Shared server

Your website shares a Web server with other customers. If your site experiences heavy traffic, or if one of the other sites on the server does, your website could crash.

Major vendors: GoDaddy.com, 1&1 Internet, Yahoo Small Business, DreamHost

Price: From $4 to $25 a month

Grid server

Your website is hosted on a grid of servers. If your site experiences heavy traffic, other servers will pick up the load.

Major vendors: Media Temple, Mosso, 3Tera, Layered Technologies

Price: From $20 a month, with some services charging extra for resources used during traffic spikes

Virtual private server

Your website uses a large slice of a dedicated server. If other sites on the server max out, your site should run normally.

Major vendors: Spry VPS Hosting, Verio, Media Temple, Web.com, GoDaddy.com

Price: From about $35 a month

Dedicated server

Your website is hosted on its own server. This option offers the most capacity for a fixed price, but a sudden flood of millions of visitors could still overwhelm the server.

Major vendors: Rackspace, The Planet.com, SoftLayer, FastServers.net

Price: From $75 to $1,000 or more per server per month, depending on the capacity required. Some providers also charge setup fees.