Identifying a reliable shared web hosting provider can be difficult. There are many shared hosting providers to choose from with so many options to sort through. Researching all the options can be confusing if you aren’t familiar with the process of finding providers. Avoid making these mistakes when considering a new partner for your site.
What is shared hosting?
Before we dive in, you may not be entirely familiar with what shared hosting is exactly and might be wondering: how does shared hosting work? So, let’s discuss at a high level.
Shared hosting is a type of lower-cost website hosting that allows multiple websites to share the same server. Users on the server share server resources including disk space, bandwidth, RAM, and CPU. It’s a popular option for small business because it provides freedom from having to worry as much about hosting, security, or software as this is all managed by the hosting provider.
When you get shared hosting from Simple Source Solutions, we take care of the server your website is hosted on for you and use tools that ensure you receive exactly the share of server resources you’re paying for. Managing our servers this way allows you to focus on your site content and get back to doing all the things that make your business great.
Common mistakes made when choosing shared hosting
There are plenty of things to look out for when approaching the opportunity to buy new hosting services, including shared hosting. This is by no means an exhaustive list, these are just some of things we see customers doing when looking for hosting.
No precise requirements for shared web hosting plan
If you’re just googling things like best web hosting or best shared hosting, you may be sorely disappointed in where you end up if you don’t first consider what you need out of a shared hosting plan. There are many things to think through as you start your search.
- Why are you looking into switching hosts?
- How large is your website or how much disk space do you need?
- How are you going to use the hosting service? What are your immediate needs?
- Do you need email hosting, if so how many accounts?
- What type of website is it? Does it require any specific hosting needs?
- How much traffic (or anticipated traffic), does (or will) your website get?
- Do you require fast shared hosting or is it more of a brochure style website with less anticipated traffic?
- What’s your budget? What sort of support do you need for the budget you have?
- Do you really need top-tier, on-call 24/7 phone and chat support or is email ticket support more than enough?
- What are your expectations from your hosting provider, especially when considering your budget?
There are plenty of considerations to feed into your decision making process and these are just some of the questions you should be asking. If you haven’t thought through what you require, you’ll default to believing whatever marketing copy you read on your potential host’s website instead of ending up with what you really need in a web host.
When choosing a website hosting service, it’s important to inquire about how it’s secured. If you don’t have security at the forefront of your web search for a new host, you’re bound to be regretting your decision down the road at some point. You’re ultimately responsible for your own website’s security, so it’s important that you understand what your host doesn’t to help secure your website
- Do they use a firewall? If so what type or types? How does this help your site?
- Do they keep your site up-to-date for you (think CMSs like hosting WordPress sites, or hosting Joomla sites, Drupal and others) or is that something you’ll need to do for yourself?
- What do they do to protect your hosting account from other accounts on the shared server?
- Do they have a history of having blacklisted server IP addresses? If they do, it makes it quite difficult for recipients to receive your emails. Do they use an outgoing mail filtering service to prevent blacklisted server IPs?
No SSL certificate
In order to have a secure website, you should enable security and privacy through encrypting everything that’s sent between your site’s server and your customers.
The best way to do this is by using an SSL certificate or a host that provides your site with an SSL certificate included in your hosting plan. An SSL certificate ensures that your site’s communications remain private and secure, even when shared with other customers of your web host.
Additionally, this is something Google appreciates when ranking sites. SSL encryption is a big boon to security on sites, so you can imagine along with us that not having a cert in place would adversely affect your site’s position in search results.
Choosing a free web host is a really terrible idea
Choosing a free web host is a really terrible idea. It’s almost always best to use paid hosting, even if you are just starting out. There are many reasons for this, but the most important one is security.
Free web hosts are often not as secure as they seem. They’re more likely to use outdated and/or insecure software, and they may also collect any personal information you enter to use it without permission. Remember, if you’re not paying for the service, then you are the service. It’s also a lot harder to get help from a free host if something goes wrong.
Free web hosting is not worth the risk, even if it’s free.
Free website hosting on proprietary services is bad for business
Choosing a shared hosting provider that offers free website hosting on proprietary services (yes, we’re looking at you Wix and Weebly) is just bad for your business. Sure, it may be free and offer some easy to use tools, but it will damage your business in the long term. Your site can never be moved, so you’ll be locked in on the provider you choose.
The free website options with these services are limited anyways, so you’ll likely get frustrated while trying to build your site and upgrade to a paid version fairly quickly.
Lastly, despite all of their hype to the contrary, these services are terrible for search engine optimization (SEO). Your competitors, with better constructed sites built on platforms that were designed for SEO, will always mean potential customers will find their site before they find yours.
No backup services
Another common mistake people make when choosing a shared hosting provider are not looking at what backup services are included in their plan. You may get distracted by that sweetheart of a deal on your first year of hosting (that goes up 2X’s over or more the next year) and not really be thinking about how your host helps you with backups.
In the event of an emergency, it’s important to have some type of backup plan in place. It’s also important to be aware of the different levels of backup plans. What kind of backups are offered? When will they happen? If something happens to your website, you’ll want a recent copy to restore from.
If your site gets hacked and you don’t notice for a few days or weeks, every backup will be affected and you’ll have nothing to restore from, so make sure to see what backup options are included in your hosting plan.
Many shared hosting plans will have some form of backup service, but not all. The exact level of service that you are given will depend on the plan that you choose.
Shopping solely based on price
Who doesn’t like saving money? It’s certainly great to do, but saving money on hosting sometimes might mean you’re losing money in the long run.
Shared hosting providers have gotten fairly sophisticated in their marketing over the last decade or more. They know if they can hook their clients in with cheaper hosting upfront, they are confident that it will be extremely difficult for you to leave them later, so they can charge you more in subsequent months or years when you renew your plan.
The cheapest hosting options generally aren’t that great. You’re bound to experience downtime or a slow loading site. Hosts like this load up a single shared server with thousands of accounts. This practice is know as overselling, where the limited resources on a shared server have more accounts competing for the same resources than are available on the server. They do this to squeeze every dime out of their server and your site ends up suffering for it–all because you chose one of the cheapest hosting options you could find.
Wrapping it up
In summation, there are many simple mistakes that one might make when they’re searching for a shared hosting provider. The risks of those mistakes are as varied as the various hosting options offered. Whether it’s security, pricing, backup options, or something else, it’s important to do your homework on what you really need from a shared hosting provider before you start your search and choose one.