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Table of contents for the shared web hosting guide
- Web Hosting and How It Works?
- What Is A Domain Name and How Do I Get One?
- Different Types of Web Hosting Services
- Pros and Cons of Shared Hosting
- Choose the Right Type of Hosting
- How to Buy Shared Hosting
- Additional Web Hosting Resources
Whether you are launching the next tech startup or a small local sandwich shop in Denver, web hosting is an essential component of a successful online business.
If you’ve researched how to get your brand online, you probably have come across different types of web hosting including shared web hosting, dedicated hosting, VPS, and cloud hosting to name a few.
All of these plans can be used to host a website, but you may have noticed shared hosting is one of the more popular hosting plans.
You are in the right place, if you’re trying to figure out what’s the best plan or just want to know more about shared web hosting.
In this in-depth guide, we’ll try to answer all your questions on shared web hosting and how it compares to other hosting options.
What is web hosting and how does it work?
Web Hosting is the link between your website and the internet. Just like you need a plot of land to build a house on, similarly, when you create a website, you need space to host your web page components (text, images, videos, audios, PDF files, and other content).
To make your website available on the internet, you need a web server.
Developer.mozilla.org defines as:
“Web server” can refer to hardware or software, or both of them working together.
- On the software side, a web server includes several parts that control how web users to access hosted files, at minimum an HTTP server. An HTTP server is a piece of software that understands URLs (web addresses) and HTTP (the protocol your browser uses to view web pages). It can be accessed through the domain names (like mozilla.org) of websites it stores and delivers their content to the end-user’s device.
If you are a technical person, there are ways to host your own website and set up your own server. But, most businesses you find on the web are using a quality web hosting service provider like Lunarpages.
When the server gets a request for a page from a browser, (which is obtained by translating the domain name) the server executes and delivers the requested page.
This process is known as web hosting.
If you are a video person, here’s a great video explaining how the web works.
What is a domain name and how do I get one?
Let’s say you bought the plot of land to build your home. The address of your home is equivalent to a domain name on the web.
Before you create a website and put it online, you need a domain. Furthermore, a domain name is the unique address of your site that visitors use to find your page, e.g. google.com and lunarpages.com are domain names.
It is possible to register a domain name with one of almost a thousand ICANN-accredited registrars, who will run a check to see if the domain is available or not.
Check here to see if your domain name is available.
Also, here’s another in-depth resource on domain names: Domain Name Registration and Buying.
What are the different types of web hosting services?
There are different types of web hosting options to fit varying business needs. Some of the more popular options include shared hosting, dedicated hosting, VPS, and cloud hosting.
Let’s look at the major differences between each:
What is shared hosting?
Shared web hosting is the most convenient and popular web hosting plan. As the name suggests, multiple users share space and resources on a single server.
Therefore, the web server is partitioned into multiple accounts so that customers can share the same server resources but manage their emails, websites and databases separately.
Since users share the cost of the server the price of the hosting plan is usually much less expensive than other hosting plans.
Who can benefit from shared hosting?
Shared hosting plans are great starter plans for small to medium-sized businesses. In fact, if you don’t know what type of web hosting you need, you likely need a shared hosting plan. You can always upgrade to a different plan if need be.
What is the difference between shared and dedicated hosting?
As the name suggests, in the case of dedicated web hosting, your website is hosted on a server wholly dedicated to your site and no one else has access to your server’s resources. For that reason, having a dedicated server is a little more costly than other options you can deploy the highest-level of security features, and adjust security settings, according to your business needs.
Your site is not vulnerable to the activities of other websites, as they aren’t sharing your server space.
To learn more about how dedicated hosting is different from shared hosting, listen to this podcast.
How does dedicated hosting work?
With dedicated hosting, you exclusively rent a dedicated server, which gives you maximum control over the web server your website is stored on.
Who can benefit from dedicated hosting?
Websites with high levels of traffic need to ensure the server will be able to support a large volume of visitors or traffic spikes, with minimal to no issues.
A dedicated website hosting service is usually needed when your site attracts a high volume of traffic and consumes a lot of server resources.
What is VPS hosting?
VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. VPS, which has dedicated resources allocated to the user and also the flexibility to upgrade and downgrade the resources anytime, as required by the business. Therefore, VPS Hosting usually works out to be cheaper than a dedicated server and is also more efficient to maintain.
How does VPS hosting work?
In VPS hosting, a physical server is divided into many virtual servers using ‘virtualization’ technologies, each one being private and working independently. So if there is hardware such as 500GB hard drive, 20GB of memory being used by four users then they will each get 125GB of storage space and 5GB of memory. Even though the resources get divided between users, it provides a better-secured hosting environment.
With a VPS, you get “root access,” which gives the sites greater administrative control at the server level. You can fine tune all configuration files, install/uninstall programs and even run any Linux programs.
Who can benefit from VPS hosting?
Small businesses that are expanding quickly may benefit greatly from an upgrade to a VPS host. Why? Because they will have access to extra hardware resources, full root access, and greater uptime guarantee. More advanced users who want to manage their server’s properties may go the VPS route even though the server management can also be handled by the hosting company for a fee.
What is cloud server hosting?
Cloud Server Hosting plans leverage innovative cloud computing technologies and VPS’s for improved performance and greater scalability. This is the most cost-effective web hosting solution as you are charged only for the cloud hosting services and resources used based on usage. Cloud hosting involves using interconnected servers, which offers advantages like load balancing, no single point of failure, and higher security.
How does cloud hosting work?
Unlike shared or dedicated server hosting, cloud hosting is done through hundreds of servers that are interconnected and work as a single system.
Listen to our ‘On The Net’ podcast episode to learn more about Cloud Hosting.
Who can benefit from cloud hosting?
Scalable Cloud Hosting is suited for small and medium-sized businesses as you can customize the perfect hosting plan to fit your exact business requirements. Most noteworthy, you can always scale up or down; add more storage, speed or CPU power.
Private cloud hosting models are a perfect fit for medium to large businesses that need computers in the cloud solely dedicated to the hosting and data management requirement of their company. With private cloud hosting, there are additional security measures (firewalls) taken to protect against outside or inside intrusions.
Pros and cons of shared hosting
Okay, now that you have a better understanding of shared hosting and the different hosting services. Let’s break down the pros and cons of a shared hosting plan.
Advantages of shared web hosting
Cost of hosting plans
Shared hosting plans are extremely affordable. The price usually decreases based on the length (in years) of the plan you choose. As a result, if you signup for a 2 or 3-year plan, you can expect to pay less than $10 dollars a month.
Despite being the cheapest hosting option, you still get all the necessary features (databases, email accounts, cPanel access, WordPress, website builders, support) to get your website up and running quickly.
Minimum technical knowledge
This entry level hosting option requires minimum technical knowledge for running your website. And this is great, because your website’s initial bandwidth and storage space requirements are taken care of.
Easy cPanel access
You get access to a convenient control panel (cPanel) to manage resources, applications, scripts, installations and more. You get single click installations of content management systems such as WordPress and Joomla! Additionally, the server administration and maintenance are taken care of by trained professionals from the host provider.
Disadvantages of shared web hosting
A lot of users and websites share a single server so there is always the risk of a bad neighbor abusing the available resources. This can cause temporary performance issues or slowdowns with your website.
Shared servers have limited ability and resources to handle high traffic levels or spikes. So, if Oprah features your business and millions of people rush to visit your website this could cause your website to crash.
Most businesses don’t have to worry about abnormally high traffic spikes, but it is something to consider.
Is Linux hosting the same as shared hosting?
No, and yes. This can be confusing, but Linux hosting refers to the operating system for the web server, and shared hosting refers to the type of hosting.
The other operating system is Windows. And as we have already discussed, the other types of hosting plans include services like VPS, dedicated and cloud hosting.
Linux shared hosting specifically means that your website is being hosted along with multiple other sites on a shared hosting platform running on a Linux server.
So why no and yes?
Linux shared hosting is much more popular than windows shared hosting. So, unless “windows” is clearly noted, you can assume a shared hosting plan is referring to Linux.
If you want to learn more about the Linux vs Windows web hosting, check out this article: Linux vs. Windows Web Hosting: Which Is Better?
Choosing the right type of hosting?
So, you have a lot more information about web hosting in general. But how do you decide on the right type of hosting plan for you?
Choosing a hosting plan depends entirely on the features needed for your business. For that reason, if you are most concerned with pricing or you don’t know what type of plan you need, shared hosting is likely the place to start. You can always upgrade your service.
In contrast, if your website has heavy traffic or you need premium security features, dedicated hosting or one of the other hosting services might be a better option for you.
How to buy a shared web hosting plan.
If you already know you want or need a shared hosting plan, follow these steps to get your hosting plan today.
- Visit our shared hosting plan and choose a package.
- Search to see if your domain is available.
- If you already have a domain, you can bypass and go to the next section.
- Customize your plan.
- Verify your hosting package.
- Select your term length (a longer term reduces the cost per month).
- Add any additional features (this is optional).
- Review order summary. If you have a coupon, add the code.
- Add account and payment info.
- Review terms of service and check the box.
- Click the “Pay” button.
That’s it, you are ready to create your website!
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