Have you ever stopped to think about how websites work? After all, these carefully designed web pages don’t just magically appear on your screen when you summon them. Instead, the contents of each web page are stored on a publicly accessible hard drive from where they’re piped at high speed to anyone requesting access. This is a process known as web hosting. It’s not something businesses (or private individuals) generally have the ability to commit to themselves.
If you are new to web hosting there’s a lot of terminology that might leave you wondering if you are on the right path. If you’re looking for options to put your first website online then the array of options can be baffling. As with other things in life, prices between products can vary wildly, and you could come to question whether buying cheap means buying twice. Don’t despair, UK2.NET can help.
Here, we’ll try to give a breakdown of the most common hosting options on the market. Hopefully, we will clarify some of your questions and explain how you will know if shared hosting is the right choice for your next project. Let’s get started…
What is web hosting?
Briefly, web hosting (sometimes called shared hosting) is an allocation of storage space on a server configured to make your web pages accessible to the world. As the word ‘shared’ implies, you’ll be purchasing a bit of space on a server that can be shared by anywhere from one to a hundred or more people/accounts.
Hosting a website requires transferring the various files and folders that make up a website onto a storage device like a hard drive or a larger server unit. The storage and update process must be kept constantly online with a super-fast internet connection. So requests for data are resolved as quickly as possible. Website hosting also requires protection against numerous threats out in cyberspace, ranging from comment spam to denial-of-server attacks that force websites offline.
The person responsible for keeping a website live has to keep on top of a constant stream of software updates and patches to maintain overall security. They need to understand industry jargon, appreciate the subtleties of evolving malware threats, and know when a plugin needs updating or replacing. They have to do all this around the clock while ensuring the components can cope with any unexpected traffic spikes. If it can’t, the website could temporarily go offline, at which point customers will quietly migrate elsewhere and be lost forever.
That is unless the person responsible instead purchases a shared hosting package. Shared hosting providers take care of the details for you.
Pushing the limits
Many new and smaller websites can start and operate through shared web hosting quite comfortably. The limitation on shared web hosting is the number of computing resources that your site will take up. If your site becomes so busy that it begins to use up a lot of memory or central processing resources – aka CPU – on a shared web hosting server, you’ll need to either move up to a VPS or a dedicated server package. However, the majority of website owners are unlikely to find themselves in that position.
Additionally, some clients feel limited due to the limited choices available on a shared server include access, software, and the ability to boot/reboot the server. Yet, even with these limitations in mind shared web hosting is largely beneficial. This is especially true since users don’t need to worry about how the server is set up or stress about having to manage the software installed.
If you are new to the world of hosting, then shared hosting can take a large chunk out of the learning curve of getting set up and save you a lot of time in the future. With UK2.NET’s shared hosting package, we offer you one-click installers for many of the most popular website software packages. This means that setting up a WordPress blog, a Joomla website, or even a wiki, is a simple process.
You may be feeling somewhat confused by the terms you are coming across while comparing costs for your new web hosting package. Terms like the cloud, shared, dedicated, and VPS can leave your head spinning. Before committing to a web hosting package, it is important to understand exactly what you can expect.
Most first-time web hosters are looking for somewhere to put their website so it can be enjoyed online. Shared hosting packages are a cost-effective way to get your website online without diving too deep into the web hosting world. But just what does it mean to say that a server is shared?
How does shared hosting work?
To understand how a server is shared, it is important to first grasp the capacity of a single server. Dedicated servers are computers specifically designed to hold huge amounts of data. Every aspect of the server is specialised for maximum capacity storage and data retrieval. Hardware, software, and network connections are super-sized to provide the most resources, redundancy, and speed.
An entire dedicated server is far too large (and expensive) to host a single site for the average website owner. Website owners choose web hosting packages that occupy servers specially provisioned (or divided) to provide hosting to many users at the same time. Sharing a large server is less expensive and easier to use. Processes are automated in shared hosting to help website owners who might not understand coding and technical operations.
Our expert technical support staff help monitor shared servers to ensure that there are plenty of resources and that connections are always available. If one user within a shared server is using more than their fair share of resources, our admins will even out usage for the rest of the server.
Why choose shared hosting?
You may still not be sure if shared hosting is the right choice for your next digital adventure. Below are some characteristics of users who pair perfectly with a shared environment.
#1. You are new to web hosting.
If you are a first-time website creator, then a shared hosting package is the perfect plan to start out with. As your website grows, you can always add additional resources or scale your hosting plan to accommodate your increasing needs.
#2. You are creating a small business from the ground up.
UK2.NET loves entrepreneurs. Our small business roots mean that we love to help startup organisations succeed. We offer all the tools and services you need to find your place in the ecommerce world.
#3. You are moving a website from a web application like Wix or WordPress.com.
Many of our clients administrate websites created on other web applications but have outgrown the capabilities of the single-user atmosphere. Shared hosting packages are perfect if you are looking for a larger, dedicated space for your established website.
#4. You are looking for cost-effective hosting.
Shared hosting is the most economical way to create a secure web presence. Enjoy all of the perks of a larger server without paying the full price of a dedicated or VPS host.
#5. You want to start a blog.
Shared hosting packages are perfect for users who are looking to create a blog. UK2.NET offers WordPress hosting specifically optimised for WordPress websites. However, you will find plenty of room to grow if you do not choose WordPress as your blogging platform.
Did you know?
#1. Since shared hosting doesn’t tie up much of a server’s hard drive, the cost of buying and maintaining the server is split between many customers, slashing the costs involved in dedicated hosting. After all, servers are very expensive to buy outright.
#2. Security updates can be rolled out quickly and across the board by the hosting company. Collective updates are quicker and more efficient than each client having to update their own server in response to new threats or software releases.
#3. It’s unlikely that every client website will receive large amounts of traffic at the same time, so considerable volumes of internet bandwidth are available at any given moment.
#4. Rapid page loading times do more than inspire happy visitors – they are a key factor when search engines like Google and Bing are ranking sites. A fast-loading homepage will achieve a superior position compared to slower competitors.
#5. Because so many clients have data stored on a single server, the hosting company will go to great lengths to optimise the performance of each high-speed hard drive unit. The entire infrastructure should be kept in tip-top condition.
A host with the most
A dependable shared hosting package clearly requires a dependable host company. And UK2.NET has spent the last twenty years building a reputation for exactly that. In fact, we were voted one of the UK’s top five shared hosting companies by the experts at TechRadar. They praised our “impressively cheap” services, and our “affordable unlimited packages”. They identified a diverse range of plans and high-quality support as key benefits of UK2.NET’s service.
TechRadar also identified that UK2.NET’s hosting plans are bundled with valuable additional features like SSL certificates, which are essential for ecommerce transactions. Given the steady stream of news stories about data security – and the recent launch of the EU’s GDPR rules on personal privacy – online security is more important than ever. And while consumers have to do their bit by choosing robust passwords or avoiding unsecured wifi networks, for example, online security often starts with a dependable and conscientious web hosting company.