If you are to ask how to set up your very own website, you will get a lot of answers. Some may ask you to set up a free hosting account while others may give you a link to a particular service that lets you build a website through an online wizard.
Some people might even recommend a good shared hosting package to start with. Of these choices here, shared web hosting costs money and it serves as an inexpensive way for setting up a reliable personal site or blog.
About Shared Hosting
Shared hosting is one of the web hosting packages that frequently appear in web hosting providers. Hosting providers only need a single server to accommodate multiple customers since they will all share the server's resources.
Multiple websites can be hosted in that one server. The more popular hosting providers may have dozens of servers for shared hosting purposes.
Don't be fooled into thinking shared hosting, even if it boasts unlimited domains, will let you use unlimited bandwidth. If your site or sites end up using too much bandwidth, you'll need to get another account or upgrade to VPS hosting or a dedicated server (I had to upgrade to VPS).
Common Characteristics amongst Shared Hosting Plans
The most common characteristic of a shared hosting plan is the low price. Most shared hosting plans should fall under $10 a month for a year or two. Costs per month should even be lower if longer term plans are chosen.
Server features should be more than enough for personal websites and blogs to handle a substantial amount of traffic. The overall performance of the site should be greater than any free web hosting provider but much lower than a dedicated hosting plan if many visitors are active on the site on a daily basis.
That said, shared hosting is not the recommended choice for hosting downloadable or streaming content like music and video. There might not be any bandwidth limitations present but downloaders won't be utilizing the full resources of the server since the server might have other active websites.
Moreover, if you use a database-driven scripts such as WordPress, you'll use more hosting resources than a simple HTML website.
Many hosting plans may also offer support for PHP and databases like MySQL. This allows various scripts to be installed ranging from forums to e-commerce pages. Since shared hosting plans are inexpensive in general, these plans serve as a great starting point for emerging communities and the overall reliability is much better than free web hosting plans that may offer this kind of support.
Specific Hosting Features to Look For
The fact that shared hosting plans are so cheap and utilize few resources makes this kind of hosting highly competitive. Just about every web hosting provider offers an attractive shared hosting package to encourage people to try things out and hopefully upgrade in the future.
This is why it is very important to find a hosting company that has a lot of positive feedback from customers. Checking out hosting review sites that anybody can contribute to can give you a better idea on the hosting provider's reputation. It is normal for shared hosting plans to be instable at times but the most important thing is how the customer support team handles the situation. Good support overall will always mean a good company to trust.
Specifically, look for the following:
- 24/7 technical support
- Easy script install such as one-click WordPress installation
- Unlimited email accounts
- Unlimited subdomains
- Reputable brand
If you hope to build a thriving forum community or plan on getting thousands of visitors to see your page, it is also a good idea to see the upgrade options for a shared web hosting plan so you can have a smooth transition without changing web hosting companies.