What to Look for In A Shared Web Hosting Provider

Shared hosting is indisputably the most affordable way to get a website online. However, even though it’s cheaper than VPS, cloud, or dedicated web hosting doesn’t mean you should accept the lowest possible resources and features. Unfortunately, a lot of folks don’t know what to look for when they are shopping for a shared web hosting plan and end up accepting such. This article aims to educate you on what to look for in a shared web hosting plan so you don’t end up being another victim of poor service.

Linux or Windows?

While not many shared web hosting providers will give you a choice on which operating system your shared web hosting will use, it’s still a good idea to be aware of the differences between Linux and Windows web hosting. Plan ahead and make sure you are aware of what operating system you will need to use the features and applications you want to use. For example, if you plan on using ASP.Net, you will need Windows shared web hosting. However, if you’re planning on using WordPress, Linux shared web hosting is going to be your best bet in terms of compatibility.

How Many Websites?

Most people will be happy with just one website, but sometimes you will need more than one website, especially if you’re into marketing. You should be aware then that many shared web hosting providers limit the number of websites you can host off one shared web hosting account. Even if the shared web hosting provider doesn’t tell you how many websites you can host or that you can host unlimited websites, you may be limited in the form of how many databases your shared web hosting account comes with. If you could need more than one website, make sure you pay attention to not only the number of websites the shared web hosting provider allows you, but also the number of databases you’re given.

How Much Storage Space?

It’s also a good idea to know the ballpark of how much storage space you will need to store all your website’s data. Most websites don’t actually need much space. Compared to the programs you run on your home computer, the applications ran for websites are actually quite small. Usually, the biggest files you will have to deal with are images and video. However, if you want to run an e-commerce website or multiple websites, you may need significantly more space.

For most websites, 2GB of disk space should be more than sufficient for your needs. However, if you are running multiple websites or a large e-commerce website, you may want to get 10GB of disk space or more with your shared web hosting plan.

Beware of shared web hosting providers that limit your number of files. This is a subversive way of limiting your amount of disk space.

Unmetered Bandwidth

Bandwidth is a term used to describe the amount of information your website sends and receives. Every time someone visits your website, it uses up some of your bandwidth. This is important to remember if you are given a monthly bandwidth quota.

Although one visitor typically uses a very small amount of bandwidth (unless they’re streaming video), all the bandwidth multiple visitors use quickly adds up. If your website uses up its allotted bandwidth, it will go offline until your next month’s billing cycle starts. That is why it is important to pick a shared web hosting plan that includes unmetered bandwidth. This way, if your website happens to use more than its fair share of bandwidth, it won’t go offline. Instead, you will get an email from the shared web hosting provider requesting you upgrade your plan.

Look For Great Performance

While there are a lot of factors that can determine the speed of your website (such as how many plugins you use and how you design your website), your shared web hosting provider’s hardware shouldn’t be one of your bottlenecks. Make sure that your web hosting provider is hosting your shared plan on the latest hardware. A lot of shared web hosting providers are using SSD drives to speed up their service, and the one you choose should be no exception. This will help your website load as quickly as possible when someone visits your website.

Page rendering speed is a huge factor in search engine ranking, and it also can help reduce the amount of visitors that bounce from your website never to return. Studies show that even a 1-second delay can reduce the amount of purchases on your website by 7%.

User Friendliness

It should be an intuitive and easy process to administer your website. This of course is best done by using a control panel that utilizes a user-friendly interface. If the control panel’s user interface is easy to use, then it should be no problem to do tasks such as installing a new website, adding extensions, updating software, and taking care of your account.

cPanel is the standard among many shared web hosting providers, but others may use Plesk if your shared plan is based on Windows hosting. Both of these are great for user-friendliness. Some may use their own custom control panel, which is where the real concern for user-friendliness comes into play. Also, no matter what control panel is used with your shared hosting account, your shared web hosting provider’s support team should be well versed in how to deal with issues that may arise in your usage of their control panel.

Security

Of course, the last thing you want to happen to your website is for it to get hacked or infected with malware. Part of what you should be looking for when shopping for a shared web hosting provider is for them to have a wide range of security features that will help keep your website protected. Look for a shared web hosting provider that offers email scanning, spam filtering, SSL certificates, firewalls, intrusion detection, as well as remote backups so that, if worse comes to worst, you can restore your website from a clean backup.

Uptime

Of course, once your website is up and running, you also don’t want to lose traffic because it goes down at random times. So choosing a shared web hosting provider that has a great uptime is important. Ideally, your shared web hosting provider should have a 100% uptime. If they don’t, that average should not fall below 99%. Many shared web hosting providers offer money-back guarantees as well as uptime guarantees that will credit your account for any downtime you experience. Make sure you are taking full advantage of these guarantees by using an uptime monitoring service such as Pingdom to monitor your website’s uptime. If your uptime falls below 99%, you may want to consider shopping for a new shared web hosting provider so you don’t lose any more traffic than you have to.

Features

There are several more features you want to look for in a shared web hosting provider. It is ideal to get a contract length with no minimums so you are free to go at any time should your shared web hosting provider not deliver on their promises to provide fantastic service. 24/7 technical support is crucial, so you always have access to support in the case of your website going down or any other issues occurring with your website. Additionally, there should be no limit or a very high limit on the amount of email accounts you can use with your domain, and you definitely should not have to pay anything extra to use email with your domain.

Conclusion

It is important to choose wisely when you are picking a shared web hosting provider. The success of your website hugely depends on it receiving the best service possible from your shared web hosting provider. Your website can fall or stand depending on how good the service is that your shared web hosting provider provides. Hopefully this article has helped you to understand some features you should be looking for in order to pick out a quality service.