What is cheap hosting?

You’ve just had a great idea; you want to start a blog in Australia, or you need a place to sell your products. Chances are a website it the best option to get your idea, blog, or product out to a large number of people. Whether you’re an Australian business looking to keep overhead low or you’re a stay-at-home on a budget, cheap hosting is a great option to reach the world/Australia, get readers, or find customers at a low cost.

One of the cheapest hosting paths to take is shared hosting. Shared hosting is a low-cost, entry-level way to host your website. Many websites start here and move to other options as they grow. Websites for small businesses or personal blogs.

Essentially, cheap hosting is sharing the data and bandwidth of a server with dozens of other websites. It uses the same concept as a carpooling, just in the virtual world.

Shared hosting is similar to an office space with cubicles. You are assigned a cubicle in this office. Inside your partition, you can set up your desk as you like, put up pictures, or set the background on your computer to your dog. All around you are other website owners with their own areas as well. If the computer breaks or cubicles fall apart, the supervisor or company is responsible for taking care of the issue. All the hardware in the office space belongs to the company.

On an Australian shared hosting server, you get your own “cubicle” and the server administrator is responsible for taking care of the technical hardware. You are assigned a portion of the data and bandwidth with which you can run your website. The major difference in between an office and a server is who works for who. As a website owner, the server administrator works for you.

A more expensive option (definitely in Australia) is a Virtual Private Server (VPS). VPS offers you the ability to control your website completely and offers you the most power. The only catch is that the added premium capabilities of a VPS require premium prices. Most of the time, while a VPS may offer some great features, these are generally not useful for a website that has recently started up. There may come a day when you need a VPS, but for now, a cheap hosting setup should suit your needs.

Pros & Cons of Cheap Web Hosting

Pros

Cheap

Sharing is key to making this type of web hosting cheap. On a shared server, each individual website is chipping into the cost of running the server. By optimizing one server for many different websites, the costs for the hosting company are cut way down. This means that the cost to have your website hosted are cut way down as well. Most shared hosting plans will cost you $2-5 per month. That’s $60 a year or less.

Professional Website

While shared hosting may be cheap, don’t think that means a cheap looking website. Websites on a shared server can look professional and be competitive, while still maintaining a low price point (most hosts can run a basic WordPress site pretty smoothly). If you’re planning on creating a simple website shared hosting is the way to go. If this is your first website or you are simply experimenting with coding and design, shared hosting is ideal.

Unlimited Disk Space and Bandwidth

Many plans will offer “unlimited” disk space and bandwidth to host your website on a shared server. While in reality there is no server that can offer truly unlimited space and bandwidth, server administrators know that many small websites will not be able to exceed the unofficial limits they have. At some point, server administrators will ask you to upgrade to a more expensive plan to contain your growth, like a dedicated server or cloud hosting. Oftentimes this can happen because you’ve gained enough traffic to exceed the bandwidth limits.

Cons

Low Traffic Sites Only

The main downside of using shared hosting is that you’ll have to switch if you ever grow to have a lot of readers or visitors. While the limits that servers place on individual sites are difficult for smaller sites to reach, if you grow you’ll have to upgrade to your own server or a more expensive plan.

Uncomplicated Sites Only

Similar to the low traffic issue, shared housing usually only works for simpler sites. Simpler sites take up less disk space, so they work well on a shared server. If your site begins to take up to much data or bandwidth a server will ask you to upgrade. In some extreme circumstances, server administrators have even been known to just cut a site out of the server.

Less Control

Because you do not own the server, you have less ability to do things on your website you may need or want. In the office example above, think about an office computer. Each individual worker doesn’t get to choose what type of computer he uses or what color the cubicle walls are.

FAQ’s

Do websites on shared servers all have the same IP address?

Generally yes. On a shared server each website will be under the same (Australian based) IP address. In this scenario, the routing will work on a domain name basis.

For all their drawbacks, are shared hosting plans really worth it?

When it comes down to it, it depends on what you are planning to do with your website. If you are looking for something simple to facilitate a smaller amount of traffic, shared hosting is your cheapest option. Personal blogs, small business websites, or other small audience websites are all ideal sites to use shared hosting for. If you’re considering shared hosting because you’re on a budget, I would go ahead and do it. While it does have drawbacks, it is enough to provide you a professional, working website.

What specifically am I sharing with other sites?

On a shared server, you will share disk space, bandwidth, memory, server priority, and processing cycles.