Web hosting plans differ in the level of service provided to maintain the servers needed to keep you website up and running and secure. There are various levels of security, IT support and monitoring each company (such as GoDaddy, Bluehost, Rackspace, Synthesis) will provide.
With respect to services provided, here is a list of various types of hosting you can obtain:
This is absolutely free, but not recommended.
Free hosting (Wix, SquareSpace, Blogger, WordPress.com) provides hosting of your website and maintenance of their servers. While attractive, you have no control over your files, have limited ability to rank your website (SEO) and are limited as to the functions you can install on your site.
Shared or Self-Hosting
This is probably the most common package and is what I actually use for most of our customers. It requires a limited of technical know-how, but does not require actual IT experience. You do not need to understand coding.
Every service you need such as monitoring, backup, malware protection, anti-virus scanning is available à la carte. This obviously adds to the cheap monthly fee.
Any website problems you detect will be assisted by customer support, requiring your precious time on the phone.
Managed hosting provides all the services you will need to;
- Monitor your website
- Scan for malware
- IT Support
- Virus protection
- Maintain Storage
- Database management
For a slightly higher monthly fee, this may be the best value. In essence, all the worrying is taken out of your hands, thus allowing you to spend your time growing and developing your website.
For most of us, this is too much. Unless you are in a position to purchase or lease your own servers and provide IT support, this is an impractical hosting solution.