When you are new to the world of website development, shared hosting is your best option to get started. It is much more cost-effective than all the other types of web hosting available today.
But with so many web hosts offering different shared hosting plans for your website, it becomes quite a difficult task to choose the best shared hosting for your needs.
That is why I’m here to discuss the key factors that must be considered while choosing a cheap shared hosting plan for your website.
Let us first find out the meaning of shared hosting to understand it a little better.
What Is Shared Hosting?
Shared hosting, as the name describes itself, is web hosting over a server that is shared among many users. A single web server might be hosting dozens or hundreds of websites in limited resources it has to offer.
Since multiple websites share the same webspace, the cost of hosting is reduced dramatically as along with the resources, the cost is also shared among the multiple server users.
Factors to Consider While Choosing Shared Hosting for Your Website
Now that you know the meaning of shared hosting let us discuss the key factors that must be given due importance while selecting a shared hosting plan for your website.
In my opinion, whether you are a beginner or have some previous experience with creating and building a website, you will surely benefit by considering the following factors when choosing a shared hosting plan:
The shared server carries all your website data in limited space since other websites are also hosted on the same server. You must, therefore, consider the disk space offered by the host while choosing a shared hosting plan for your website.
The disk space determines the amount of data that you can store on the server. Though the disk or storage space available with most shared hosting providers is sufficient for new websites, you must have a little idea of the quantity of the website data that you will be sharing online if you are planning to store and share a lot of audio, video, or other large files with your website visitors.
Selecting a shared hosting plan with larger disk space will allow you to store such large files. So, always look for the disk space that is offered under a shared hosting plan.
Bandwidth refers to the quantity of traffic and data that can be processed on your website. The way disk space allows you to store your website files and data; bandwidth allows you to share that data with your visitors by making it accessible to them.
You can compare the disk space with the capacity of a cola bottle while bandwidth with the mouth of the same bottle. Wider the mouth, faster the cola can be poured out of the bottle. Similarly, higher bandwidth equates to the easier flow of website data online.
So, ensure to consider the bandwidth offered by the host when choosing a cheap shared hosting plan since it can greatly impact the speed of your website.
All the shared hosting plans set a limit on the maximum traffic your website can receive. It is, therefore, better to have an idea about the traffic you will be receiving on your website to pick the perfect shared hosting plan for your needs.
For instance, your website traffic will be more even in the beginning if you already have a large audience on a social platform. So, don’t forget to consider the maximum traffic that is allowed under a cheap shared hosting plan when you make a choice.
A brilliantly performing website is always preferred over an average one since your website readers want the best experience no matter what. Some web hosts limit the traffic speed of websites hosted on shared servers.
While picking up a plan for your site, ensure to check that no limitation is placed on the traffic speed. It will not only provide a better overall experience to your website visitors but also improve your search engine ranking since Google and other top search engines love faster websites.
While selecting a shared hosting plan for your website, consider the uptime guaranteed by the host. Uptime is a measure used to refer to the online availability of your website. Since you want to make your website accessible at all times, choose a host that offers the highest uptime.
I would also recommend cross-checking the claims made by different hosts from third-party websites to be sure about the uptime they offer. Such third-party websites test the uptime delivered by various hosts in the last few months or years.
Such confirmation will give you a concrete idea about the performance of a shared hosting plan offered by the host.
Since the same server is used by many other website owners, security is one of the biggest concerns when using a cheap shared hosting plan. It does not mean that your website is always vulnerable to cyber-attacks on a shared server.
The way you are denied the server access, your host doesn’t allow such access to anyone else either. But you must check the basic security measures taken by the host to protect its server from any kind of breach.
Also, some hosts allow you to isolate or cage your website for additional protection. Looking for such basic security offerings will help to keep your website data secure in the future.
Maintaining a backup of your website helps to restore it completely in case all your data is lost by mistake. It is tough to get automatic website backups with a cheap shared hosting plan.
However, some hosts do offer free and automatic backups for your convenience. I would suggest choosing a shared hosting plan that includes this feature since otherwise, it will be impossible to recover your website in case of an unfortunate incident.
Availability of Free Trial and Refund Policy
Though shared hosting is cheaper than the other types of web hosting, you are still paying your hard-earned money for buying these services.
That is why I always recommend choosing a shared hosting plan that comes with a free trial and refund policy just like the HostGator trial offer; it’s great to have this safety guarantee just in case you are not satisfied with the services you receive.
It allows you to test the shared hosting services for your website and claim for a refund if such services are not fulfilling your needs completely.
Pricing is an important aspect that must be considered while choosing a shared hosting plan for your website. Shared hosting is entry-level web hosting for newbies since the server cost is shared by many small website owners.
While considering the features, look for the pricing of shared hosting plans offered by different web hosts. If a plan ticks off all your desired features and you are planning to stay in the online game for a long period, grabbing a 3-year deal would be the most affordable choice for you.
I would also suggest checking both introductory and renewal prices of shared hosting plans since some web hosts increase plan prices dramatically on renewal. It is necessary to keep your hosting costs low both in the present and future.
It is wiser to choose the cheapest shared hosting plan if you are building a new website. You should, however, look for the upgrade options available with the host for a quick upgrade as and when required.
As your website grows, you can always shift to a bigger shared hosting plan that can handle additional website traffic and store more data. For avoiding website downtime in the future, consider choosing a host that offers an easy and time-saving upgrade of your shared hosting plan.
Additionally, the host must also be flexible to allow shifting of the hosting plan altogether in case you wish to shift from shared hosting to VPS, cloud, or dedicated hosting when your website grows.
Having a professional email with your domain name makes a good first impression on your website subscribers. It also enhances the credibility and image of your website or the brand you are developing.
Imagine receiving a Gmail from an established brand, say Amazon, instead of a professional email carrying its brand name. Apart from looking unprofessional, the reputation of your website will be negatively affected if a very similar email is used by someone to send viruses across the globe.
Therefore, I recommend selecting a shared hosting plan that includes at least one professional email for communicating with your subscribers. If you are serious about taking your website to the top level in the years to come, professional email is a must.
Quality of Support
Excellent customer support is extremely helpful when you are new to the world of building websites. You cannot depend on Google for resolving all your queries since it will consume a lot of your precious time.
Therefore, considering the quality of support offered by the shared hosting provider before finalizing a plan for your website is a must. Check for the 24/7 availability of the host through at least one medium like phone, instant chat, social media, etc.
I would also suggest visiting relevant discussion forums to know the experiences of existing customers to get an idea about the host’s customer support quality.
Additional Factors for Consideration
Apart from the above-mentioned factors that are extremely important for all of you who are planning to select a shared hosting plan, a few additional factors will be useful for some of you specifically.
I’m mentioning these considerations here while explaining the need for each to help you decide whether you shall be looking for these factors or not while selecting a shared hosting plan.
The need to consider this factor arises only if you want to build multiple websites. So, this consideration can be skipped if you are planning to build and maintain only a single website, even in the long run.
But if, however, you plan to launch multiple websites in one go or expand your online existence soon, you must choose a shared hosting plan that allows you to host more than one website.
It will save you both time and cost in the long run since you will be able to manage all your websites from the same shared hosting account.
Availability of Subdomains
Subdomains help to organize the content of your website appropriately by creating several additional domains under your main domain.
It might be useful for small businesses and even artists who want to share different aspects of their offerings on different domains but want to keep it all under a single umbrella, i.e., the main domain. A subdomain can also be used for creating a mobile version of your website that is completely different from the desktop version of the same website.
If you plan to utilize such additional domains for your online venture, consider choosing a cheap shared hosting plan that offers subdomains along with the main domain.
Even if you are just starting your journey in the online world, it is best to keep the right foot forward. By determining the needs of your website well in advance and selecting the plan that ticks off all those requirements, you will be able to select the best shared hosting plan for your website.
Additionally, keeping in mind all the above-mentioned factors while choosing a cheap shared hosting plan will prevent you from facing any troubles in the long run.
Though I tried covering every important aspect that must be considered by a newbie while choosing a shared hosting plan, is there anything else you would like me to add?
Do you have any special requirements that have not been discussed above? Please don’t hesitate to ask anything in case of confusion since I know it is quite difficult for a newbie to understand the online world.