Shared hosting for professionals: Professional webspace for a small price

Especially for smaller projects, even professionals often have cheap hosting solutions that do not have to meet very high performance requirements. We give a market overview and explain which factors should be considered in the selection.

For a long time, shared hosting packages were seen by professionals as a rather inferior solution. This was partly due to the often lousy performance data of the respective offers, on the other to various annoying configuration problems. Especially in the field of PHP development, many providers rely on settings such as the infamous safe-fashion. Although promised pseudo-security, but at the same time made reasonable development impossible. In addition, safe mode was the most difficult to reconcile with most open source applications from WordPress to TYPO3.

Fortunately, these times are over, so that the use of shared hosting in the professional field is now no longer in the way of the technology. The scenario that this article explores in more detail is the use of shared hosting for self-developed PHP applications and open-source systems with low traffic and performance requirements. This could be, for example, a blog, a microsite for a campaign or even smaller applications such as online surveys or forms.

Market Overview Shared Hosting: Our Criteria

This package selection gives a rough overview of the market and can be used as a starting point for your own research. All information comes from the information provided by the hosters about their packages on the web and, where necessary, from inquiries as a potential new customer for live chat or hotline. Only packages that provide PHP at least version 5.3 and a MySQL database from 5.x have been included. If a provider offers more than one database, a package with at least three MySQL databases was chosen to have at least two test or development instances. Wherever possible, we chose a Linux-based package for our market overview.

Although the purpose of these packages is certainly synonymous for many professionals in it, uncomplicated known applications such as WordPress and Co. can operate. Nevertheless, such pure “application specialists” are missing here, who only aim to set up certain blog systems, CMS or web shops. The table following the article, however, contains the most important of these applications, which can be added by one-click installation. When it comes to disk space, you have to assume that an application, just at the time of development or further development, is being developed, tested and used productively. In this respect, 20 gigabytes of storage are a reasonable minimum size. If a provider only offers shared hosting packages with less storage space, we have chosen the largest possible.

The criteria for package selection, when available, was support for cronjobs, SSH access, use of .htaccess, and customization of php.ini configurations. SSL certificates did not have to be included directly in the package, but it was recorded here whether a retrofit is possible. It should be looked at when ordering carefully, whether it is a shared SSL certificate with central domain of the hoster or whether customers can use their own SSL certificate.

Services

The transition from shared hosting to advanced virtualization technology that powers virtual servers is fluid. Comparable are the web hosting offers only if it is managed by the host server and updated server, so offers the genus “virtual managed”. The technical difference with many hosters is that certain resources are guaranteed for the virtual machines, while in shared hosting several customers share resources on one server. The problem here may be that a single customer deducts many benefits and left for the rest less.

Therefore, some hosters handle the performance data transparently or let the customer choose how much power they want to package their package with. For example, Domainfactory * uses  its own star system with percentages in its rich configurator to show how many customers are allowed per CPU core. Good thing is that you can choose here even with a fairly standardized shared hosting offer, how much performance you need later. However, the benefits are not very transparent. For example, Domainfactory’s percentage base value is 75 customers per CPU core from 2011, but we do not have any memory information in the supply overview.

In contrast, 1 & 1’s  “New Hosting Unlimited” package indicates how much memory is allocated. However, the formulation of “up to 1.2 GB” is also a bit vague here and the comparison with about the exact specification of 150 MB RAM at Mittwald  not really possible.

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