People planning to run a website always ask questions like, where do we purchase web hosting from? Which is the most reliable web hosting service provider? Where to get cheapest web hosting?
In this article I will explain about web hosting services and how to judge a webhosting provider yourself before making any purchases!
How Does Web Hosting Work?
First of all it is necessary to understand the mechanism of web hosting.
The data on World Wide Web is stored on special computers called Web Servers which run 24/7 with internet connectivity and are usually kept in data centers.
Now, a web hosting service provider will purchase a web server from a data center and configure it in order to resell space on their server to other people.
A web server will consist of specific disk space (eg. 500GB), bandwidth, Processor, RAM and other features.
There are several Control Panels which support in administrating a server, managing data, users and performing miscellaneous tasks.
Following are some popular control panels:
A web server can be used in a number of ways. It can be used to run a single website or it can be configured in a way to further divide the resources and run as many websites on same server as you want. Web hosting service providers do the same thing, they use control panels and make different packages.
Mainly there are three types of web hosting:
1. Shared Web Hosting
It is the most basic type of web hosting where user gets a partition of server in which they can upload data. You can link more than one website to your account depending on the package but there is only one control panel, through which you have to manage all of your websites and you get a single file manager.
Shared hosting is preferred by individuals or small business owners. It is a better choice if you want to make a personal website, showcasing your products or services and a lot more with small budget. It is the least expensive and basic type of web hosting.
2. Reseller Web Hosting
Reseller Web Hosting allows the user to create multiple shared web hosting accounts using the Reseller Control Panel they are granted access to by the web server administrator. The amount of shared accounts allowed to be created and resources to be allotted depend on the package.
It is useful for people who want to sell shared hosting among small number of people, offer it as an add-on service with other products or services they sell or want different control panels for multiple websites they own.
Commonly, there is only one IP Address which is shared among all the shared and reseller web hosting accounts, but if you are interested to sell your web hosting, it is better to get your own Dedicated IP Address. You can purchase it from your provider paying a little additional amount. Check your account at provider’s website for add-ons, if you are unable to find it, contact your provider for assistance.
3. VPS Hosting
VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. Just like a server can be divided into further shared hosting accounts, similarly it can also be partitioned into separate virtual servers. A virtual server is allotted disk space and bandwidth just like normal web hosting, but it is also given a specific portion of RAM and CPU, which is dedicated to this server. The user gets access to complete features and can manage everything their own.
VPS Hosting is preferred by people who want to gain much more control and power and those who really want a greater share of server RAM and CPU as they have to run heavy websites.
Unlike shared and reseller hosting, VPS hosting comes with Dedicated IP Address, Virtual servers cannot shared IP Addresses.
It is advised to go for a small VPS plan if you are running forums, blogs or other CMS (Content Management Systems) as such type of scripts store data in databases like MySQL. Heavy databases require a greater share of CPU and RAM which can cause problem in regular web hosting.
There are a great number of web hosting providers around. When you are going to buy shared or reseller web hosting, there are a number of factors to be taken care of. Mostly people need high resources for cheap rates and that is a common fact!
Being aware of this fact, web hosting providers create such type of packages, which attract customers.
A lot of web hosts are offering unlimited hosting packages, in which they provide unlimited disk space, bandwidth, databases etc.
Truth Behind Unlimited Web Hosting
Web hosting business that was not much common a couple of years back, now has become one of the most popular online business. Rapid increase in need of creating websites in past years has caused the demand of web hosting to rise.
Today, it has become so easy to start a web hosting business that you can begin it with a minimum investment of just $ 21 USD.
Wondering how? Buy a domain for just $ 11 (mostly there are discounts), Reseller Hosting for as low as $ 10 or even less, get a free template and launch your business!
In short, web hosting market has resulted into a decreasing cost industry.
You will get to know the reality and culprits behind the drastic drop of prices in web hosting world as you read further.
What comes in your mind when you hear the word “unlimited”? That there is no limit to something! Now as I have explained the working of web hosting, you are already aware of the fact that it is impossible to have unlimited features in web hosting due to the limited resources of the web servers.
Is there a possibility of getting a hard disk drive with unlimited data storage in real world? Ofcource not! Similarly it is impossible to have unlimited bandwidth or processor that can process unlimited data.
So, as a matter of fact, unlimited hosting is always limited!
Provider’s Terms of Service
There is an interesting thing to note that, very few people care to study the Terms and Conditions of a provider in detail. Here is a quote from terms of service document of an ordinary hosting provider:
Any website that uses a high amount of server resources (such as, but not limited to, CPU time, memory usage, and network resources) will be given an option of either paying extra for a dedicated server / semi-dedicated server (which depends on the resource needed) or reducing the resource used to an acceptable level. *Provider* shall be the sole arbiter of what is considered to be a high server usage level.
This clearly shows that even your hosting package is unlimited, but ultimately there’s a limit to resources you are allowed to use.
Furthermore there is another thing that is found in almost every Terms of Service document and that is your provider has the right to cancel your service whenever they want. Here is an exemplary quote:
Refusal of Service:
We reserve the right to refuse, cancel or suspend service at our sole discretion. All sub-networks, distributive hosting sites of *provider* must adhere to the above policies.
Concept of Overselling
Term ‘Overselling’ refers to the act of web hosting service providers in which they sell out more resources to their customers than their server can handle.
Overselling is something that is done in most of the businesses. In web hosting, it’s a common fact that majority of customers do not use their allotted resources to the full extent and there always some space remaining in their quotas. And being aware of this, the providers using the leftover disk space or bandwidth on their servers create excess accounts and sell them. These are the spaces that are oversold.
Corruption cannot be completely eliminated but it should be as much minimized as possible for the better. In the same way overselling to some extent is common, even good providers oversell, but still they know their limits.
For better explanation, suppose you are a web hosting provider and you own a server with 500GB Disk Space and 1000GB Bandwidth. If the sum of all disk space and/or bandwidth of all the accounts on server are exceeding 500GB Disk and 1000GB Bandwidth, then you are said to be overselling.
This condition can be formed either by stuffing server with mass accounts or allotting high resources to single or multiple accounts.
Why Do Companies Oversell?
A very simple reason behind this act is that, due to the overall decrease in webhosting prices, newly started companies have to sell it out cheap to compete the market.
If they offer expensive instead of cheap unlimited hosting packages, they will face troubles in initiating their business, and there is a fear of getting in debt.
Result of Overselling
Just think for a while, that there is a company that sold great number of accounts from their server. Furthermore, they are offering web hosting with unlimited disk space and bandwidth.
As it’s a common fact that people think they can use their disk space and bandwidth as much as they want. There are no worries of their resources reaching limits and users will be getting high traffic. Some will run heavy CPU and RAM eating scripts.
As such type of providers have greed of money, they do not take care of how there server is being used, they just sell out accounts without any management.
Now all this is going to affect a normal user badly. The service of server as a whole will get worst.
There will be loading speed issues due to the high CPU Load Averages and increased downtimes.
There maybe data losses due to hard disk failure. In this situation, provider itself is helpless because they have to invest more on their server and this is something they will never do!
If all this continues, either the provider will close their company and run away with your money without giving any refunds or before that you will end up frustrated, searching for a new web host.
Are Such Providers Always Unreliable?
It is not necessary that every company offering unlimited web hosting is unreliable and will turn to be a scam. There are such companies that are running perfectly for years and they now offer unlimited web hosting but it is their good management that has kept their business in a good condition.
The reason behind their success is that they are doing business on a large scale; some companies also offer a number of other multimedia solutions except for providing web hosting.
They are earning such great sums of profit that, they can sell space in unlimited figures.
The most important point to be noted is that, their packages are not cheap, instead they are really expensive.
So, next time you are looking for web hosting offers, keep a good check on prices.
You get what you pay for!
Choose Best Hosting According To Your Needs
Finally, you can follow these steps in finding the best web hosting provider.
- First of all analyze your needs and how much resources do you require.
- Search for good old companies that are doing business for a long time.
- Shortlist a few where you find packages which best suit your needs. Remember that you have to pay good for a good service and keep the price factor in mind as it reflects the future of the company.
- Do some research on the company’s background and find online reviews. Look for comments from different people as in some cases the company might have paid for biased reviews.
Following are a few pointers which should be noted and kept in mind before making a final purchase:
- Never ignore the Terms of Service, study it thoroughly. Look for the content or things that are not allowed to be hosted by the provider to avoid any suspension or cancellation of your hosting. Also check the refund policies.
- Don’t forget to look for the server uptime if you don’t want your website to get offline. Companies having good uptime on their servers mostly show the uptime monitor to their clients for customer satisfaction. It can be found on their website. Don’t rely on what they are saying; everybody says they got 99.9% uptime. After all we need a proof.
- WHMCS (Web Host Manager Complete Solutions) is a paid script that needs to be licensed and is used by a great number of web hosting providers for managing everything, from billing to creation of accounts. This will help you in checking the legitimacy of a company whether they are using unlicensed/nulled script or it is licensed. To check if a company website is licensed with WHMCS, go to this link, write the name of domain in given field and click ‘Submit’.
- Be on the safe side and do not go for yearly packages. Although you may subscribe for payment to be sent automatically each month for your ease.