Firstly, what is Web Hosting?
If you are in the process of building a website, and considering shared web hosting, I can imagine how website hosting as a topic on its own can be confusing and sometimes too technical for you.
For me as a digital marketing professional with over 10 years’ experience and a digital entrepreneur, navigating the vast world of the internet can be both thrilling and overwhelming for me.
One of the fundamental components that contribute to establishing a strong and positive online brand presence is having your website hosted on the World Wide Web.
But, what is this hosting/web hosting/ website hosting that I am referring to? OK, I am going to try explain it in the simplest of ways – Web hosting is a service that allows individuals (online content creators, public figures, artists, etc.) and businesses of all sizes to make their website accessible by people on the internet.
When you create a website, it consists of various images, videos, text and documents etc. These files need to be stored on a server, which is a powerful computer that is always connected to the internet. Web hosting service providers offer servers that store these files and make them accessible to you as an internet user when you visit a website.
And then, you pay the Web hosting service provider a monthly hosting fee and the prices range from as little as R59 p/m in South Africa – and Afrihost is running a 50% hosting discount for the first month’s hosting, if you click here you will qualify for the discount.
Types of Web Hosting Available in South Africa
Before delving into the specifics of shared website hosting, it’s crucial to understand the different types of web hosting available in South Africa. In my previous blog titled “Types of different web hosting services available in South Africa” I discussed the most common website hosting services available in South Africa.
These diverse range of hosting options includes shared web hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated server hosting, WordPress and cloud hosting. Each of these options presents unique features and benefits, catering to varying website requirements and business needs. In this article, my main focus is primarily on shared web hosting.
If the options make you unsure of the correct type of web hosting to choose for your website and make you reconsider shared hosting, consider quickly going through this blog article title “Web hosting in South Africa – 5 factors to consider” to arm yourself with the importance of reliability, security, scalability and speed in web hosting in South Africa.
Understanding What “Shared Website Hosting” Is
Well, shared web hosting, as the name suggests, involves multiple websites sharing a single server. This means that the resources of the server, including CPU, disk space, and memory, are shared among numerous websites. While this may raise concerns about performance and security, shared hosting is a cost-effective solution that is well-suited for small to medium-sized websites with moderate traffic.
Afrihost’s shared hosting starts from as little as R59.99 p/m and you can even get a 50% discount off your first bill when you click here.
Let’s explore the types of shared web hosting options available for you, if you are looking to host your website in South Africa.
Types of Shared Hosting Available in South Africa
Shared website hosting comes in different forms, each tailored to meet specific website requirements and online brand presence needs. Some of the common types of shared hosting include traditional shared hosting, reseller hosting, and shared WordPress hosting.
Traditional shared hosting is the standard form where multiple websites are hosted on a single server, while reseller hosting allows individuals like me to resell their server resources to you. Shared WordPress hosting, on the other hand, is optimised specifically for websites built on the WordPress platform, providing added performance and security features.
Shared Hosting Service Providers in South Africa
Service providers that offer shared website hosting range from global industry leaders such as GoDaddy, Bluehost, and HostGator to local companies that understand the unique requirements of the South African market like Afrihost, Xneelo, 1 Grid, Axxess and Domains.co.za.
When considering shared hosting, it’s essential to explore the offerings of reputable providers to ensure a seamless and reliable hosting experience.
My prefer hosting provider at the moment is Afrihost, mainly because of their 50% discount, which I think is an amazing offering especially in the current economic climate – To qualify for their shared hosting 50% discount of your first month’s bill click here.
Servers Available in South Africa
Majority of hosting service providers, if not all – have two shared hosting server options i.e. Microsoft Windows shared hosting and Linux shared hosting. In order to decide whether to go for Linux or Microsoft hosting you will have to identify what your website requirements are.
Linux vs. Microsoft Shared Hosting
When venturing into shared hosting, one of the critical decisions to make is the choice between Linux and Microsoft shared hosting.
1. Linux Hosting Servers
Linux is generally a more popular option because of its affordability, security, flexibility, stability, and many features making it a popular choice for many websites. Linux supports PHP, Perl, MySQL, PostgreSQL, CGI Scripts with access via a control panel.
2. Microsoft Windows Hosting Servers
On the other hand, Microsoft shared hosting is preferred by websites that utilise technologies such as ASP.NET, MS Access, Microsoft SQL Server, VBScript etc. Then Windows hosting would be better for you.
Understanding the specific requirements of your website will guide you in selecting the most suitable platform for your shared hosting needs.
Both Linux and Windows servers are reliable, stable, and secure. Generally, however, more viruses are written to attack Windows servers than Linux servers. If you need to host on a Windows Server ensure that your web hosting company continually upgrades their Windows and Linux servers with the latest fixes and patches available.
Advantages of Shared Hosting
Now, let’s shift our focus to the core of this article – the advantages of shared hosting. Shared hosting presents a myriad of benefits that make it an attractive option for individuals and businesses alike.
- Firstly, shared hosting is incredibly cost-effective, providing an affordable entry point for those venturing into the online space.
- Shared hosting eliminates the need for you to manage the server, as the hosting provider takes care of server maintenance and management tasks. This allows you to focus on creating and enhancing their online presence without the burden of server administration.
- Shared hosting is the user-friendly interface and control panel provided by hosting companies. This empowers you with the ability to manage you websites, emails, and domains with ease, without requiring extensive technical knowledge.
- Shared hosting often includes features such as one-click installations for popular applications like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal, streamlining the process of setting up and managing websites.
- Shared hosting provides robust security measures to safeguard websites from potential threats. Hosting providers implement proactive security protocols, including firewalls, malware scanning, and regular backups, to fortify the websites hosted on shared servers. This ensures your website will remain protected and operational, offering peace of mind to you.
Disadvantages of Shared Hosting
While the advantages of shared hosting are compelling, it’s essential to consider the potential drawbacks associated with this hosting solution.
- One of the primary disadvantages of shared hosting is the sharing of resources, which can impact the performance of your website during peak traffic periods. Since multiple websites utilise the same server resources, there is a possibility of slowdowns or latency, particularly when neighbouring sites experience high levels of activity.
- Another concern with shared hosting is the limited customisation and configuration options available to you. Given that the server environment is shared among multiple users, certain configurations and software installations may be restricted to maintain server stability and security. This can pose limitations for websites that require specific software or server configurations to operate optimally.
- Security is another aspect that presents a potential disadvantage of shared hosting. While shared hosting providers implement robust security measures, the shared nature of the server environment means that the actions of other websites can impact the overall security posture. If a neighbouring website on the same server experiences a security breach, there is a possibility of it affecting other websites on the server.
However, it’s important to note that reputable hosting providers take proactive measures to mitigate such risks and safeguard the websites hosted on their servers. For a guide on how to choose the right hosting provider for your website, check out this blog article titled “How to choose the best web hosting provider in South Africa“.
In conclusion, shared web hosting stands as a cost-effective entry point for individuals and businesses seeking a presence online. This hosting option, while economical, brings both advantages, disadvantages and considerations you should keep in mind before making a purchase.
The affordability and ease of management make shared hosting an appealing choice, especially for small to medium-sized websites with moderate traffic. It enables you to focus on content creation and brand development without the complexities of server administration and all the technicalities that come with hosting a website.
Yet, shared hosting’s shared resources can lead to performance fluctuations during peak traffic times and may impose limitations on customisation for businesses that are looking for more flexibility.
Security concerns also arise due to the shared nature of the server environment, although reputable providers such as Afrihost, Xneelo, 1 Grid, Axxess and Domains.co.za implement stringent measures to safeguard their hosted websites.
When considering shared hosting in South Africa, it’s crucial to weigh the options available from reputable providers like Afrihost, Xneelo, and others. Identifying specific website requirements and understanding the differences between Linux and Microsoft shared hosting helps in making an informed choice.
Ultimately, shared hosting serves as an accessible gateway to establish an online presence, but careful consideration of its advantages and drawbacks is key to making the most suitable choice for your website’s needs.