4 Ways To Avoid Paying For Web Hosting Features You May Not Need

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Ten years ago, webhosting (as a concept and a service) was still making its way into the average consumer’s world. While many people had their own domain name, they didn’t understand what webhosting was. Plenty of people bought their domain names from a company that would automatically set up their hosting account, leaving them with almost nothing to do.

Today, hosting companies have been able to significantly drop their prices for the consumer, but they can be notorious for using marketing tactics to get people to sign up for the more expensive hosting packages that don’t match their needs.

If you have a webhost currently or are looking to buy webhosting in the near future, here are 4 ways to help you get the best deal without paying for extra features you don’t really need.

1. Know what a server actually is

With all the talk about servers, it’s time to dive into what a server actually is. It’s actually quite simple. A server is an actual, physical computer – just like your old desktop computer – except it’s generally bigger, more powerful, and if it’s a webhosting server, it’s stored in a datacenter among many others of its kind.

Servers can be desktop computers in someone’s basement. You can even turn your laptop into a server. What makes it a server is what it’s used for. A server is a computer that serves other computers. For example, a webhosting server serves webpages to your computer when you request access to them by visiting the website.

2. Know the difference between hosting types

Part of the reason webhosting companies are able to offer cheap webhosting is because they’re selling what’s called “shared hosting.” This means multiple websites are being hosted on the same server (computer) and are allotted a certain amount of resources that are shared (like file space, bandwidth, and add-on domains).

In this case, if one website is using an extraordinarily high amount of bandwidth, or experiencing DoS attacks, that website will be using up valuable resources and will slow down all the other websites on the server.

Shared hosting is affordable, and is the best option for most people and small businesses.

With shared hosting, you can’t connect directly to the server and run applications or perform any actions remotely because it would affect everyone else. So if you want your website hosted on a faster server or if you want different hardware, a different operating system, or a different configuration, you have to migrate to another server with those specs (or get a bare metal server).

Bare metal servers

When you host your website on a bare metal server, you don’t share it with others. You can access it directly, you have access to all of its resources (RAM, HDDs, CPU, etc.) and you can use it for a wider variety of functions like hosting applications, and running network or file servers.

With a bare metal server, you have more processing power, better performance, and most importantly, a higher level of security.

And just in case you were wondering, there is a slight difference between the traditional dedicated server and a bare metal server. A bare metal server is a dedicated server that utilizes cloud technology.

3. Know when you need a bare metal server

If you’re just launching a personal website with a blog, or you’re publishing a basic website for your business, you probably don’t need a bare metal server. The people who need these servers are the organizations with strict compliance measures that require a high level of privacy controls.

You also have the option of using virtualization. This type of hosting starts with a bare metal server, but uses a hypervisor to create individual, virtual private server environments within the bare metal server.

To help clarify the questions you may have about this, take a few minutes to read more about the difference between a bare metal server and virtualization.

4. Ask lots of questions

Sometimes we have a tendency to blame companies for over-charging their customers, but when it comes to webhosting, they aren’t necessarily doing it on purpose. If you’re paying for a web hosting account with features you don’t need, it could be because you didn’t know what you signed up for. Unless you know the lingo, it can be difficult to decipher what’s being offered to you by a webhosting company.

The good news is that if you are paying more than you need to, your bill could be slashed in half (or more). So just call up your webhost and let them know you want to make sure you’re using the right kind of hosting for your business needs. Most webhosting companies thrive on referrals, so they’ll probably be more than willing to help you out, even if it means putting you on a cheaper plan. Hosting is long-term revenue, so they’re not going to lose out on your long-term business just to save a few bucks.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, always revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance producer for USA Today, and a contributor at Technorati. She lives in Utah with her 2 kids and husband. Melissa Thompson can be reached via LinkedIn or Twitter @melthompson88. Please follow and friend her on either site.