For the average person starting a website, the best option for web hosting is going to be securing the services of a shared host. This basically means that you will pay a monthly fee for hosting, along with many other customers, and share a communal space, so to speak. In truth, your site will be housed on the web host’s servers in its own specific space, separate from other sites but nonetheless sharing virtual resources. If the thought troubles you then you should know that there are other options available. But before you start shopping for your own server and attempting to secure adequate bandwidth to handle your suspected user needs, take a moment to consider the pluses and minuses of going with a shared web host.
Let’s start with the benefits of a shared host. Because these services dispel their own costs by housing multiple websites, they are able to meet the needs of many sites at minimal cost to their customers. In case you didn’t know, there is quite a lot of expense associated with running an individual server, including the price of the server unit itself, utilities to store hardware in a temperature-controlled environment, and a beefy network connection that can handle a massive volume of traffic at high speeds. And those are just a handful of examples. You’ll also be entirely responsible for the management of your server and site, including the programming and any and all maintenance (physical, virtual, or otherwise). This could require a lot of time and expense that you may not be able to spare when trying to manage a business. In this respect, a web hosting service can provide for your many needs at a very reasonable price (considering the alternative).
Of course, there may be some drawbacks to signing up with a web host. For one thing, you could find your options severely limited once you have agreed to a contract. You may face issues with reliability (as in unexpected downtime), speed (users have trouble loading pages), and storage space because you are at the mercy of a shared-resource situation. If a few users are hogging the bandwidth or the web host doesn’t have adequate monitoring or upkeep services in place, you could find yourself subject to customer complaints and even removal from search engines (if their scheduled crawlers find your site blacked out frequently). This is very bad news, especially if you are running an online business, as it could mean the alienation of customers and the loss of hard-won support from search engines.
In addition, many people fear security issues where web hosts are concerned. Although the average site owner need not fear intrusion from hackers, this is a potential threat, as is malicious software that can damage your site and even your personal computer. Since you have no control over the security measures in place, you may be more than a little anxious about the situation. However, many of the fears that people face when it comes to a shared web host can be easily dispelled through the very simple act of shopping around. By reading reviews, asking trusted sources, and comparing services, costs, and guarantees, you can find the hosting site that is right for you. And once you’re rolling in dough you can revisit other options.