Tips for selecting hostingMany hosting provider has free hosting - Do not use it. Generally on free hosting , hosting provider display their advertisement. IT means your website will be displaying their ads and traffic will move away from your website to their. Only use Free option if you are testing.
Hosting for 1 Site
Many hosting provider like Godaddy, 1and1 will provide hosting for 1 site.
It works if you have only 1 site. Most of business have only web site.
However if you have lot of traffic and need reliabaility it may not be great option.
Hosting for Unlimited Site
Small companies , students use this option. With a small fee that can have shared hosting. But it allow them to create unlimited sites.
Again this is good option if you buy multiple domains and are building websites. However all of these sites and other users site run on 1 machine. Generally these sites can have 1-few hundred page views per day.
IF you get thousnds of page views - consider next option.
You only get 1 IP address for all these websites.
We have seen instance where hosting provider change this IP address twice in 2 year. It means if you are running hundreds of sites with sub-domains you will have to go to DNS and change IP address. Very painful and very error prone.
Hosting - Virtual Machine
In this option of of virtual machine is dedicated to you. You can create unlimited websites on it.
You choose how much space you need. Please note around 20 GB is used by Windows. Similarly Linux O/S takes space. If you are using this option - get 30 GB or more total space.
IF you are running multiple sites - you can estimate that how much total page views you will have. You can test your website and speed and rely that you will get this performance.
I have seen that many times dedicated server goes down. You have to monitor that server is down. As hosting company may not tell you. We have a VM down for week while I was on Christmas vacation and hosting company did not do anything. They even did not knew it is down.
So this is good option if you can monitor. Also you can have multiple IPs (generally 3 and can buy more with additional price). If you are running multiple sites - it is useful to have them running on different IPs. It can help in SEO.
Hosting - Dedicated Server
This is same as above. The only difference is instead of virtual server you have full physical server. Generally it means more storage, more memory, more IP address.
Remember - if you are using Unlimited Site option - you can't upgrade to Vitual machine. You have to physically move sites from unlimited site to Virtual machine. Similarly you can's downgrade. You have to physically move the sites.
Same is true from VM to Dedicated server. You have to Physically move the websites.
If you want capability to scale up or scale down without moving sites - you should be using Platform as Service solution e.g. Microsoft Azure Websites.
yes with Microsoft Azure Websites you can scale up, scale down.
create free websites. There won't be any ads. But website url will be like mywebsites.azurewebsites.net. You wont be able to point your domain to free websites.
Shared websites - This is next option. Cost around 9$ per month. Same as Hosting for 1 Website above.
Basic Websites - This is similar to unlimited sites. Storage is 10 GB.
Standard Websites - This has unlimited sites. Storage is 1 GB. It is equivalent to Virtual Machine. Plus you can scale up, scale down anytime. Reliability is good. Servers are monitored.
For details about pricing and features see Azure Websites