In today’s hosting environment, there are several main types of hosts. I’d classify them into these categories.
Low-cost or budget hosting. This type of hosting is also known as shared hosting. They offer several low-cost plans with a decent amount of features. The cost can range from just a few dollars per month to $5 per month. They cover a broad range of technologies and usually are good for personal or starter sites.
Medium-level hosting. Medium-level hosting focuses on small to midsize businesses (SMBs). The typical plan can range from $50 to $500 per month. The types of plans can be higher-end shared hosting, virtual to dedicated server plans. The dedicated plans can be a single physical or virtual server.
Enterprise-level or managed hosting. This is the highest level of hosting. Enterprise-level plans can run from several hundred to several thousands of dollars per month. If you completely externalize your infrastructure, costs can be even higher. Enterprise-level or managed hosting is where the provider owns the equipment and you pay a monthly charge. It could be considered rent since you are not buying the equipment. When signing a contract, check with your host on replacement of hardware. This will help you stay current and not use old equipment.
Co-location. Co-location is a compromise where you own the hardware and locate in a third-party facility. A dedicated cage could be provided so you have access to your hardware. Or you could partner with the provider to maintain your equipment. There are some providers that handle only the data center portion. These types of providers handle the building, Internet connection, and power.
Cloud hosting. Also known as cloud computing, it’s a different approach to providing resources. Cloud computing is definitely the buzz and should be reviewed when evaluating web hosting. Hosting providers claim dynamic resources are available for peaks and valleys. Many service providers are offering on-demand resources such as bandwidth, server processing, or disk space. The prices can vary depending on the type of resource. The cost can include a few cents per gigabyte of disk space, for example. The direction of cloud computing is unknown, but it appears to be going nowhere but up. (No pun intended!)