If you are not fully versed in the vernacular of website development, you might find the term “web hosting” foreign. In simpler terms, web hosting is a service provided by an organization which gives another company or an individual a chance to develop a web page or website. This service includes the provision of necessary technological tools and techniques that can boost the web page or the website on various internet search engines.
Websites are stored physically on large computers known as “servers.” When anyone having a decent internet facility tries to view your website or web page, they get connected to that designated server, which in turn delivers the address or domain. Usually, many hosting companies own and provide servers. Others require mandatory ownership of your own servers, and can even go as far as helping you to acquire them.
What is Shared Web Hosting?
When the term “shared web hosting” is used, it means that more than one website or web page is sharing the physical space on a server. Sharing the storage space means that there is limited space allowed for each customer to utilize. Shared servers host hundreds of users.
The server features available to every customer include databases, monthly traffic, disk space, email accounts, FTP (File Transfer Protocol) accounts, and add-ons. Each customer gets a share from RAM and CPU, and other elements, e.g. MySQL servers, Apache servers, and mail servers. Hosting companies have a variety of storage pay packages based on server resources used by a particular customer.
When it comes to customers who have just begun their web pages or sites, this mode of web development is affordable and easy to manage. A web server that is shared among customers is priced anywhere from $4 to $10 per month. In comparison, a dedicated server starts at $150 per month, leading up to thousands of dollars. The reason shared servers are cheaper is that the maintenance cost is split among the sharing customers.
More often than not, static websites use shared web hosting services. Static websites are internet niches with fixed content that does not radically change. These websites can include blogs or other small-scale websites that do not need high traffic or high bandwidth configurations.
How to Choose a Suitable Web Host?
Like with any service, you need to know the details of the features provided by the shared web hosting party. Some of the prominent features that can help you decide the optimum web hosting service for your website include:
The set storage space limit is the primary feature that will help you determine the web hosting organization to opt for. Remember, if one or more sharing customers use a major chunk of the bandwidth, your site can suffer. For this very reason, you need to determine the memory your web page will take, and choose a payment plan accordingly.
Before delving further into the technical features that the shared web hosting facility is offering, the best way is to pause and look for the price details. Many organizations offer a range of price plans for their storage capacities. Naturally, the more storage space you demand, the higher the price is. Many hosting organizations offer start-up discounts to lure customers to their service.
In this day and age, where data is the most valuable possession, not including the question of how safe your data is going to be is downright abysmal.
For the most part, shared hosting is very safe. Nearly all the major hosting organizations guarantee and uphold safety measures, which discredit work-around breaches. However, if any one of the websites on the shared server gets a security breach, all the other sites are rendered vulnerable.
Performance and Uptime
It is no secret that internet users stay invested when websites load quickly and operate smoothly. Research data suggests that the loading time must be two seconds or less. Otherwise, users lose interest.
When choosing from the hosting organizations, a key factor to consider is whether the sharing resources will level up to the quality of bandwidth you are purchasing. Rightly so, uptime is what represents the performance levels of your website.
It is not easy to make a mark in the online world if your web page is relatively newer. Website traffic is a great way to boost your initial impression. For sites that do not require large amounts of visitors, shared hosting is a perfect solution. However, you must take a look at the exact amount of web traffic the providers are putting forth. If you feel like some plan perfectly solves all your needs, you need to get on board.
When it comes to directing traffic to your website, search engine ranking plays a crucial role. If you are associated with a spammer server, many search engines have the policy to reprimand such website owners. In addition to that, slower load times also affect search engine optimization rankings, which in turn, badly affects site traffic.
Always look for shared hosting plans that include support from the hosting organizations. You need to ensure that the support agents are available in case something goes wrong, and they find the quickest way out for the issues you might have. Look for hosting plans that include support agents around the clock so that you do not have to worry about any issue, any time.
Make sure your plan includes a control panel interface that allows each customer to manage their server settings from the comfort of their web browsers. Moreover, choosing plans that also include one-click install applications is a plus point. These features help with the integration of services such as WordPress CMS or a website builder, e.g. Weebly, etc.
Advantages of Shared Web Hosting
- Cheapest hosting option in the market – perfect for websites on low budgets
- Multiple levels of hosting available, which allows easy upgradation when required
- Built-in control panels to help manage websites easily
- Less technical maintenance needed on the customer’s end
Disadvantages of Shared Web Hosting
- Slow load time
- The server can become overloaded because of other shared sites
- The security flaw in any other neighboring website poses a continuous threat to your site, without you knowing it
- Lack of customization options
- “Unlimited” storage capacity is only a marketing tactic
Shared Web Hosting Alternatives
There are not many alternatives that provide all the features necessary for the small-scale websites to grow and flourish, other than shared hosting. Some options provide similar features to shared hosting, but they come with their sets of compromises.
A Virtual Private Server (VPS) or cloud-based hosting is an option that is widely quoted nowadays to be the next substitute to physical shared hosting servers. Mostly used as an upgradation option for small websites looking to expand, this hosting option divides a computer space into virtual niches for a variety of customers. This option is advantageous in the way that it provides a dedicated amount of disk space and bandwidth that is not influenced by neighbor sites.
A dedicated hosting service is a hosting service dedicated to one customer alone. There is no sharing on the server memory, no competition for bandwidth and no speed issues. Being expensive for many burgeoning customers, this option, with all its glorious features, is largely left out of the picture. Regardless, this alternative provides the maximum control and excellent performance of website uptime and load time.
Is Shared Hosting Suitable for Your Needs?
The right way to figure if your website needs shared hosting is if it fulfills any of the following criteria:
- If your website is low-budgeted
- If your business is small or the web page is for friends and family only
- If you just want to experiment with web design and coding
- If you do not require excessive programming on the web
When it comes to starting a website, the primary concern of the customer is often the traffic influx. Newly launched websites do not get much attention, and your shared server bandwidth can downplay that further. So you have to bear it in mind that if you are looking for a possible increase in user interactions, you choose the right plans or alternatives.
Moreover, it is almost always difficult to foresee the exact amount of space needed by your website. Since shared hosting provides a solution to these unknowns, it is better to opt for a flexible plan: one with a changeable bandwidth option.
Taking a look at the features of shared web hosting services, it is clear that the advantages clearly outweigh the disadvantages. Sharing storage resources provides start-ups with a cheap, relatively secure break-through. Shared hosting allows enough uptime and bandwidth to handle small websites or blog pages, yet allow the customers to switch to an upgrade when required.
With recent graduation provided by certain organizations, the blend of shared hosting with a cloud-based remote sharing server is bound to bring a new era of resource sharing. For beginners, shared web hosting is undoubtedly the easier choice with an excellent feature array.