One of the most commonly asked questions we get asked at webdevel.com is what level of hosting do we recommend for new website owners. We find that many new owners are quite confused about the various types of hosting available, and the different costs for each type.
For most newly launched websites, shared web hosting is sufficient. As web traffic grows, and demand on resources rises over time, shared web hosting may impose too many limitations, or reduce the performance of the website, at which point the owner may decide to upgrade. Upgrading is a straightforward process, and can normally be done without having to take the website down. If it does have to be taken down, the downtime is very short.
To help you decide on whether shared website hosting will be good enough for your needs, we have prepared this explanation of what comes with shared web hosting, and what its principal limitations, or the most important factors to consider, are.
Shared web hosting
This does not mean that your website is shared between two or more hosts. It means that your website is physically located on a single server that also hosts many other websites.
That means that each website on the server shares the server’s resources. Those resources include the CPU, the RAM and the disk storage space.
Our servers all use ultra-modern, dynamic load balancing to prevent any one website from hogging all the server’s resources.
Nevertheless, there may be times when server response is slowed down when there is very high demand on the resources. This may lead to slower page load times, and that could prove to be unacceptable for some websites.
Shared IP address
When a surfer types a website name into a browser address bar, the browser forwards the address to a Domain Name System (DNS) database. This is a lookup service that holds details about the Name Server that in turn points to the hosting company’s server.
Once the browser accesses the DNS record, it forwards the request to the corresponding Name Server. At the server, the management software examines the website name, and returns the index page, or a specifically requested page, for the corresponding website.
All the websites that reside on a shared server have the same IP address. The host computer has to analyze the hostname to return the correct website. That means you cannot get to a website on a shared server by typing in an IP address. This is rarely likely to be a problem, since virtually nobody tries to navigate to a website using the IP address. It is much easier to remember a domain name than an IP address.
However, there may be some instances when it is desirable to access a website using its IP address. If you have a need to do this, then shared hosting will not be the solution for you.
Advantages of shared website hosting
The fees charged for shared services are lower than for other types of hosting. When you are launching a website that is not going to generate a lot of revenue, this could be a crucial factor. For example, if you want forum hosting for a special interest website, you may want to keep the costs as low as possible.
Less technical knowledge needed
Running a web server requires a high level of technical knowledge. It requires an in-depth understanding of security issues, the operating system, website and mail servers, database servers and network management.
When you sign up for shared web hosting, we look after all those aspects on your behalf. All you need to know is how to upload your website to our server, and some basic knowledge on how to use our management interface.
Disadvantages of shared website hosting
The reality is that for most websites, there are very few, if any, disadvantages to using shared web hosting. There is a good chance that all the other websites on the same server are fairly lightweight in their demands, so the performance hit is barely noticeable. However, the restrictions may mean that shared web hosting is not an option.
When your website is on a shared server, you do not have access to the underlying software, such as the operating system. You have to get by with what is provided by us, and may not be able to run scripts or modules that you need. You can only run programs that are already installed on our servers. These restrictions do not apply with our dedicated packages.
We provide unlimited bandwidth with all our shared web hosting packages, but many other hosting companies will restrict the amount of bandwidth available. If you exceed your bandwidth, you may have to pay high penalty fees on top of your normal monthly fee.
Worse still, you may find that your host takes your website down until you have paid for more bandwidth. With unlimited hosting such as ours, you will know exactly what your monthly outlay will be, and there will be no nasty surprises in store.
We are proud to offer unlimited shared hosting for no extra charge. Our unlimited web hosting service lets you concentrate on improving and marketing your website without having to worry about unexpected fees.
Our servers have the highest possible level of security in place to prevent hacking and denial of service attacks. We also have stringent measures to protect our servers from problems caused by problem scripts, whether they are introduced accidentally or maliciously.
Since every website on a shared server can create its own programs and scripts, there is a slightly higher risk that one of these could bring the server down, or affect server performance. We are confident that our security measures make this nearly impossible, and we guarantee 99.9% uptime.
When you opt for shared web hosting, you do not have to be concerned that other website owners on the same server can access your hosting account. Provided you follow good practice and have a strong password that you change frequently, your site will be secure. Our web hosting packages on shared servers do not compromise your security.
In summary, shared hosting is generally sufficient for websites that:
a) Do not place a huge demand on resources such as bandwidth and mail connections
b) Do not generate large volumes of traffic
c) Do not need a large number of email connections
d) Do not need to download very large files
e) Do not need maximum security protection
f) Do not need to provide administrative control over the server’s operating system.
All websites that fall outside these parameters should be hosted on either dedicated servers or on virtual private servers.
At webdevel.com, our shared hosting service is second to none. Our technical support team is available 24/7 to help you solve any problems that crop up, and to get your website back up as quickly as possible. We have three shared hosting plans, starting from just $6.99 per month.
If you are still unsure about what type of hosting you need, or which of our hosting packages is the best for you, just pick up the phone and give us a call. We are always here to help and advise.