There are different types of website hosting available and the most suitable option will usually depend on the type of site you're wanting to run. The most basic of these options is called Shared Hosting where you effectively share a server, sometimes with several hundreds or even thousands of other sites.
Shared hosting is usually the cheapest type of hosting available because the cost of running a server can be spread across a greater number of websites. However, it can also be the riskiest form of hosting for the following reasons:
- You have no idea what the others site's hosted on the server do - the sites could be resource intensive and starve your site of processing power
- Poor coding on just one site could leave the rest of the server vulnerable to attack or compromise
- A spike in traffic to another site can block access to your own site
- Bulk emails sent from poor coding, or an email account breach can blacklist the IP address causing emails to go undelivered
Shared hosting is setup for the average user, so if you find you need your site (or server) to do anything specific, or need any form of control over the hosting environment, it probably won't be possible in a shared hosting environment.
How to find out how many sites are hosted on a shared server
To find out whether you're on a shared server, a quick WHOIS lookup on a domain name can reveal all. WHOIS records are available for every domain, and are just like a car log book, showing the domain owner and registration details.
- Enter a domain name using an online tool such as http://whois.domaintools.com
- Look for the information provided by the Reverse IP (see example below)
In the example above, clearly the site is running on a shared server. There's not necessarily anything wrong with this, and the vast majority of regular websites will run on some form of shared hosting system, but would you really want to be sharing your server with another 1600 sites?
The cheapest will rarely be the best
We've always found cheap hosting to be expensive hosting, so if uptime, reliability and security are high up on your list (and they should be for a typical business or commercial site), settling for a low cost shared hosting platform simply won't deliver this. Look out for things like virtual dedicated, or virtual private hosting, or if you really need it, dedicated servers as better alternatives.
For information about our website hosting and hosting for Expression Engine sites, please contact us.
Image Credit: smlp.co.uk via Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/biscuitsmlp/2267066385)