Web hosting companies use the same physical resources (hardware) in the way that your own system uses hardware. Three hardware characteristics specifically speaking; memory (RAM), processing power (CPU) and harddisk space define the quality and capacity of your hosting services.
Shared hosting – You share a server and the hardware resources of that server with a number of websites.
Why Shared Hosting ?
- Cheapest type of hosting- Very important to keep costs low when you start your site and it generates no revenue. Starts as low as $3.5 per month, sometimes even less.
- Good support – A large number of sites used shared hosting and big hosting companies have a reasonably good customer support system in place. And they generally have newbie friendly user dashboards.
- Easy one click installs for WordPress.
- Hosting services will help you scale and migrate when your site traffic grows.
Shared hosting is by no means the best for a full fledged revenue generating high traffic site but it is best you start here. At least the costs of hosting will never cause you to shut your site down.
If you are wondering how much more the best services cost. Let me put it this way, a month of hosting on the best managed WordPress host will cost you the same, as it would 8 months on a shared hosting platform. If you are confident of your ability to generate revenue, I think you should start with the best in business – Managed WordPress Hosting – WP Engine.
But if you are a first time blogger, you can not possibly be. And money is a genuine concern. I see far too many people recommending expensive hosting plans as though cost is not relevant at all. But for some of you, for whom cost is relevant and a deterrent, when it comes to starting a site there is shared hosting.
The shared hosting options available are pretty decent. Let’s have look at a few of the best shared hosting options for WP.
Before that, I must reemphasize a revenue generating high traffic site is not meant to be host on a shared server. As you site traffic picks up, you must scale your hardware appropriately.
Probably the best shared hosting option available to you. SiteGround offers excellent uptimes (99.9%+), one click WP installation and well cached servers that serve up static pages. Their websites are very secure and they offer a Hack alert to help prevent any security breaches. The support is known to be reliable over phone, internet chat and e-tickets.
Previous global attacks on WP sites using brute force techniques were unsuccessful on SiteGround websites as you might expect. But their security workarounds ensured that the websites never became slow or the servers overloaded as you might expect, due to the exponentially increased number of site requests. Their servers strategically are located in Chicago, Amsterdam and Singapore. The provide domain registration free of cost.
A extremely well known budget hosting solution. Recently there seems to be an increased disgruntlement about their service. It is an easily operable hosting platform that may appeal to someone new to website development. Their user dashboard is one of the easiest to handle. For a newbie who’s looking to create a site that does not use too many server resources, BlueHost is an acceptable option. You need to be wary of the server CPU load, so that your site is not suspended due to CPU throttling. As far as their servers go they offer a near 100% uptime.
InMotion provides powerful hosting and great scalability. They store all site data on SSD (Solid State Drives, which are the faster the average HDD, especially it provides quicker access). One click installation for 310 applications, one of which is WP. Free domain registration and site transfer with no downtime during transfer process.
They offer spam safe email IDs and free daily backup. InMotion also allows you to pick the server of your choice for your site which reduces the ping depending on your site’s viewer demographics. They provide a 90 day guarantee which takes some courage, the industry standard is much closer to a month.
Site5 offers shared hosting and free site migration, if you should decide to sign up with them. Every site that is registered with them has disaster recovery backups which are performed on a nightly basis and it covers everything relevant to your website including emails.
Their resource usage policy ensures that your site never runs into a shortage of RAM or processing power so long as it stays within their accepted fair resource usage policy limits. This is to ensure that all sites registered with them are protected.
Site5 practice green web hosting, they plant one new tree for every new account at Site5. They also scan your sites for malware and keep your site safe, although it is priced at $49.99 per year which seems a bit pricey. A 45 day money back guarantee, if you are unsatisfied with their service and a 99.9% uptime guarantee, failing which they’ll offer you a service credit.
Servers are located all over the globe, US, Canada, Romania, London, Sidney, India, Singapore and Netherlands. You can pick which server location you want for $1~$5 extra per month, depending on location.
Solid State Drives power this host in tandem with unlimited RAID storage, 12 core CPUs and 64Gb servers at a minimum and 10Gb/s redundant networks. Free migration to begin with, green hosting with 100% carbon neutrality, perpetual security and hack scans for free. Backups are free from their Swift Plan ($4.9/mo) and upwards.
۳ server locations, RailGun Optimizer and CloudFlare CDN support add to A2’s hardware to produce a powerful hardware and software combination capable to delivering good site load times and almost no downtime at all. $50 in Yahoo/Bing credit, 20% off on Tesla Themes and a 30 day money back guarantee make this a rather tempting choice for shared hosting in addition to the impressive hardware.
A hosting option for someone with a tight budget, iPage offers free domain registration. The hosting service enables one click WP installations, advertising credits up to $250 and 24*7 support for those of you residing in North America. iPage also provides near 100% uptime. SiteLock security suite comes free to ensure your website’s files and information. Scalability for your site should be easily achievable they offer upgrades to VPS and good support for the same.
A Small Orange
A Small Orange is a good host with SSD storage and a myriad of automatic script installations. In addition to a 99.99% uptime, they provide daily backups with multiple restore points. You can create password protected directories and enable IP blocking and also hotlink/leech protection for your site. They are committed to reducing their environmental impact with green practices and offer a 90 day money back guarantee which is pretty gutsy. And another thing I should add, I’ve read a great deal about the kind of service and support they provide, all of the reviews suggest that they are an excellent hosting partner for any business. The only negative in my book would be 2 US based servers, most hosting companies have servers across multiple timezones. But this can be offset with a CDN partner to deliver your static files.
Media Temple uses The Grid which is a server system designed to handle traffic spikes. They specifically boast about their Reddit ready bandwidth which should keep your site live and responsive during traffic spikes, if you should be so lucky to land up on Reddit’s front page or create any viral content. Media Temple’s hosting solutions are a bit on the expensive side and I wouldn’t recommend it at current prices. Their service is developer friendly and scalable.
A new standard in the web hosting industry when it comes to being green. GreenGeeks offer free nightly backups, free domain name registration, real time security scanning, protection against bruteforce attacks, a RAID 10 configuration and SSD powered web space to keep your site on its toes. Their service is best for people based in North America where their servers are located. The support is good enough, if you are reasonably knowledgeable about the website development process.
Generally host very fast websites with low load times in comparison to the average shared host service. This is true probably because they have five different plans under shared hosting depending on the needs of the customer. A very good hosting option, ideal for scaling up operations as they provided VPS & dedicated hosting to begin with. Only later did they add shared hosting plans. Support is good, they provide a 30 day money back guarantee and a near 100% uptime.
Hostgator is a good hosting service with a reliable server and 99.99% uptime guarantee. It is an eco friendly host with multiple hosting plans that provide extra resources depending on your site’s growth. They have a large collection of installable scripts and web templates, a few free marketing tools to start off with and a decent support system.
DreamHost runs on SSDs, offer a 100% uptime guarantee, free domain registration and a 97 day money back period. Their user dashboard may not be as easy to handle as BlueHost but they offer slightly better customer support.
A Few Tips
- Unlimited disk space and transfer mean nothing. Rarely will you encounter such a difficulty caused by a lack of either.
- Shared Hosting Plans suffer the most under load because you share server resources, they will not allow your site to hog all the server resources at any given time. Some hosts will even go so far as suspending your account.
- CPU Throttling is very real and your host service will expect you to upgrade your plan if you keep pushing against the ceiling of your hosting plan.
- Most host service providers increase the renewal fee and the low fee is a ploy to ensnare you, beware increases in price for hosting service renewal.
Check out the following features when considering hosting options of different costs:
- Domain Registration – Free or not ?
- Security and site scanning for malicious scripts.
- Backup services – Daily/Weekly.
- Hardware – CPU employed, network data transfer limits and whether HDD or SSD.
- How many nodes or sites are assigned to one server.
Rose Hosting has 5 hosting plans and they split their servers up so that each of their clients is able to meet their requirements. And the price goes up as the site traffic increases. It is bit like a VPS plan (you pay for increased use) in some ways which makes it all the better.
Shared hosting must only be a means to keep your budget tight till your site gets off the ground in terms of revenue generation. Then you will certainly need to think about better web hosting plans like VPS and dedicated servers.
In the next few posts we will discuss options of web hosting companies for other types of hosting services and we will also benchmark the performance of various providers of shared hosting services to help you identify the best shared hosting option among the lot.
If I’ve missed out your favorite shared hosting service, please do weigh in on the comments section ?