The easiest and cheapest way for anyone to get started with their own personal or business website is with a shared hosting plan. In general, web hosting is the storage and delivery of websites via the Internet. Shared web hosting, which is also known as virtual web hosting, is the storage of files for multiple websites on a single server. Each website is allocated its own amount of disk space, processor utilization, memory and bandwidth from the resources available on that single server. Think of this as the slicing of an apple pie. The pie as a whole is the server, and each piece cut is a unique website.
Advantages of Shared Web Hosting
The biggest advantage of shared web hosting is the cost. Shared hosting is considerably less expensive than purchasing a dedicated server. With a dedicated server, you are the only client on it, and all the resources are yours to do with as you please. Also, with shared web hosting, the web host manages the server hardware and network resources. Thereby, eliminating the need for the end-user to require technical staff to maintain the server.
Shared web hosting is a good idea for individuals and businesses with small web hosting needs and resources. Some examples are blogs, home pages, and web sites with small to moderate web traffic.
Disadvantages of Shared Web Hosting
The biggest disadvantage of shared hosting is the lack of control over the server. For those that have the technical expertise and want more control over the system resources, shared hosting can be a very difficult and frustrating experience. Also, for those websites that do not want to chance another shared site causing the server to crash, probably wouldn’t want a shared service. Larger e-commerce sites and high traffic sites should look to dedicated servers.
When looking for a web host, ask yourself what you need it for. If you’re doing a blog, or an informational website, chances are a shared web host will be perfect for you. If you need e-commerce or anticipate huge amounts of web traffic, you may want to look at a dedicated server. Remember, you can always upgrade if the need arises. So, if start-up money is an issue, start with a shared and grow your business as needed.
If you’re looking for a excellent award winning web hosting company that has been around awhile with a solid reputation, take a look at HostGator.com. They have shared web hosting plans starting at $4.95 per month, offer cPanel control panel, free Fantastico scripts (WordPress, Joomla, and dozens more), and of course, their 45-day money back guarantee.
I personally use them, after having tried many other hosting companies, and have found their service and tech support to be very knowledgeable, helpful and prompt. Whatever your needs, you’ll find HostGator to be top notch.