Shared Hosting – Here’s what you need to Know

Of the myriad web hosting solutions available out there, shared hosting is quite popular among start-ups and small businesses. More often than not, it fits into the budget of such businesses.

If you are planning to venture into online space, shared hosting may be the right fit for you. However, before you go on to buy your first hosting plan, it’s vital that you gain a thorough understanding of the platform.

In this brief post, we will try to cover everything related to shared hosting so as to help you make an informed decision.

Let’s dive in.

What is shared hosting?

As the name implies, in a shared hosting solution, you share a part of the server. Typically, a shared hosting plan hosts hundreds and thousands of websites on a single physical server. This type of hosting is suitable for websites drawing traffic of up to 15,000 visitors per month. This means, for over 70% of the websites on the internet, a shared hosting plan will suffice.

Shared servers are a feasible way for new businesses to host a website. Most of the hosting providers in India offer two types of shared solutions-Linux shared hosting and Windows shared hosting; you can choose any of these depending upon your business environment.

How does shared hosting work?

In a shared hosting solution, a large physical server is split into multiple accounts for different customers, the number of which can range from a few hundred to a few thousand. The cost and resources of the server get divided among different accounts; as a result, each account gets a very small portion of server resources, be it processing power, RAM or storage.

Let me explain this by drawing a simple analogy. Hosting your site on a shared server is similar to sharing a flat with many roommates. While you get to save on rent and maintenance cost, you get little in terms of resources, be it open space or hot water.

Why should you Choose Shared Hosting?

You have many reasons for choosing a shared hosting solution for your website:

Shared Hosting is Cost-effective: Because the cost of the physical server gets divided among hundreds of accounts, you have to pay little to get your site up and running. No wonder, most of the small businesses still choose to host their site over a shared server.

Shared Hosting requires no technical assistance: Once you buy a shared hosting plan, you don’t need to fret about technical assistance. Skilled technicians are there to handle all the aspects of your hosting environment; this ensures you face no issues at any point in time. You can concentrate on what matters the most-running your business-and let hosting experts take care of the rest.

Shared Hosting comes with a built-in cPanel: Most of the shared hosting plans these days offer a built-in cPanel. This cPanel helps you manage your website, email settings and DNS settings with the utmost ease.

When is Shared Hosting Not the Exactly Fit for you?

While an economical hosting option, shared hosting is definitely not meant for any and every kind of website, even if you are just starting out. If you expect your website to grow significantly in the next few months, shared hosting plans should be avoided under all circumstances. Shared hosting offers limited resources, and therefore,can be a huge impediment to the growth and expansion of your website (and your business).

If you aim to attract moderate-to-high web traffic, you need a solution that supports your objectives. VPS, cloud or dedicated hosting plans should be considered under such situations. Shared hosting restricts you in terms of resources. So, if your site experiences higher-than-usual traffic, there are high chances your website cannot take the burden. Your page may take a lot of time to load, or worse, your website may crash. This creates a sub-par experience for your visitors-not a good sign for your business.

Shared hosting also offers limited-to-no options for customization; as a result, you cannot tune specific features for your site. This affects the performance and security of your website.

How to Choose the Best Shared Hosting Service?

Finding a good shared hosting service can be a daunting task considering the range of options available these days. Here are a few things you need to ask your prospective hosting provider when choosing your solution:

1) How reliable is your service with regard to uptime?

Regardless of the size of your business, you will want your website to face as little downtime as possible. The uptime rating of a service provider offers a genuine assessment of the reliability of your server. Only ratings of 99.5% or higher should be considered.

2) How easy is it to upgrade your plan?

Your traffic may be more or less consistent at the moment, but will definitely grow someday in future, prompting you to switch to a superior solution. Make sure to check what all options are available with your provider that you can upgrade to whenever required.

3) Does your hosting agreement include a lock-in period?

Some hosting providers operate on a pay-as-you-go basis, allowing you to leave at any point in time. Others have a lock-in period which may increase as you renew the plan. Be sure to check what you are signing for.

4) How frequently is the data backed up?

If your site crashes for some reason or the other, you need to have a host to help with the recovery of your valuable data. Look for a hosting provider that backs up data on a daily basis. This way, your site can be easily restored from backup should some mishap occurs and your files get corrupted.

5) What kind of support does your solution offer?

If you face an issue with your site, you should be able to get assistance immediately. It’s therefore essential to ask your prospective host if they offer round-the-clock support. If they do, what are the channels through which this support is delivered, and what is the average response time? 

6) What security features are included in your plan?

Reliable web hosting providers in India offer powerful features to secure your website, be it premium-quality firewalls or the latest version of anti-malware. They also provide 24*7 monitoring and patching in addition to malware detection and removal.

7) Which restrictions are included in your plan?

When finalizing a shared hosting plan, it’s important to ask what you will be able to do and what you will not. Question your host on limitations with regard to the number of domains, file transfers, bandwidth usage, and so on.

Wrapping Up

Choosing a web hosting solution is possibly one of the most important decisions you need to take when getting online. A reliable web hosting solution acts as the foundation for your business. So, you cannot afford to compromise on this front. Look for a host that offers ample bandwidth and storage, high uptime, round-the-clock support, foolproof security features, frequent backups and flexible upgrade options. A little research can go a long way in reinforcing your online presence.

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