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Why Traditional Email Hosting via a Shared Hosting Platform is a BAD Idea


Reading Time: 5 minutes
Why Traditional Email Hosting via a Shared Hosting Platform is a BAD Idea
6 Dec, 2022
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Many businesses in South Africa choose a shared web hosting platform/package for their website. Popular local providers include Afrihost, Xneelo, Domains, Mweb, or 1-Grid.

Many shared packages by such providers include traditional email hosting at no extra cost. It’s an easy way to get started with a professional-looking business email (especially compared to a free gmail.com / yahoo.com mailbox).

But whilst a shared hosting package is a good idea for websites, it’s often a BAD idea to use that shared hosting platform for also running your business email infrastructure.

In this article, we cover why.

What is Traditional Email Hosting Using a Shared Hosting Platform?

A shared hosting platform means that server storage space and computing resources are shared among multiple users on the same physical server.  Users are the different customers of the hosting company, and can amount to hundreds or even thousands of different businesses sharing the same server alongside your business. 

Traditional email is often run on these shared hosting platforms. Providers typically use cPanel, Plesk, or Konsole H technology. 

Because email is far more required for daily operations and more confidential than a website, shared hosting has a number of disadvantages that place it in a category of risk to business continuity and cybersecurity. We cover these below.

6 Reasons Why Traditional Email Hosting via a Shared Hosting Platform is a BAD Idea

Website Downtime Can Equal Email Downtime (And Vice Versa)

Traditional shared email is inextricably linked to your website. 

This means if something goes wrong with your website, then your company email also can be affected. And vice versa. 

For example, a server crash, CDN, or DNS error can very well disable both your website and email simultaneously. And thus, a major downtime scenario depending on the nature of your business. Errors like these can take anywhere from minutes to days to fix.

In contrast, dedicated email hosting provides a fundamental distinction between email and website. The servers and technology running them are completely separate. Hence, downtime is isolated to either email or website – and not the case of one causing the other.

Related:

Backup or Business Continuity? Realising Modern Data Protection

Backup or Business Continuity? Realising Modern Data Protection

If Another Company Gets Hacked, You Can Also Be Compromised

As explained above, servers are shared between multiple companies on shared hosting platforms. 

This is a cybersecurity risk for your business email because the risk of a virus or data breach increases significantly.

Why?

If a careless employee at another company opens a ransomware attachment and gets infected, that virus could spread to your business via the shared server (much like a thief entering your office by jumping through the neighbours adjoining broken window). Case in point:

Anonymous Nailed 3,392 Websites on Webafrica – This is How They Got In

The simple solution is a dedicated email solution. Your business does not share servers, thus isolating your business email from the compromised cybersecurity of others.

Proactive Protection is Severely Lacking 

Although much can be done to proactively protect websites, the same can’t be said for traditional emails on most shared platforms. Modern security options (2FA, password policies, location-based authentication, spam detection, etc.) are simply not supported with most traditional email platforms.

Dedicated email providers like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon are practically at the global cutting edge of email cybersecurity. Such level of expertise is obviously not expected from local hosting companies.

Related:

6 Simple Security Tips for Your WordPress Website

Limited Business and Productivity Features

Email on shared hosting is basically just that…email. 

Tools like synchronised contacts, synchronised email signatures, contact groups, shared calendars, reminders, large file transfers, email @ mentions, and supported third-party integrations, etc. are overwhelmingly missing from hosted mail options on cPanel, Plesk, and Konsole H.

On the other hand, many of these features are basic offerings on Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft 365, and Google Workspace (and even free personal mailboxes like Gmail and iCloud). All valid features for modern business communication, especially in our age of remote work. 

Harder to Scale with Business Needs

Email usage is naturally expected to grow alongside your business. More employees generally equal more email addresses, and more emails sent and received daily. 

The problem with shared hosting packages is that the primary affordance is for websites and not email. Not only do some providers limit the amount of email storage, but even the number of email accounts are few. 

For example, 5 GB of server storage on shared hosting is ample for a 10-page business website but will constrain employee mailboxes companywide. If your business is on a 5 GB shared hosting package and expand to 25 employees, that’s a mere 200 MB (0.2 GB) of email allowed per employee! The stuff of 2006!

Shared platforms will require regularly upgrading to the next web hosting package for server storage and bandwidth capacity to handle the uptick in email usage. If not upgrading regularly, employees will need to delete emails to save space, and email services will slow to a crawl. Compare that to Microsoft Exchange Online, for example, where the entry-level package is a 50 GB mailbox per user. In short, dedicated email platforms are built for email storage, email bandwidth, and built to scale.

Risk of Being Email Blacklisted

Ever had your emails land in the junk folder of the recipient, say an important customer? Or have your company emails bounced outright because the recipient’s server thinks it’s spam?

It’s obviously not good for business. 

Problems like these are far more likely with traditional shared email hosting. 

Just as the server is shared between companies, so too is the IP address. If one user engages in malicious behaviour (e.g.: a hacker sending out thousands of ransomware emails daily), it places everyone else on the server at risk of being blacklisted. Legitimate businesses like yours can be added to multiple ISP blacklists overnight; Emails your business sends out won’t reach the recipient’s inbox.

Whilst this is not impossible on alternatives like Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace, it’s extremely less likely because of advanced threat detection systems. But if it does happen, your business has greater recourse. Google Workspace, for instance, proactively requests blacklist services to remove blocked IP addresses.

What Are The Alternatives to Traditional Shared Email Hosting?

On-premise and dedicated email hosting platforms are two modern solutions available today. Such platforms are built expressly for business email with business continuity and cybersecurity at the forefront.

Options include Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft Exchange On-Premise, Microsoft 365, Google Workspace, Amazon WorkMail, OpenOffice, LibreOffice, and more. 

Request a FREE Consultation for Your Small Business

 

Ready to move away from the harms of traditional shared email hosting?

Take the next step with iSite Computers. Established in 2008, we serve small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in South Africa with email and IT services. 

Book your free email consultation today – or contact us directly.

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