The most basic is web page and small-scale file hosting, where files can be uploaded via File Transfer Protocol (FTP) or a Web interface. The files are usually delivered to the Web "as is" or with minimal processing. Many Internet service providers (ISPs) offer this service free to subscribers. Individuals and organizations may also obtain Web page hosting from alternative service providers.
Often, shared hosting boasts unlimited disk space, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited domains, and basically unlimited everything. While they claim to offer unlimited resources, you’re required to be fully compliant with your hosting company’s Terms of Service and only utilize disk space and bandwidth in the normal operation of a personal or small business website.
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Shared web hosting is a good option for businesses looking to keep costs down. A shared web hosting provider will host multiple sites, owned by multiple customers, on one server. The site owners share the costs of operating the server, so pricing is much lower than VPS or dedicated hosting, usually less than $10 per month. However, site owners are also sharing the server’s ability to transfer data, which means your site’s performance can be slow if one or more of your hosting neighbors experience a traffic spike.
HostGator gained points for uptime monitoring and regular backups, along with free cPanel or Plesk. We liked that SSH is available for the more technically inclined site operators and that dedicated IP addresses could be purchased. We did take points off because it's sometimes difficult to tell what the price is once promotional plans run their course. That said, with a generous 45-day money back guarantee, there's a hosting solution for almost everyone at HostGator.
According to the same TechRepublic article mentioned earlier, however, AWS’s pricing models are a bit difficult to navigate and figure out just how much you’ll be paying each month. The costs can vary based on features and how much traffic your site gets. So, if your online business is scaling rapidly, your bottom line might be impacted by AWS’s hosting costs.
Aptly named the “Best Host to Grow With,” HostGator is one of the most well-known and well-respected web hosts in the industry. Their plans include user-friendly Weebly site builder, no contract commitment, and unlimited storage, emails, and site traffic. Start with shared hosting and grow your business to dedicated-server scale, and the HostGator team will be there to help you grow every step of the way.
Whether I’m geeking out with Ryan, Laura, and the team, or sketching out server diagrams to explain the basics to my grandmother, talking about a career in web hosting is always a creative endeavor, and I love it. Hopefully, this guide has cleared up some of the common confusions of hosting services, and you’re ready to sign up with the web host that best fits your upcoming site needs.
Disk space and bandwidth: Hosting companies often advertise that they offer unlimited resources like disk space and bandwidth with their shared hosting plans. However, you’ll have usage restrictions on how you use the resources for your site. When you’re signing up for a service, you’re obliged to adhere to the terms of services of your hosting company. And based on the terms, you’ll only be allowed to use server resources for the normal operation of a small website.
Managed hosting: Some companies with ample IT resources may choose to manage their own VPS or dedicated servers. However, due to time or staff constraints, or simply for convenience, you can opt for a managed hosting plan. The provider offering the web hosting service will handle server administration, including security, backups, and systems management and monitoring.
One thing we learned in reviewing the services listed here (and many more) is that even though the packages are very similar, they are not identical. Some are more security-focused than others, offering anti-spam and anti-malware tools. Others offer a variety of email marketing tools. While most of the hosts we've reviewed have built-in e-commerce, you may want to consider using a more-robust third-party online shopping cart application like Shopify instead.
Hosting that is aimed at specific CMS platforms and tweaked optimally for them: e.g., WordPress hosting, Drupal hosting, Magento hosting, etc. In these cases, the best hosts do far more than just provide the minimal requirements for those platforms. They provide a rich, and fully managed environment so your site can perform like a well-tuned machine.