Shared web hosting is very popular web hosting package. It has the largest market share in the web hosting industry. Many companies choose shared web hosting package, particularly those new to technologies, as it seems to have everything: great price, unlimited web space and bandwidth, and awesome customer support.
But people who are new to technologies often end up paying for the wrong web hosting plan because they usually do not know which web hosting package offers the best solution for their web hosting needs.
How to choose a ‘right’ web hosting package?
Web hosting is a combination of hardware and functional features; so, you will need to understand some technical aspects of it in order to find the ‘right’ solution for your needs.
Finding the ‘right’ web hosting plan is not difficult at all – just remember that purchasing a web host package that seems to offer unbelievable features (unlimited space and bandwidth, 24/7 support, and 99.99% uptime) does not mean it is the ‘right’ solution for your organization.
Of course, it would be wonderful if you could simply consult a webmaster who could explain you everything: which features to look for your project. If you don’t have that option, keep reading this post to understand few important facts about shared web hosting package, and then, choose the best web host plan for your online project.
5 Essential Features of Shared Web Hosting
Here are five features that you must be looking for in shared web hosting plans:
1) The Basics (Essentials): Disk Space and Website Traffic
Let us begin with the essentials. When you want to host a website on the Internet, you need web space (disk space) that will be used to store all your files, web pages, scripts, databases, images, videos, and other media types. That is why you actually need a web space on your server. Logically, the smaller and simpler your website, the less importance this feature is – i.e. disk space.
Once you build a website by uploading web pages, images, videos, etc on your server, you want these data to be accessed by people. This is when bandwidth comes into play. Imagine bandwidth like a tunnel: the wider the tunnel, the more information can pass through it.
Many web host providers offer unlimited bandwidth, but they put a limitation on traffic speed, which also affects the performance of your website. So, when searching for a good shared plan, pay attention to these two features: bandwidth and traffic speed.
Again, the bigger and complex your website, the more hard disk you will require. Not only that, but you also require additional security for additional hard disk, which, unfortunately, is not included in the shared hosting plans.
2) Uptime Guarantee
Uptime is the percentage of time your website is running online and your users are accessing it without any problems – downtime. It is measured in percentage from the total expected uptime (24 hours/7 days/365 days). Of course, everyone expects their website to be uptime 100% of the time, but if you are just starting out, your project is not that big, and hence, you do not need 100% uptime.
In such scenarios, 98% is more than enough.
And here is a little secret I would like to share with you: when choosing a web hosting plan, do not pay attention to what web hosts brag about their uptime – they use the best servers for their company’s server while offering you servers with poor uptime.
Still, if you are curious to know the real uptime of a web host, these are independent websites that allow you to measure the uptime % of any web host provider. Alternatively, you can read forum threads or even ask your friends for advice.
In addition to uptime, you should also pay attention to various security options included in the hosting plan, which ensures your server is safe from malware and viruses all the time.
Also, keep in mind that most web host companies do not include important (pricey) security options in cheap shared web hosting plan. For instance, shared web hosting does not include RAID, manual server restart, server backup, advanced network architecture, and other services.
3) Customer Support
Customer support is bread and butter of any online business. If this is your first time choosing a shared web host plan, pay close attention to these customer support feature: 24/7/365 support, friendly and experienced people responding to your issues, support via email, live chat, phone, support ticket, or FAQs section.
Also, check out online forums and sites to find and understand customer support features for your shared web hosting plan.
Again, customer support is highly important because when you are in the first few steps of building your website, certainly, you will have tons of questions and issues with your web host. Many of those issues and questions require immediate responses. That’s why you need a fast and responsive support team that can fix all kinds of web hosting and website issues for you.
4) Pre-Installed Apps
Many web host providers are giving off 100s of additional features into their shared plans, making our life a little bit more tedious than it was supposed to be. They have all the bells and the whistles: unlimited options, extra-free services (email marketing, for e.g.), pre-installed apps, and other similar things like that.
Focus on the pre-installed apps only; they are special programs that help you build a website quickly and manage it more efficiently. One of the most popular inbuilt apps is the control panel. If your shared host package contains a control panel, breathe a sigh of relief.
Everything gets easier after this, as you can control everything – even the most complicated server tasks – from a user-friendly interface. cPanel is the most popular control panel, but other alternatives are also available: Webmin, Zpanel, Virtualmin, or even the hosting company’s own control panel (which we do not recommend).
Most control panels also have apps and add-ons pre-installed that allow you to do perform some function with a single click only. You can use eCommerce tools to integrate a shopping cart or payment system such as PayPal to your online store. Or, you can install popular CMS such as WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal on your site through a quick automatic installation.
Remember that theses add-ons are only necessary as long as you need them. If you are hiring someone to create a website or a promo for you, then these features are not required.
5) Free Bonuses
Finally, this is the most interesting feature about shared web hosting plans you need to consider. The market of shared web hosting is so huge that various companies are using offering different free bonuses to attract more clients. Some of them will offer a free website transfer, a free domain name, a free website building tools, and free advertising credits for marketing purposes.
Of course, having these free bonuses are nice to have. The more bonuses you have, the better the deal is for you. However, the most important thing to consider when it comes to free bonuses is the “renewal fees.”
What happens is that a web hosting company will offer you a free domain name for a year, but after the end of the first year, you will have to pay a yearly fee. Sometimes, some company offers their shared web hosting package for a dollar or two, but after a year, charge you the regular price to recuperate their first year’s income.
As always, read the user agreement carefully if you are offered free bonuses from a company. You see, choosing a shared web hosting plan is highly subjective: you have to spend some time figuring out which features are essential for your project, and which ones are really non-essentials.
Remember to keep the pricing and reliability at the forefront – your web host company has to have a good reliability to price ratio. For more information on this, check out reviews on relevant forums and sites.
I have compared the best-shared hosting providers – Check them out here >>
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