives on Storage Area Network (SAN); hence even if the local system disks malfunction; your data is safe. The maximum downtime will be automatic turning it on; on another HW, which the hosting provider does by itself.

SECURITY
No one touches your instance of Operating System. And the whole instance can be encrypted.

SCALABILITY
Scalability is two ways. Horizontal scalability and vertical scalability. Horizontal scalability means that instead of having a higher powered system; you will have two lower powered servers and traffic will be equally distributed by Load Balancers. In cloud servers; it literally is right clicking the server and selecting “Launch more like this”. For vertical scalability; you will have to just change the instance size and reboot the machine.

COST
Its cheaper than dedicated and more expensive than shared hosting; but these days who leaves their details unless a website is protected by SSL certificates.

ADDITIONAL FUNCTIONALITY
Cloud providers also have additional functionality available like:

Hardware Firewalls

Load Balancers

DNS Services

Content Distribution Network

Auto Scaling of resources (Automatic increase or decrease)

Database as a service (You only pay per use)

Centric is a registered Amazon Partner.

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Usman Khalid

About the Author Usman Khalid

Usman Khalid is the founder & CEO of Centric DXB. He excels in taking the point of view of both our clients and our internal teams - expressing those perspectives, concerns and requirements to the other side. Aspiring clients & partners can reach him on usman.khalid@centric.ae

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