Affordable and reliable shared web hosting services
Shared hosting alternately known as virtual hosting service, shared web hosting and derive host, basically refers to the service provided by any competent hosting service provider wherein a number of websites are hosted on a common web server. However, each website gets its own shared of partitioned space and hence the chances of inter-mixing of data is minimum. The shared web hosting services have become pretty popular in recent times due to the sheer fact that they turn out to be quite economic because the web server maintenance cost is shared by multiple users, and as a result, the shared hosting providers usually charges lower subscription charges.
Shared web hosting is the most common type of web hosting service. It is offered by 98% of providers and has been proved as the most reliable and affordable solution.
Essential Aspects of a Shared Hosting Service:
System administration: All the shared website hosting vendors provide system administration. However, this could be a problem for those who wish to exercise full control over the web server for extensive development work, while it is a blessing for those who don’t want to break their head with what’s running inside the web server and are happy so long as their websites are up-and-running. Every provider facilitates the user to access their files on the web server via an admin control panel, which could be Plesk, cPanel, DirectAdmin, Ensim, H-Sphere, or InterWorx. However, cPanel is the most popular control panel in the market today due to high level of user-friendliness, intuitive nature and ease of use.
|Shared web hosting||Dedicated web hosting|
|Dedicated IP||Not always||Always|
|Operation system||Windows or Linux||Whatever you like|
|Allocated processes (CPU power)||Limited||Limited only by hardware|
|Security||No need for manual updates||Necessary manual updates|
|Webmaster expertise||Novice level||Experienced level|
|Support||Part of the plan||Offered only on managed plans|
Top 5 Things to Consider in Shared Hosting Plans
1. Monthly Bandwidth and Data Storage: If you’re new to the world of website hosting, the chances are high that you may not be too familiar with these terms, but remember all these 5 consideration are equally decisive in picking a good hosting plan. Basically, the monthly bandwidth depends upon the traffic your website attracts. Therefore, if you start a new website you may not require very high bandwidth, but as its level of popularity grows higher and higher, the bandwidth that it consumes would also increase accordingly. You must be careful that your shared web hosting vendor doesn’t provide you with too low bandwidth. Usually, any good plan offers unlimited bandwidth and data storage, but again the term “unlimited” refers to a particular upper limit. So, you must ensure that you’re being offered a minimum pf 500-1000GB bandwidth and 50-100GB storage capacity.
2. Free Website Builder and other Goodies: Depending upon the type of website you’re planning to host, you may hire website designer and programmers to get the job done. However, the simple static websites and personal blogs can be set-up on your own within few minutes time. So, you must make sure that your provider not only offers you cheap services, but also free website builder, website analytics tools, a good control panel, access to PHPAdmin, MySQL databases and other free goodies like website promotion tools. Additionally, many plans come with free Google AdWords vouchers worth $50, Miva advertising credits and Yahoo! advanced search credits worth $25-$50 each. This can help you in getting a kick-start with your website promotion and marketing campaign.
3. Uptime Guarantee: When you purchase a plan, almost every vendor will promise 99.9% uptime guarantee. But, you must remember that things tend to differ in reality. Providers like Yahoo!, JustHost, DreamHost, GoDaddy, FatCow and the likes of them have great uptime record for over a decade. So, picking one of the reliable web hosts is highly recommended. Initially, the occasional downtimes won’t pinch you too much, but when your traffic grows and even few minutes of downtimes causes losses in hundreds of dollars, you’ll realize the importance of this aspect. Therefore, if you’re planning to host any ecommerce related websites or websites of the caliber of YouTube, WikiPedia and likes of them, then 99.8-99.9% uptime in reality, must be your top priority.
4. Money-Back Guarantee & Customer Support: You don’t want to pay once and get stuck with a bad service provider, do you? All the reputed shared website hosting services involve a contract with customer that includes 100% money-back assurance within 30 days time. Moreover, there are good chances of occurrence of common problems in setting up new websites, transferring domains, so you need a reliable tech/customer support team too. Before you subscribe to any of the offered plans you must send a test email to the support team and see how long do they take to reply. Few hours are of course reasonable, but if you receive a reply after 2-3days, you should not bother wasting your time and money with a shared hosting provider with such a sluggish support team.
5. Technological Support: Any good shared hosting plan supports all the latest technologies such as PHP 5.0, Perl, CGI, Ruby-on-Rails, eCommerce, and gives you the flexibility of using the type of plan (Windows hosting or Linux Hosting). You must also ensure that you get access to multiple FTP accounts and MySQL databases.
Alert! Most providers advertise that they offer plans with unlimited resources, the so called unlimited web hosting. As in nature, the same is valid in tech world, there are NOT unlimited resources. Water is limited, energy is limited, how in earth could diskspace, cpu power and bandwith be unlimited?
Common Areas of Concern
There are many small little things that can give you whole lot of pain in future. The simplest example is the choice of hosting. For instance, if your shared hosting plan doesn’t support Linux hosting, you won’t be able to install Wordpress blogs, phpBB discussion boards, OsCommerce shopping carts and most of the common applications. And, of course this could result in whole lot of problems and frustration. Hence, you must ensure that your shared hosting plan supports Windows as well as Linux hosting. Secondly, if you’re planning to host ecommerce sites, you must ensure that level of security of the site is pretty high, and that your web host takes regular back-ups of site data. Additionally, you can also back-up your site profiles as well as entire data every fortnight or so. Thirdly, if you’re planning to hosting a video sharing website like YouTube or a P2P file sharing site like torrent, then you must make sure your data storage and transfer limits are raised to 10TB or so. You must speak to your web host specifically mentioning that you’ll be hosting such a website, which will require massive bandwidth and storage capacity.
What makes the best shared hosting plan?
Having seen all the necessary aspects of the shared web hosting services, a good blend of all these features marketed at a reasonable price can make the best shared hosting plan. Remember, it is extremely tough to name a particular hosting plan as the best shared hosting plan, but some of the plans offered by JustHost, GoDaddy, DreamHost, FatCow and other top shared hosting vendors are considered to be the best in their segment.
Some relatively Unknown Facts about Shared Hosting
Cooperative hosting is another form of shared web hosting wherein the web server runs in a collocation centre and the costs of running and maintaining the server are divided equally. Typically, the shared hosting services may be of two types – the IP-based and name-based services. Some of the service providers incorporate control panels that make use of both of them on the same web server.
Remember, your shared web host may sell the control panel that is being offered to you on a rental basis. Therefore, it is not permissible to replicate the functionalities of that control panel and use it for commercial purposes or sell it under a different name. This may be a seriously punishable offence under various lawsuits.
Downsides of Shared Hosting Services
While the shared web hosting services can be quite cheap, they come with their own their own share of troubles. First of all, the websites hosted on a shared web server have high possibility of getting affected by the other websites hosted on the server. This may not hold true in normal cases, but when things go wrong, viruses, Trojans, malware, spyware and other spurious programs can affect all the websites hosted on the server at a time. Secondly, anybody can track the WhoIs database and find out the details of activities happening on the website (unless you opt for privacy and dedicated IP, which involve additional charges), and even see the other websites hosted on that particular server. Therefore, the level of security and privacy is relatively low, which is why the advanced users opt for dedicated hosting or Virtual Private Server hosting services.
In a Nutshell
If you want the goodness of all the top notch hosting features you must be willing to shell out greater amount of money. However, the shared hosting plans don’t cost you more than $5-$10 per month, if you pay for 1-2years of hosting service in advance. The necessities of all the website owners are always unique, you a particular shared hosting plan that is ideal for one of the customers may not look too appealing to you. Hence, it is not a good idea to go by the words of other website owners and pick a shared hosting provider blindly without considering all the aspects.