Website maintenance

The dark side of cheap hosting: when bad neighbours become a threat


Picture of a beautifully tidy garden

Anyone looking for a new home on the web fires up the Google engine and searches for "hosting". The consumer hosters appear on the first page. The prices there are temptingly favourable "Hosting from 1.99 EUR" and the promises of unlimited domains, storage space and great websites for success sound fantastic. But as with many things in life that sound too good to be true, shared hosting also has its downsides. Especially if you have the misfortune of ending up next to "bad neighbours".

What do "bad neighbours" mean when it comes to hosting?

Imagine you are lucky enough to find a favourable offer for a rental flat. Everything looks perfect until you discover that the neighbours above you are fans of hardcore techno parties and are kind enough to let you partake in their hobby every night. Atze lives across the street and the police come to your door at least once a week. And someone steals the newspaper from your letterbox every day... That's exactly how it can be with shared hosting:

On a shared server with a low-cost hoster, you share the resources for your website, such as storage space, processor time and bandwidth numerous other customer websites. This can often run into the thousands. A "bad neighbour" is one of these websites that then consumes an excessive amount of resources or attracts negative attention in other ways - be it through spamming, hacked content or illegal content. The result? Slow loading times, security risks and, in the worst case, even downtime.

Bad neighbours love the cheap hosters, because they hardly have a service-oriented infrastructure due to the low price. Everything is automated by machines for price reasons, including server monitoring. You will hardly find anyone there who looks at the figures or intervenes in the event of complaints from individuals.

The risks

  1. Slow website speedsIf another user on the server goes viral in one fell swoop, receives many visits or their site is not programmed efficiently, this can also bring your site to its knees.
  2. Security concernsIf a neighbouring site is insecure and is hacked, there is a risk that your area will also be compromised.
  3. SPAM mail problems: If your neighbour decides to send SPAM mails on a large scale, this can lead to the entire server being blacklisted - including your email and your website (we recommend keeping your email service and website hosting redundant, i.e. not hosted on the same server, for various other reasons)
  4. SEO problemsIf you share a server with websites with legally dubious content, this could have a negative impact on your own ranking, as search engines may also rate the entire server negatively.

What can you do about it?

Fortunately, you're not helpless against it. Here are a few strategies to protect yourself from the downsides of cheap consumer hosting:

  1. Choose your hosting provider wiselyNot all hosts are the same. Look for providers that offer active monitoring and tighter control of the content hosted on their servers. For example with our all-round care package 😇. If you would like to choose your own hoster, please contact us anyway, we have a lot of experience with the usual large, low-cost providers and can give you a few recommendations for your use case.
  2. Watch out for oversellingSome hosts sell more hosting capacity than they actually have. This can lead to overload and the problems mentioned above. Do your research and read reviews before making a decision. For example, take a look at the evaluation of our partner "IP-Projects" on a hosting tester.
  3. Consider upgradesIf your online business is growing, you should consider upgrading to a VPS (Virtual Private Server) or even dedicated servers. This would be the "home" for your website. Dedicated servers have no neighbours and offer more control, as you have complete control over the resources. Here too, we have a suitable solution for you in our portfolio.
  4. Regular backups: I think I write this obvious piece of advice in almost every blog post. And yet it is so often simply ignored. It's simply tragic when a website that has taken years to build up becomes a total economic loss in a millisecond due to a hacking attack, simply because there were no backups. Unfortunately, we've had a lot of these calls.
    Please make sure that you back up your website regularly! Should problems occur, you can quickly restore your site (but also check that you can restore the backups if in doubt. We will also take care of this for you)

Conclusion: Cheap hosts can become expensive due to bad neighbours

Shared hosting is initially tempting for many website operators who want to get started quickly. It only takes a few steps to set up, but as with everything, the devil is in the detail. "Bad neighbours" love the offers of low-cost hosters because they can operate relatively anonymously and for a long time until someone intervenes and then they quickly move on to the next offer. With these services, you never know who is moving onto the server with you. You will notice the effects of bad hosting neighbours through poor visitor numbers, devaluations from Google and, with a lot of luck, complaints from your visitors.

If you want your website to benefit your business, we always recommend premium hosting with a controlled customer selection per server and monitoring of the activities there. You simply can't get that for "one fifty per month". By acting with foresight and choosing your hosting provider carefully, you can avoid many problems in advance. And who knows? Maybe you'll find a provider that suits you so well that you'll feel like you're living in a quiet, peaceful apartment block - with nice neighbours.

Ready for counselling? Write to us or give us a call, we will be happy to advise you on a suitable hosting solution.