What Are the Differences in Hosting Types – Shared, Managed, and DIY Hosting?

Last Updated: Jun 7, 2022 | Web Hosting

If you’re a new website owner, choosing the best hosting plan for your business can be a little confusing. After all, what are the major differences in hosting types? What choices are available?

Shared hosting, Managed hosting, and Do-it-yourself (DIY) hosting are three of the most popular options. Choosing between them is but one aspect that determines your website’s success.

Join me in this post as we’ll quickly explore the pros and cons of each option in order to help make the best choice for your project.

You’ll probably notice a recurring theme here on Bit Expanse, that it’s better to just get started than it is to find the perfect hosting type. Putting off getting your website up and running is one of the worst choices you can make, even worse than the time it takes to migrate to another host if you choose a sub-optimal hosting type.

But First, What is Hosting?

Think of hosting as the business of housing files and maintaining systems to help serve your content to your readers or customers.

Hosting can refer to housing one website or several. The volume doesn’t matter in that context, it just simply provides the technologies needed for web pages to be viewed on the Internet.

Types of Hosting

There are several different types of hosting, but we’ll only focus on three – Shared, Managed, and DIY hosting.

These 3 types are typical hosting scenarios we’ll usually see. Let’s break it down:

1. Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is typically used by the ‘newbies’, those who are just starting out and don’t have the funds or maybe don’t want to run the risk of dishing out excessive amounts of cash for hosting resources they won’t need.

Many newcomers choose to go the cheaper route with shared hosting. These users are on a budget and try to get the most done with the smallest amount of money.

It’s understandable, why put out so much money when you don’t have an established business yet?

With plans ranging anywhere from $3 to $25 a month, shared hosting may be the best option. But, as we all know, you get what you pay for. ​

Please do your research, however, before choosing any of these options. Out of all the shared hosts we’ve tried, we’ve had the most success with Bluehost but some people have polarizing views on that host. You can check out our Bluehost review here.

What Exactly is Shared Hosting?

It is a physical server shared by multiple users. You may not know who or what websites you are sharing servers with.

Why Choose Shared Hosting?

If you are just starting out and don’t really have the cash required for more consistent hosting like managed or DIY hosting then shared hosting is a great option for you. Shared hosting is probably the best option for those of you who are just starting an online business or the business world.

Shared Hosting Pros

  • Affordable: The resources are shared, giving the opportunity to offer deep discounts to users. You can usually find promo deals with free domains and such.
  • Convenience: You don’t have to hire an IT Professional to manage your web hosting nor do you need PHP and other web knowledge. Most shared hosts offer a 1-click CMS install of your choice and some level of cPanel to make basic configurations easily.
  • Test Multiple Websites: Depending on your plan and available resources you can test multiple websites, web applications, and databases.

Shared Hosting Cons

  • Limited Resources: You will be competing with many other sites for resources. When issues occur with other websites they will use more resources and slow your website down.
  • Security: A shared server is limited in features. Installing your own security software may bog down the performance of your server and you may find yourself disabled if you create a bad experience for other users.
  • Balloon Pricing: After your initial discount period, your regular hosting costs will increase quite a bit unless you can get special offers from support (or a normal sale).

2. Managed Hosting

Authors, small business owners, and the like looking for specialized hosting typically choose to go with managed hosting. Among this crowd of businesses and entrepreneurs are high traffic blogs.

These users realize that this route can save them time, manpower, and offers better performance.

The performance aspect comes into play due to the managed hosting platform being tuned to your content management system for maximum performance, efficiency, and security.

Our favorite managed hosting provider for WordPress is Flywheel.

What Exactly is Managed Hosting?

Managed hosting is usually an extension of dedicated hosting. This refers to an IT service model where a customer leases storage from a Managed Service Provider (MSP).

It minimizes the amount of hands-on work that needs to be performed to keep a server running at maximum performance and more time to dedicate to your software or content marketing plan.

Why Choose Managed Hosting?

Your web tech definitely plays a major role in the success of your business. But, let’s face it, not every human being knows the inner workings of a website.

We aren’t all web developers nor are we required to be. Those days are over as it’s now easier than ever to be an online influencer. Some of us only want a personal site or blog but don’t know anything about hosting or how it works. In that case, managed hosting would be a great choice for you.

Even if you understand the tech but you need to focus on content or marketing and wish to not worry about the tech behind the tech (quick, take a shot every time we write tech!), managed hosting will be a godsend for you. This is especially true if you have a critical online business model such as e-commerce that must function with maximum efficiency.

Managed Hosting Pros

  • Server Monitoring: managed service providers are able to find and identify possible failure points before running into any major problems. They use audit and scanning tools.
  • Security: The security of your server is a major priority for any business. Server security provided can include malware scanning, malicious user filtering, updates, backups, and more.
  • Speed Optimization: The speed of your website is important. It can ultimately make or break you. Visitors hate slow websites and you can lose a lot of traffic because of this. With managed hosting the service provider will ensure your site loads quickly by offering their in-house caching mechanism.
  • Managed Storage: A company’s storage requirements can and will change over time. MSPs can give greater flexibility with their plan offerings.

Managed Hosting Cons

  • Pricing: Managed hosting is way more expansive than shared hosting, about 3-10x more than shared. Managed hosting can be marginally more expensive than DIY setups. Usually, the only thing more expensive than managed hosting is dedicated server setups.
  • Control: The management service providers stipulate which themes and plugins can be installed and which network connections can be whitelisted. They don’t necessarily have a walled garden but they do want their server infrastructure to hum along nicely. You shouldn’t use insecure plugins anyway but this also rules out your favorite power user plugins like security plugins.

3. DIY Hosting

Do-it-yourself (DIY) hosting attracts users that are somewhat familiar with technology and are able to develop their website the way they see fit.

The DIY crowd may save money without sacrificing the performance of their web-based business. These users realize how important performance is and how detrimental not choosing the right hosting provider can be to their business’ success.

DIY users don’t mind spending more time on their web infrastructure and usually have a special use case for needing this level of customization.

Even though the DIY label strongly hints that everything is built and optimized from scratch, know that it doesn’t have to be. There are platforms out there that allow you to build and manage apps quickly.

Our favorite DIY VPS combo is Vultr running ServerPilot. You can read our Vultr and ServerPilot setup guide here.

What Exactly is DIY Hosting?

Do-it-yourself (DIY) hosting is the process of setting up or deeply customizing your website’s hosting, usually through VPS, without direct help from experts and professionals.

Why Choose DIY Hosting?

Hosting your own website can be very rewarding. You’ll have complete control over pretty much everything.

DIY Hosting Pros

  • Your Mad Creation: there’s something special about fine tuning your web server to perfection.
  • Customization: you are in control of your software and can enhance your server with ALL the bells and whistles.
  • Flexibility: Your ultimate web server is immediately ready to scale as you grow with the click of a button.

DIY Hosting Cons

  • Pricing: When you host your own website you have to pay for everything. Need something extra? It’s most likely an addon? Want to streamline some installs? That’s usually extra too.
  • Updates: You will be required to stay abreast of everything technical including new methods of server attacks and what you can do to prevent them, software, or hardware. You can use an app service to streamline this but that requires configuration or paying for a service.
  • The Buck Stops With You: unless you have a team you are responsible for the conception, installation, configuration, additional software, and staff. Support for Infrastructure as a service will not help you debug your website or applications.
  • It Can Get Nerdy: If tech terms make your head spin and you don’t know how to set stuff up, you will not have a good time.

Final Thoughts

From what has been mentioned above, it is imperative that you do your research before choosing a hosting provider. Take everything into consideration that you and your business require.

If you are torn between two good options just pick one. It is far better to get started as soon as possible than to over optimize your hosting choice.



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