Shared Web Hosting, What Features to Look For?
A majority of the world’s websites rely on shared web hosting, with good reason. For a small monthly cost, a shared hosting plan can put your business or ideas on the world wide web. Among the many providers, the quality of service varies widely. Before rushing into a plan, invest some time in finding a shared hosting service that will ensure the success of your website.
Shared Web Hosting: How it Works?
With shared web hosting, many websites share computational power, bandwidth, memory, and storage on a web server. Sharing resources allows providers to host each website at a very low cost. Shared hosting is an ideal solution for websites with modest traffic and bandwidth requirements.
Downtime for a website means more than an annoyance for customers. Google’s mission-critical search engine optimization rankings include uptime scores. While the search giant is relatively forgiving for short and infrequent moments of downtime, chronic offline periods will clobber your website’s SEO score and bury your site ranking. Happily, Google makes allowances for scheduled downtime periods when websites alert their customers a few days ahead.
With the importance of uptime established, how can customers evaluate a web host provider’s ability to deliver month after month? First, a reputable host will provide a real-time link to a third-party monitoring service. These monitoring sites provide uptime percentages out to three decimal points. 99.5% uptime is a widespread benchmark for reliability, but the industry’s best providers can hit 99.99% or higher.
While a high uptime score is positive, an elite provider should also stand behind their uptime guarantee by providing refunds or credits if uptime falls short. You can find the details of an uptime guarantee on the hosting provider’s services level agreement page. Look for a table spelling out the amount for refunds or credits paid after outages of differing durations. Higher credits and refunds are the mark of the providers with confidence in their service. Screenshot the table for each service so that you may compare the numbers.
Uptime means little if your website behaves sluggishly for visitors. Your web host’s hardware has a big say in how well your site will perform. Many web hosting customers find themselves intimidated by the hardware discussions, but you can learn much about a provider by looking at a few key metrics.
As you work through your short list of web-hosting candidates, pay attention to the host’s total server count. With shared hosting, a traffic surge on a single website means that other sites may suffer lower performance on an overburdened server. A high server count, along with sound management, enables a host to reallocate resources and keep all of their customers’ sites performing at a high level.
Along with the server count, location also matters. More than one data center builds in redundancy and safety. Multiple data centers are a plus for any provider and will provide even better performance if these hubs span more than one continent.
Bandwidth is the amount of data transmitted to your web visitors over one month. Understanding your host’s bandwidth policies will help you prevent a site shutdown or a nasty additional charge on your next service invoice. Among shared hosting providers, several hosts offer either unlimited or unmetered bandwidth, relieving you of this website management worry. If one of your web host candidates sets monthly bandwidth limits, take the time to read through the host’s overage policies. Some providers will waive the overage charge if you move to an account tier with higher bandwidth.
If you already have a functioning website and seek better performance, look into a host’s migration policies. The overwhelming majority of web hosts will migrate your site for free but pay attention to the host’s downtime guarantee for the transition.
Backing up the pages and data of a website is an essential security step. If a hosting service does not include backups in their base plan, take care to include the cost of this add-on as you narrow your choices.
Beyond the cost and frequency of your backups, pay attention to how your host restores your site from a backup. Because shared hosting serves budget-conscious buyers, some hosts scrimp on restoration resources. This cost-cutting measure means your site may go offline for hours during a restoration, antagonizing your customers and damaging your SEO ranking. You can avoid this unnecessary hit by selecting a host that guarantees zero downtime backups.
While backups play a role in the security of your website, you also need proactive measures. Distributed denial of service attacks occurs when cyber predators flood a website with requests, denying service to legitimate visitors. DDoS attacks make headlines when cybercriminals target corporate websites, but small business and blogger sites are even more vulnerable.
When a DDoS swarm takes down a small business site, visitors will assume that your website is poorly managed and draw a similar inference about your business. This harsh fact makes DDoS protection mission-critical for every website. Some web hosts bundle DDoS protection in their plans, while others offer this service as an extra-cost add-on. Either way, ensure that this protection is in place before your site goes online.
Over time, your website traffic may outgrow the resources available with shared web hosting. As you evaluate shared web hosting options, take a brief look at the host’s virtual private server plans. VPSs — the next higher rung on the web hosting ladder — provide a guaranteed amount of CPU resources, bandwidth, and RAM. Web hosts may offer managed VPS plans or provide an unmanaged option that gives you fine-grained control of your website’s resources. No matter which path you choose, make certain that your host guarantees zero downtime during the transition.
Nearly every web hosting service advertises a money-back guarantee on the home page, but claiming that refund may prove difficult. Take a few moments to read through a host’s guarantee policy and procedures. While it is a good practice to allow your host a reasonable time window to resolve difficulties, ensure that the ultimate refund decision remains in your hands.
An SSL certificate is now a necessity for every website. These certificates enable the Transport Layer Security protocol, an encryption technique that protects data transmissions between your website and your visitor’s browsers. TLS derives from the older Secure Socket Layer protocol, with the older initials still in widespread use. While many hosts bundle SSL certs into their plans, others charge a one-time fee.
The web hosting market is booming; everywhere, you might see advertising for web hosting for $0.10. Don’t get yourself caught in the dirty hands. Above all, we explained the primary features you should look for from your next shared web hosting provider.
KnownHost began business in 2006 aiming to provide best-in-class web hosting services. With our data centers in the Netherlands, Seattle, and our new state-of-the-art Atlanta facility, we serve customers in more than 150 countries. From shared hosting to VPS solutions and up to dedicated servers, KnownHost has the team and technology to meet your needs.