There are various hosting plans for different web hosting needs. The most common hosting plans that hosts offer are shared, reseller, semi-dedicated, virtual private servers (VPS), and dedicated servers. There are others such as cloud hosting and green hosting, but those won’t be discussed here.
Shared hosting is the most common type of hosting account. It’s called “shared” because it means your websites will share a “home” with possibly hundreds of other websites. Although your account will be exclusive for your use, it will be on the same server with other people’s accounts. That said, when another person’s site on the same server uses too much resources, your site’s performance may be affected. Keep in mind that a good host will prevent this from happening!
This type of web hosting plan is recommended for starters and for people who have sites with low to medium traffic. You can always upgrade to a better plan when your site outgrows the shared hosting environment.
A reseller account would allow you to, well, resell hosting services to other people. Although a reseller account is a shared hosting account as well, the main difference is you will have access to a master control panel (usually WHM) where you can add, modify, and suspend individual hosting accounts.
You can also use reseller hosting if you want your sites to each have a separate control panel.
Semi-dedicated hosting (sometimes called enterprise hosting) accounts are also in a shared environment, but the server will have less accounts than a typical shared plan. This means you can expect to have access to more resources, generally better uptime, and faster speeds.
Semi-dedicated plans are for busy sites which are too big for the typical shared hosting plan but not big enough to actually squeeze all the benefits of being on a VPS or a dedicated server.
With a virtual private server (VPS) you’ll have more control over your account. You will have root access and you can install whatever applications you need to run your website.
Some VPS are managed which means that your host will take care of updates, security issues, and server maintenance for you. Unmanaged VPS on the other hand would require you to do all the dirty work and this isn’t recommended for newbies.
VPS accounts are suitable for websites with huge traffic. VPS are also used for running game servers.
A dedicated server is a powerful solution which offers better performance and stability for your website/application.
When you purchase a dedicated server, you will have the entire server to yourself. Similar to a VPS, you can choose what OS to use and what software to install.
Dedicated servers are recommended for hosting very large sites and highly populated game servers.