Finding the right shared hosting company takes time and research. The differences between VPS, shared and dedicated hosting are similar to owning and renting properties. Shared hosting is much like living in an apartment. All occupants must share the resources. For a shared hosting company, the customers must share resources such as memory, disk space and CPU time. VPS hosting is similar to owning an apartment in a complex. While occupants have to share some services, the owner is responsible for an individual unit. With VPS hosting, everyone shares CPU and memory time. However, each customer is allowed a specific portion to use. Dedicated hosting is comparable to owning a standalone house in the respect that no other people share the server’s resources. Since sharing space is part of shared hosting, use these considerations when comparing providers.
It sounds optimal to find a host offering unlimited disk space. However, even the hosts claiming there is unlimited shared space for files have some limits. Read the terms of service carefully, and compare the limitations. Sites that will not grow continually or are smaller may not need to pay more for disk space. E-commerce sites, large informational sites and sites with high volume of flash or video files usually need large amounts of space. Beware of sites advertising just free storage space. Since there are limits or cap amounts for free storage, read the fine print. The fees for exceeding the limit may be high.
The same idea about being wary of hosts throwing around the term “unlimited” also applies to this topic. When hosting companies refer to bandwidth, they mean the amount of data that a site can transfer. Most people are drawn to unlimited bandwidth offers attached to low prices. If one site is using excessive amounts of bandwidth on a shared server in this instance, hosting companies often force upgrades or leave customers facing account suspension. This is usually buried in the terms of service. Sites that will use large amounts of bandwidth should not try to go cheap and use a shared unlimited hosting service. To choose an adequate package, add the size of the average site page with any included graphics. Multiply that by the average number of daily visitors, and multiply that number by the amount of pages each visitor views. Multiply the final number by 30 for expected bandwidth.
It is helpful to have cPanel and FTP. With cPanel, there are a variety of tools that make it easier to run the site and manage accounts. Not all hosts offer this benefit. It is easy to use and serves as a buffer to help customers avoid doing anything illegal or risky. As a security benefit, it is highly valuable. FTP hosting allows multiple users to access an account. File storage capabilities are increased, and stored files are accessible from anywhere. Both of these are essentials for shared hosting plans.
Although many hosting companies offer free email accounts, some do not offer email or charge extra for email. If a host offers plenty of space, a good bandwidth allowance, cPanel and FTP as well, move it to the list of hosts to consider. Check to see how many email accounts are included. Some companies offer one, and some companies may offer more than 10. Think about how many emails are needed for different reasons or different site users.
The cost of buying and registering a domain is usually separate from the hosting. However, some shared hosting companies try to entice consumers with a free domain attached to a hosting package. This ties customers to the host, and that is bad news for a customer who has a change of heart about a hosting service later on. It is better to buy and register the domain separately to make a possible hosting change a smoother transition.
Look at what types of support the host offers. Are they available 24/7? They should offer email and phone support. However, hosts with 24/7 phone or chat support are optimal if they rate well with customers.
Although the $1 monthly fees for unlimited hosting look enticing, keep in mind that people get what they pay for. Cheaper rates means less support, and remember that nothing is truly unlimited with a shared host.
Lastly, be sure to read reviews but keep in mind that many sites do not moderated their reviews so you can’t be sure of their authenticity. Here at Hostmarks we manually verify each and every review to ensure their authenticity.