By VIV KOSTROMIN
"Cheap Web Hosting" is somewhat a vague and rather ambiguous term these days. Naturally, nobody is pitching their web hosting offers as expensive and madly overpriced. Even though the price tags themselves on everything related to website hosting have not changed that much during the last couple of years, the offers themselves became way more attractive.
If a poor webmaster from 2000's would be able to take a look at what is being offered these days under the "Cheap Web Hosting" on the menu, he or she would very likely be rendered speechless. Some of the hosting options, especially the cloud ones, would even not look that real at all.
Lets take a closer look on what a typical entry-level (~$5 per month) web hosting package offers now:
• Web space: Typically around 50 Gb
• Bandwidth: Unmetered (still has an I/O cap)
• Domains: Unlimited
• Subdomains: Unlimited
• Email accounts: Unlimited
The 50 Gb storage itself looks unbelievable. It was 250-500 Mb practically yesterday, you blink and now it's 50 Gygabytes. Even though it very hard to imagine an entry level blog or a small company website (which are typically hosted on those cheap plans) ever hit the 50 Gb storage cap, it sure looks and feels much nicer.
At least now if you are a photographer, a web designer with a large portfolio or a company that has a lot of graphical content to show to your clients, you don't have to ever worry about the disc space. Again - for five bucks a month.
So, are the current cheap web hosting plans able to cover everyone's needs? Why pay more is you have more than enough space for probably all of your sites, and can literally host an unlimited number of websites, each with the own domain?
The thing is - the while space is big and the bandwidth is unlimited, you'll still have a bottleneck when it comes to the hardware resources of the server. On all of the entry-level (so-called "shared") cheap web hosting plans the resources (such as CPU and RAM are shared between all the users of the server.
Your websites are living in a box with a large number of other sites. So the web hosting provider needs to set up the "equal opportunity" policy, so to speak, for each and every website. If a particular client constantly using a lot of resources, it is moved to a quieter box, but there still is a limit.
Also, a typical cheap web hosting server is not of a kind that could be described as "state of the art". These servers are typical of previous generations. Five years ago this box served as a cutting edge dedicated server, now that sever moved to a newer and better box, and this one goes to the "shared" rack.
It doesn't mean it is bad in any way, it's more that enough for a typical entry level site, but just don't expect it to be as good as the options with a higher price tag.
So start with a simple cheap hosting plan, and then upgrade. Most web hosting providers offer migration services, and in some cases - particularly anything "cloud" - you can actually do it yourself with a simple button click.
The current cheap web hosting plans looks great, web hosting providers have accumulated a lot of experience last in both server management and customer support (the early days of commercial web hosting were a bit wild in this aspect), so now we're finally at the stage that can be described as "like it should have been from the start".
With the rise of the social media it became almost impossible for a web hosting company to mistreat clients in any way and survive in a long-term time frame. There are still some bad seeds, targeting the most inexperienced and new clients, who literally just started yesterday, but there are bad seeds in every industry. A typical web hosting provider, even in the cheapest segments is well aware of the "word of the mouth" aspect of the business, and devotes enough attention to client needs to not go under.
Actually the competition raised the bar so high, an average and rather basic cheap web hosting provider from the middle of the line would have won an industry award for innovations in both customer support and technology in 2000.
In our next article we are panning to take a deeper look at the cheap segment of the cloud web hosting and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this option from a typical small business owner's perspective.
If you have an interesting experience with cloud hosting (especially the cheap segment of it) and would like to share - please do not hesitate to drop us a line.