2 min read · February 6, 2018
In order for a web application to be able to run on the web (production environment), you usually choose a hosting service provider with a web server.
A shared web hosting service or virtual hosting service is a service where many websites are hosted on the same webserver, and the server's resources (RAM, disk, and processor) are shared among the users. PHP settings and installed extensions are usually the same for all websites. It might be a good option if you want to get started quickly and painlessly, but still leave the maintaining and server upgrading to your preferred hosting service.
A VPS (virtual private server) is a step up in terms of hosting services. It can be a bit more pricey than shared hosting, but no other user shares your package. A VPS can get a dedicated amount of RAM, disk, and processor speed, so your application is already a step forward in gaining more freedom in its settings and customizations.
A dedicated server means an entire server machine, dedicated for your needs. More resources and disk quota is available for you when choosing to use a dedicated server. The price can be high, but flexibility and customization is at its best. Choose this option if you're an advanced user with system administration knowledge.
Collocated hosting means that you bring your own hardware to your data center service provider, and they plug it onto their high speed and availability network.
This is latest trend in web hosting services with greater flexibility.
One of the most frequently asked questions is whether there any good, free providers for hosting PHP applications.
In short, yes, there are, but keep in mind that sooner or later you'll meet limitations with this approach. Almost nothing is completely free, and the same is true for web hosting.
Some of the limitations to be aware of:
Do yourself and your application's audience a favor and invest a bit into your hosting infrastructure. Stability and availability of your application will depend on a lot on this.
The following list contains some free and quality hosting providers to check out.
GitHub provides a free and quality hosting for static content.
Netlify is a good and free alternative for hosting static content and automating the deployment via GitHub.
GitLab provide a free and quality hosting for static content.
This option is for users who want to have very simple and fully functional blog platform out-of-the-box without installing or coding anything. Wordpress.com has a free plan with a subdomain and a web space for your blog site.