Shared hosting is the most common type of hosting and it is usually the best choice when you are going to build your first website. Shared hosting can cost anything from USD 5 a month depending in the specs. It is uncommon for shared hosting to cost more than 30 a month. If you go above that price point then it is possible to get a VPS for the same money.
What is shared hosting
Shared hosting does not mean that you share a hosting account with different users. What it means is that your hosting account shares a server with a number of other accounts. How many accounts there are on a server can vary greatly. A server hosting small accounts can feature several hundred or sometimes thousand accounts on the same server. If you have a larger account then you might share the server with just a handful of other accounts.
Quality of hosting
A good shared hosting provider does not place too many accounts on the same server. Placing more accounts on the same server is more profitable for the hosting company but is detrimental for the users. If a server has a larger number of accounts then the server resources will be divided between a larger number of accounts and the service provided to each account will be lower.
The number of accounts on a server will however only tell you a part of the story. The specifications of the server they are hosted on will also impact the hosting quality dramatically. A company that hosts 200 shared accounts on a top of the line server is likely to offer a better user experience then a company that uses an older weak server to host 100 accounts.
A third factor that affects the experience is how popular the other websites on the server are. If your website shares the server with 2000 websites that no one ever visits then that host might be able to provide you with great hosting. If your site share a server with 20 very popular sites then the server might struggle under the load.
Avoid cheap hosts
Generally it can be said that cheaper hosts are more likely to host a very large number of accounts on the same server. If you pay a little more you will likely get an account that share the server with fewer other accounts and that provides a better user experience. More expensive is not always better but I would recommend that you avoid the cheapest accounts. Especially accounts that cost less than USD5.
Choosing a host
There are a few things you should think about when you are choosing a host. Below we are going to look at the most important things to consider.
What software do you need to run
Start by considering what software you are going to use on your website and what is required to run that website.
- Do you need a UNIX or WINDOWS based server.
- Do you need php or asp. What version.
- Do you need databases? What kind? How many?
- Do you need FTP access.
- Does the host support all other features you need.
Do not be afraid to ask the host if they provide you with a certain feature before you register wit them. They can usually tell you if a certain software will run on their service or not.
How much HDD space do you need?
HDD space is usually not a problem for most websites. Most hosts will provide you with more space then you need. If you are planning to build a website to post a lot of high quality images or other large files then it can be a good idea to calculate how much space you need and find a service that offers that?
How popular do you think your website will be?
It is common that hosts have a maximum allowance of how much resources your website is allowed to use. They need to do this to make sure that all account on the server work well. To avoid that one or a few accounts hogs all the resources and causes all sites to be slow. If you think your website will be popular then it can be a good idea to get a better account right from the start. Most hosts makes it very easy for you to upgrade your account without you having to do anything at all.
What type of website are you planning on building?
It is common that hosts have rules against hosting certain types of websites on their servers. It is common that they do not allow proxies, torrent sites, porn sites and a number of other types of sites. If you want to host these types of sites than you need to find a host who allows them or get a dedicated server. Most server companies allow you to host anything legal on a dedicated server even if they do not allowed it on shared hosting. This is because most webmaster do not want to share a server with a porn site. If you get your own dedicated server then this is no longer an issue.
Where is the hosting located
If you are building a local website then it can be a good idea to host it locally.