As more people and businesses look to the Internet to increase their exposure, the subject of shared hosting is a hot topic. Web Hosting Providers offer three main options for website hosting. Companies and individuals have the choice of dedicated servers, virtual private servers (VPS) or shared hosting servers. Depending on the Host, services and costs may vary significantly. However, the level of service provided and the variation of software available should supersede cost considerations.
There are many areas in which you can cut costs with an online business but there is a difference between cutting costs and improved value for money. If considering web hosting for one of your beginner sites or a more developed portal, take these points into account.
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Competition in the market place
Whether you are looking at a small personal blog or an established online e-commerce site you will find a large number of hosting plans available. Many hosting companies offer an array of standard plans. As such, check your desired host for the option to customise your plan for your particular circumstances.
We don’t live in a one size fits all business world. So, the ability to match a customer’s needs with web hosting services is invaluable.
Ultimately, cost differs and will obviously depend upon the level of service you are looking for. To give an idea, shared hosting plans can start from 2 pounds a month upwards to 15 pounds.
Shared hosting: under the microscope
It is safe to say that security is paramount in the minds of all e-commerce and online bloggers. As such, the term “shared hosting” can sometimes give the wrong impression. Many people misunderstand shared-hosting, often looking elsewhere because of a perceived lack of privacy, security and isolation from others on a shared server. However, share hosting servers, when surveilled frequently in data centres, provides websites with maximum speed and efficiency. Shared hosting remains competitively priced even if we strip it down to just the basics. Plus, you can set up several different accounts on one server. The exact number of accounts will depend upon the capacity of the server, the traffic for each account and a built-in level of headroom to accommodate peaks in traffic.
This is a safe and secure means to host a beginner website.
The next level up is a virtual private servers (VPS). This is essentially one of a number of “virtual servers” that hosting companies configure on a physical server. The software used to manage VPS also ensures complete security and flexibility for each account. At the top of the tree we have dedicated servers which are physical stand-alone servers, allocated to a single account. These are traditionally used by huge e-commerce businesses and high traffic websites. Users can opt for managed or unmanaged VPS, or dedicated servers (typically unmanaged). Unmanaged servers, provide website owners with complete control. However, unmanaged servers require a trained technical team with specialised knowledge to monitor individual servers.
Save time: Concentrate on your website
When looking at the various types of hosting available you need to consider where your skills are best utilised to maximise income and profit. If you run an online business then the majority of your time should be spent marketing and servicing clients. The vast majority of online entrepreneurs simply have no time to take on full management of their hosting accounts. Not to mention the new skills required to manage and maintain servers. So it is often a false economy to go down this route. The best way to describe this is “horses for courses”. That is, you need to focus all of your energy and skills towards expanding your website not on hosting maintenance.
On the flipside of the coin, you also need to have confidence in the security of your website and your hosting account, which is where we come in. The integration and maintenance of firewalls is an ongoing process which ensures a high level of security. However, there is more to hosting than just firewalls which is where we earn our stripes.
Security and the monitoring of inward/outward traffic are important issues when protecting servers. The shared hosting option allows each account holder to focus on managing their own website and expanding their business. Leaving server maintenance and monitoring activities to the host company. Using various alerts triggered by abnormal traffic levels your host provider can very quickly identify issues with spam emails and hacked accounts. In these situations it is imperative that you act as quickly as possible, which is where your host company will be able to help.
They won’t fully manage your website but they will advise and identify potential issues. Web hosting companies offering shared hosting services need to maintain the integrity of their servers. Regular issues with spamming and hacks can lead to blacklisted IPs. This can have a seriously detrimental impact on websites. So, you can remain in your bubble on your shared account while the hosting company identifies, nullifies and protects all accounts from unwanted intrusions.
Easy website management panel: cPanel
It is now standard for hosting companies to offer shared hosting customers a degree of access to the “back-end” often via what is known as Control Panel (cPanel). In effect this allows customers to monitor and manage their own website files, communications and other services. This will also include access to a library of software packages, email configurations, website statistics, backups and much more. The number of options used in Control Panel depends upon the experience and involvement of the account holder.
Even though SSL certificates have been around for some time it is only recently that search engines introduced them as an integral part of their ranking algorithms. Many Internet users still take encrypted communication from their host server via HTTPS protocol for granted. Thankfully, it is fairly easy to install SSL certificates on shared hosting facilities and thereby instil a significant degree of confidence in your visitors.
Search engines blow the whistle on websites lacking HTTPS, triggering a wave of public awareness. You will notice the grey/green padlock to the left of the website URLs you visit as well as more blatant warnings on search engine listings. While it is obviously in the best interest of account holders to secure their website it is also vital for web hosting companies offering shared services.
Flexible shared hosting plans
Scalable plans are also an important part of the shared hosting sector allowing you to upgrade and downgrade capacity on your account depending upon variations in your requirements. There is also the opportunity to upgrade to a VPS or dedicated server in the future with many beginner sites developing into high traffic portals. This flexibility is something to consider before making a final decision – one of the many hosting benefits available today. A seamless shift to a more appropriate hosting account also ensures no down time and no loss of revenue.
There are many issues to take into consideration when looking at your web hosting requirements; from your financial constraints to scalable plans, overall hosting benefits to long-term security. It is also worth noting that many hosting companies are making plans to accommodate regulatory and physical challenges post Brexit. As all web hosting servers will need to appreciate the change in legal and physical requirements in order to cover all shared hosting accounts.
When considering your options, we can help you identify your specific short to medium term hosting requirements, set up an appropriate web hosting account and offer guidance and support going forward. It may be appropriate to upgrade or downgrade your account in the future which can be enacted very quickly. As a consequence, you can concentrate on expanding your website and increasing your income. Let a reliable host maintain individual server and account security/integrity going forward.