What is Web Hosting?
Web Hosting is when space is allocated on a web server for a website to host its data, images, files, code.
What is Shared Web Hosting?
You share server space with several other websites; this saves cost and is preferred when negligible customization is required. You don’t have control over settings. This type of hosting is perfect for small businesses that don’t require much bandwidth and can share it with others.
Consider it like living in a hostel; you share a common mess, laundry facility etc. with others.
How to choose the perfect Shared Hosting plan?
Shared Hosting in itself will come in different structures and customizations. Many specifications will influence your decision. A lot of these factors you will have to discuss with your service provider.
1. Windows or Linux
Linux is an open-source platform compatible with MySQL and PHP whereas Windows Hosting works on Windows as the Operating System and works on technologies such ASP, .NET, Microsoft SQL Server (MSSQL), and Microsoft Access. Windows in many cases also require purchasing licenses to work on.
Linux hosting is considered more secure and economical, though Windows is recommended when you need to work on Microsoft technologies. But if you are just beginning or working on a small scale and don’t have very specific requirements that only Microsoft can fulfill, Linux Shared Hosting should be your preferred choice.
2. Disk Space
Disk Space the server that stores the content website is known as disk space. How much space do you require- 10/20/50 GB? It depends on the purpose of your website. A video-sharing platform will need more space to store high-quality and lengthy videos. A blog with mostly articles and a handful of images will need less space. An e-commerce store will need space to store the catalog, customer account data, etc. This varies on the popularity of the brand and the number of orders expected.
While Disk Space refers to the ability to store data, Bandwidth refers to the ability to transfer data, i.e. amount of data that is exchanged between the user and your website at a specific time. It is the rate of data transfer to and fro of your website.
Is the data that is to be transferred on your site consists of text, images, or videos, how much of it is for just viewing and streaming and how much of it is downloadable, the number of visitors your website, the structure of your website and the number of pages they a visitor will see in every visit?
4. Domains & Sub-Domains
Domain name refers to the address or name of your website. Sub-Domain refers to an internal page in a website, e.g. a product page on an e-commerce store. Your hosting plan should be decided by how many domains and sub-domains you need. Suppose you want to have a different website for the bulk customers of your products in India, or a different website for buyers outside India.
5. E-mail Accounts
Are you a mom-and-pop store that sends and received a handful of e-mails in a day and needs just one id to manage all your communication? Or are you a budding corporate house that needs multiple email accounts for your staff to keep track and manage tasks in a more coherent and organized way?
Are you an export firm that deals in one or two big orders a month and needs a website just for marketing or are you an e-commerce firm that is solely dependent on online trade, or are you a social media company that is preparing for a big trending event to occur on your platform? Most different plans will have different support structures by the hosting provider. A 24*7 support will cost more while a 9-to-5 will be easier on your balance sheet.
Consider a case where an issue with your customer arises and now you need to access data of two months ago or suppose, there is a discrepancy in your accounts and you need to see data of a credit card transaction that happened on your website last week. Now, where to access this data?
- While choosing any hosting plan, you need to be careful on aspects related to backups
- Will you have to do it manually or will the service provider do it; It is weekly or every day?
- Will the complete data be stored or some specific information and fields; how much space data will be stored?
- Till what time will backup be stored?
- How can you access the backup?
In any business, backup is the most important thing which people overlook because they focus on growth, yet every successful business always has robust data of its journey.
While everyone should focus on security; it becomes necessary if your website involves financial transactions. Make it a point to note whether your shared hosting plan includes an SSL certificate plan and if not, what will be the cost to it.
9. Renewal Price
In many cases, hosting providers charge very little for the first year and keep high costs for annual/quarterly/monthly renewal which is generally overlooked by the customers as the initial cheap costs seem attractive. Then, it becomes difficult to migrate and set up everything from the beginning thus many customers decide to continue.
10. Hidden Costs
Above few points related to backups, security, renewal, etc. can be considered to come under the umbrella in a way of Hidden Costs.
Generally, a cheaper plan will ask you to add features later during which will cost you, an expensive plan will include everything at the beginning itself.
Suppose, if your business plan requires you to go slowly, maybe it will be better to have a cheaper plan and upgrade stuff later.
All the above factors boil down to one aspect that is what vision you have for your business a few years down the line. Of course, this doesn’t mean you need to well-versed with the technology aspect but a basic idea will not only help you in selecting the perfect plan but also in negotiations.
Even if you may be a growing enterprise that has not figured out how everything will pan out and is going on hit and trial, an honest understanding of how much business you expect, your popularity, customer base, data, content, etc. will go a long way in helping you to decide on the perfect hosting plan for you.