Shared hosting is web hosting in which the provider houses multiple sites on a single server. For example, Site A shares the same server with Site B, Site C, Site D, and Site E. The upside is that the multiple sites share the server cost, so shared web hosting is generally very inexpensive. In fact, you can find an option for less than $10 per month.
If you're not sure of the type of hosting your business needs, you might want to start small, with shared Web hosting. You can always graduate to a more robust, feature-rich package of, say, VPS hosting or even dedicated hosting in the future. Unfortunately, some hosts don't offer all hosting types. Consider how much you expect to grow your website, and how soon, before you commit to anything longer than a one-year plan. It's worth spending the time up front to make sure that the host you select with is able to provide the growth you envision for your site, as switching web hosting providers midstream is not a trivial undertaking.
A complex site calls for a more comprehensive package that provides database support and application development platforms (e.g. ASP.NET, ColdFusion, Java EE, Perl/Plack, PHP or Ruby on Rails). These facilities allow customers to write or install scripts for applications like forums and content management. Also, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is typically used for websites that wish to keep the data transmitted more secure.
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The company doesn't list a virtual private server offering, but they bill their Elastic Sites service as a VPS alternative, offering the ease of use of a simple shared hosting plan and the performance and scalability of a VPS. GlowHost also offers a number of different cloud hosting plans, with special attention to providing enterprise-grade services.
Shared hosting is like an apartment building where the building or server has many tenants or hosting accounts sharing the space and the utilities. This works just fine if you have a small family but if everyone in the building has ten roommates move in who are constantly running the water and using the wifi then the water pressure and wifi speed start to suffer. The key to shared hosting is that it is meant for small business websites, sure you can pack the roommates or files in like sardines but it will really be uncomfortable.
The answer is simple – despite having many different names, all of these companies belong to the same German AttractSoft group. That may not necessarily mean something evil – it could be that each service is just meant to cater to a different market and/or audience. For example, Awardspace is more popular in the US and India, while Netfirms is a well-known name in Canada.
Many services offer so-called unlimited or unmetered service for whatever amount of bandwidth, disk storage and sites you use. It's important to understand that most terms of service actually do limit the definition of "unlimited" to what's considered reasonable use. The bottom line is simple: if you're building a pretty basic website, unlimited means you don't need to worry. But if you're trying to do something excessive (or illegal, immoral or fattening), the fine print in the terms of service will trigger, and you'll either be asked to spend more or go elsewhere.