How To Choose The Right Shared Web Hosting Plan

How To Choose The Right Shared Web Hosting Plan

Shared web hosting is a popular choice when one is looking for a hosting choice to launch their online presence. Often marketed as a scalable and affordable hosting solution, shared hosting may seem like an ideal option. But before making a decision, here are a few things to consider:

  • What is shared web hosting?
  • How to quantify the scope of a shared hosting plan? Who should opt for shared hosting?
  • What are the limitations? Who should not opt for shared web hosting?
  • Which is the best-shared web hosting plan to choose for?

Let’s tackle these questions one at a time.

What Is Shared Web Hosting?

Before answering this question, it is important to be clear on what web hosting is. Simply put, web hosting provides you an always online, addressable storage space that allows you to build a website to share information, content, and files with a wider audience on the World Wide Web. This is done by mapping the storage to a domain name, which is the address of your business or identity on the internet.

So whether you want to create a business website, personal blog or image gallery, you won’t get far without the assistance of a web host or a service that uses a hosting layer and allows you to perform these functions in the form of a product – for example, Website Builders, WordPress and Flickr, respectively.

However, the cost of setting up a hosting environment from scratch for a website or application is huge. Several small and mid-sized business owners are unable to afford it. To minimize cost, they look for a hosting option that is shared by multiple users and managed professionally by a team of system administrators, hence the name, “shared web hosting.” In a shared web-hosting environment, resources like data, memory, hard disk space, CPU time, and more are shared among many clients.

Although this arrangement may bring down the cost of server management and maintenance, it may not be the best solution for all websites and businesses. Therefore, a critical approach is essential while choosing the best shared web-hosting plan for an upcoming website or web application.

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How To Quantify The Scope Of A Shared Web-Hosting Plan? Who Should Opt For This Plan?

The usual metrics used to quantify the scope of shared web hosting are Bandwidth, Storage, and Server Density (which measures the number of users sharing a single server). Affordable pricing may be the mainstay of shared web hosting, but there are other advantages as well:

  • The convenience of cPanel to manage websites
  • One-click installation of many popular open-source software tools 
  • Access to phpMyAdmin to manage databases
  • No server management and security updates to worry about

Easy to setup and manage, shared web hosting is a good entry-level option for:

  • Businesses and professionals who want to manage websites and web applications that have a simple graphical interface or static website
  • Small business owners who want to maintain the site themselves and save on IT overhead cost
  • Professionals looking to deploy open-source CMS applications, such as WordPress, Drupal, PHP, Magento, etc. for themselves or their clients

What Are The Limitations Of A Shared Hosting Plan & Who Should Not Opt For This Plan?

Shared hosting is like a typical reservoir between many websites and therefore casts certain limitations on the platform, such as:

  • Websites hosted on shared servers may be more vulnerable to attacks due to potential issues on other sites hosted on the same server
  • Servers hosting hundreds of websites may cause the administrators to push major security updates or update PHP, WordPress, and Moodle versions less often which makes your platform less secure
  • Websites on shared servers have a common IP. Therefore, if any website indulges in any abuse or malpractices, it could adversely affect other websites hosted on the server as well
  • Installing SSL certificates to use HTTPS may be problematic on shared servers. However, with some modern providers who offer SNI (Server Name Indication), this can be circumvented
  • High-traffic websites operating on a shared host are prone to be slow or sluggish because of resource limitations
  • Websites have to rely on the software and application offered by the web host and cannot seek their changes at a root / OS level

Acknowledging the above reasons, shared web hosting is not an ideal option for:

  • Large data-driven websites
  • Web sites that carry sensitive user information
  • Complex web applications
  • Web apps that need the support of new tools
  • Web sites that require frequent software changes

Which Is The Best Shared Web Hosting Plan To Opt For?

Choosing the right hosting plan is an exercise that needs to be undertaken before the development of a website or web app. This decision is guided by a clear understanding of one’s business target. Also, within shared hosting, different plans are designed with the particular need of the user in mind. Therefore, choose a shared web-hosting plan based on the following:

  • Which platform is your website going to build on – Linux or Windows? Pick the plan that offers the right OS and corresponding Database options
  • How quickly do you expect your website traffic to grow? Ensure that the plan you choose offers adequate Bandwidth and Data Transfer
  • What is the nature of your business? Does it involve credit-card transactions with high-security concerns?
  • Are you looking to host multiple websites and domains? Ensure that your chosen plan supports add-on domains
  • Will you be using the email services provided as part of the hosting plan? Ensure that the email interface and storage capacity included meets your requirements. Usually, it is best to opt for a separate professional email service

Based on this assessment you may opt for one of the below:

  • Single Plan – Typically meant for a single domain or end-users looking to set-up a static website or CMS like WordPress, Magento, etc.
  • Business/Service Plan – Mostly designed for product and service providers and offers administrative service for up to three or four domains
  • Professional Plan – This plan provides hosting of unlimited domains and is intended for the likes of web developers, designers, professional hosting providers, etc.
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