Think of this list as the progression of the type of hosting a growing online business can consider. Shared hosting means just that. Your website is hosted on a server shared by other websites. The advantage of this setup is the shared cost. You can pay as little as $5-$10 per month for sharing a super server with (probably) hundreds of other websites. The biggest disadvantage of a shared hosting account is that you're at the mercy of the other sites on your server. A really popular site may adversely affect the performance of your own site. On the other hand, if you're the most popular site on the server, you get to use a super server for a very low price.
Reseller hosting packages is basically a shared hosting account with extra tools to help you resell hosting space. Reseller packages come with greater technical control (often via the Web Host Manager (WHM) control panel), billing software to help you invoice clients, and other extra perks. Some of those perks include:
- free website templates
- white label technical support - that means the hosting company handles your clients' tech support issues
- private name servers -- make your company seem even bigger by telling your clients to point their domain nameservers to ns1.yourwebdesignfirm.com
Grid or Cloud Hosting refers to a fairly new hosting technology that lets hundreds of individual servers work together so that it looks like one giant server. The idea is that as the need grows, the hosting company can just add more commodity hardware to make an ever larger grid or cloud. Price Range: All grid computing packages use some form of pay-for-what-you-use pricing structure. Base prices start at $20 for Media Temple and $100 for Mosso (a Rackspace company). Both charge more for extra bandwidth, CPU processing, memory usage, or other resource usage. Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) has no minimum monthly fee (you pay for only what you use), but requires more tech savvy to get started (price calculator).
Virtual Private Server (VPS)
Virtual private servers share one physical server but acts like multiple, separate servers. A VPS is a stepping stone between shared hosting and getting your own dedicated machine. Even though each VPS instance shares hardware resources, they are allocated a dedicated slice of the computing resources. A VPS avoids the problem of having your hosting neighbors bring down your website, while avoiding the cost of a dedicated server. Price Range: Most VPS hosting packages cost between $50 and $200. Pricing is based on the guaranteed CPU and memory (RAM) you get. Here is a list of reliable VPS hosting providers.