Finding the right host for your website can be a tedious and at times confusing process.
What is a Hosting Company/Provider?
If you have a website on the internet and pay the bills you know who the hosting provider is and what they do, for everyone else the hosting company is an organization that rents space on a computer called a server for your use. You setup your website and their computers serve the website to your visitors. So, basically you are paying for hard drive space on someone else’s computer. This is important because if the computer you are renting breaks then your website is not visible. Many hosting companies advertise 99.99% up-time guarantee, sadly this is far from the truth. Between regular updates, “noisy” neighbors and malicious software keeping your website Live can be a tedious experience with the wrong hosting company.
Types of Hosting?
Before I tell you about some of the Hosting Companies I have dealt with personally, please allow me to shed some light on some of the different hosting types out there.
This is the “beginner” type of hosting. This hosting can and usually comes in several tiers such beginner, standard and pro for example. Shared hosting is space on a hard drive on a single machine, just like you there are many more people renting space on the same machine. Hence the name “Shared Hosting”. Some companies will offer “Business Class” or “Professional Grade” hosting which may have a few advantages to the basic plans, remember this is shared hosting nonetheless, you are still renting space next to someone else on a server. There are advantages and disadvantages to shared hosting just like everything else in life. First the
Pros of Shared Hosting:
Its really, really cheap, sometime so cheap it’s free and the company offering hosting will hope and pray you buy some add-ons so they can put food on their tables that night. This shared hosting depending on the level that you choose to purchase will allow you to host your website and others, from 1 to unlimited number. If you are just starting out in the Hosting game you are probably thinking: this is awesome! I can get a free plan load it up with 100 websites and sell more website space while filling the unlimited well and get rich quickly. Sadly this was my exact thought 15 years ago when I start
ed managing my first website. You get what you pay for is one of those transcendental phrases that touches every industry, tech included. Because the Hard Drive that your website is on, that you are also sharing with others, has finite space, most of the time unknown to you on shared hosting. Even though the company that is hosting your website is advertising unlimited space and bandwidth in most cases this is simply not true.
Deceptive? Not really, not any more than the Hard Drives you buy at the store. The advertised capacity is incorrect because of the number of bit in a byte, but the industry has accepted the standard and we all came down. Fully Managed: In all cases the server you are renting when you are purchasing shared hosting will be managed by the company you are purchasing from. There is no unmanaged hosting and you don’t have to worry about setting up any extra software to start building your website that you would in some cases with a VPS (Virtual Private Server) or a DS (Dedicated Server) that I will mention later. In most cases you will still be persuaded into purchasing a few add-ons such as a spam protector or a malicious program scan. If you ask me shared hosting should include these services because the company hosting these servers should be interested in their health and longevity, but sadly this is not so and you will be persuaded into purchasing these services on a monthly basis. Don’t get sad, they are cheap too, a few bucks a month in most cases. Maintenance is what you can avoid when choosing shared hosting.
Cons of Shared Hosting:
If your neighbors are loud, this will affect the overall health of your website. This is why you should pay a little more with a professional host, its like living in a nicer neighborhood. People who are malicious choose cheap hosting because the security is easier to get around and not as many people are monitoring their activities. There are many examples of bad behavior from using too much bandwidth, setting up too many websites or being downright malicious. In shared hosting your neighbors matter, which is why free and cheaper hosting tends to be less
reliable, especially if you are trying to run a business.
In a shared environment you are limited to the software that is installed on your system and customization is not allowed. So if you are a seasoned pro or need to run something custom, shared hosting is not your cup of tea.
So now that you have seen through all of the lingo and sales lies of the company you are considering why should you even purchase the shared hosting plan when I scared the living crap out of you. Well because some trustworthy hosting companies run a quality operation. They will not overload the server with too many accounts, they will charge a bit more for their service and perform more maintenance so your neighbors are kept in check and your website is fast and virus free. Shared hosting is where you should start if you are not sure of what to do.
Some shared hosting can handle quite a bit of traffic so even if your business blows up tomorrow you won’t have to upgrade for a while. SiteGround for example offers shared hosting that is suitable for up to 100,000 visits per month, that’s quite a few visitors. Some of our clients now can easily save money with shared hosting, but it’s the prestige of your own hardware that drives hosting company profits. Biggest mistake people who are looking for hosting make is that they purchase a plan that is too large for their needs and therefore too expensive. Shared hosting is what most people need, so don’t be afraid, I am sorry for trying to scare you, get shared hosting with a good company and sleep soundly at night.