As many of you already know, shared hosting is one of cheapest web hosting option for beginners or bloggers to get started. You plan to get started with a website and yes, shared web hosting is the best option for most webmasters
However, there are some factors you need to consider while purchasing a web hosting plan. I am not talking about unlimited disk space or bandwidth, There are few other things which you need to consider
What is unlimited?
While your research to find a suitable shared web hosting you might have seen web hosts boasting they offer unlimited disk space and bandwidth. We can tell that it is just a marketing gimmick, let us explain that. Before getting started let us explain what is shared web hosting. Imagine a dormitory which accommodates many people in a room. Shared hosting is exactly like this, your website is kept in a shared server along with other websites where you share server resources with others. So, everything is shared you can use only server resources allocated to you. If your site uses more resources than allocated, they will kill processes running since excessive use of resources by one website could affect the performance of other websites as well.
Now, coming back to the “unlimited” disk space, we know that every server has a hard drive where the website is saved and delivered from. It is pretty same as our PCs hard drive. Have you ever heard of a Hard drive offering unlimited storage? Your answer will be no but then how these web hosts can offer unlimited storage? Well, it is just a marketing gimmick(Some web host to use the term unmetered instead unlimited that is pretty honest). Web hosts know that you can not use all the web disk space and resources, for ?if you do so, they will ask you to upgrade to a VPS or a dedicated server
Support is another thing which you should consider before purchasing a web hosting. Beginners (Even advanced developers) will most likely choose a shared web hosting and use WordPress to make their blog. A beginner may run into problems ( And its pretty normal).
Having a great support available round the clock to rescue you in such scenario is really helpful. Thus you should consider a hosting provider which provides good support. Web hosts nowadays provide various mediums of support, Live chat, Phone, ticket. You should consider a web host which support at least two of these preferably live chat or phone support.
The best method to test support is actually trying it. Contact your web host several times and check if they provide good support all the time. Also, check if their customer support agents are experts who can actually resolve your issues. The price you are paying for your web host includes support too, so there is nothing wrong asking for good support.
Security is an equally important parameter. Most bloggers or webmasters use WordPress or Joomla to make their website or blog probably you’re also using WordPress as it is one of the most famous CMS out there. This fame makes hackers to target websites that run on WordPress.
Why they target WordPress? There are thousands of websites running on WordPress and if they can manage to find an exploit in the script, they can use it on all websites that is based on WordPress.
In this scenario, you should consider a web host which offers great security as well. They should patch new exploits and also provide malware scanning and removal. If your website is hacked, It will affect your credibility, and also will affect you in various ways. So a responsible web host can keep some hackers away. We recommend Siteground as they offer secure hosting.
That said, you as a blogger or webmaster should do your part well. Such as using a strong password and other recommended methods to keep your website secure.
Performance and Server resource utilization
Performance is another major concern. Your website loading speed affects your SEO thus you should consider performance seriously, When you are in a shared environment, your website is hosted on a server with hundreds of other websites.
You get certain resource allocation (Like 1 core CPU and 2GB RAM) but the entire server resource is shared with other webmasters. If your website is hosted on another resource-hogging website, it will use much more server resource and it will cause some performance issue for your website. This is normal in shared web hosting and most web host will tackle this issue
Now there is another issue – Overselling. Overselling is also much common in shared web hosting. If you suspect that your web host is overselling, it is better to switch to a web host which does not oversell. Interserver is a web host which uses only 50% of the server resource. Which means web hosting like this will provide better performance.
Another thing you should consider is the uptime. Uptime is the time during which a computer staying operational. Most web hosts nowadays provide a 99.9% or 99.95% server uptime. Some cloud hosts even offer 100% uptime and are covered under their SLA.
99.9% uptime means a total downtime of 43m 49.7s a month. 99.99% uptime means maximum downtime of 21m 54.9s a month. Within these ranges, it is applicable and if your website downtime is more than these, its good to migrate to a reputable web host. If your web host has an SLA, its always good
While 100% uptime is still too much for a shared hosting, you should not opt for anything which is lower than 99.95% uptime.
What to ask for?
Well, now we know the reality about unlimited. So what we need to look for while purchasing a shared hosting plan ? I would say that you need to check how much memory is allocated, check for CPU speed as well. Another important thing is entry process, entry process is the number of PHP scripts run at a time. Most web hosts offer at least 30 entry processes, for an advanced plan you can expect something close to 100 entry processes or more. In most scenarios, 30 entry processes are enough for your website to run smoothly. but if the number of php scripts running at the same time on your website increases, it might give an internal server error. So choose wisely and don’t make your web hosting experience disastrous
In short, you should ask these questions
- What you mean by unlimited?
- Is there a fair usage policy?
- How many entry processes are available?
- How much memory is allocated per user/per plan?
- What are I/O process limit?
- Do you periodically scam for malware and remove them?
- Is there an overage charge?
- Is your support outsourced?
- How is your uptime?
- Do you have an SLA?
These are the things you should be aware of and we have also provided some questions which you should ask your web host before proceeding with the purchase. If you have thoughts about these, feel free to comment them below.