5 Different Ways to Use Your Web Hosting Space

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So you’ve just purchased a web hosting plan, and have set up your website. Great! But did you know that you can do a lot more with your service than just host websites? You probably haven’t thought of it before, simply because you purchased your plan with a single goal in mind. But a piece of a server on the Internet is a powerful resource. If you have some spare CPU and disk space left over, here are a few different ways you can use your webhosting space.

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Why “Full-Fledged” Hosting Plans?

There are some web hosts that offer ridiculously low prices on hosting – we’re talking sub $1/m pricing. This is only possible if they cut a massive number of corners. For example, I’d done an earlier comparison between SiteGround and Hostinger, and we saw that the latter doesn’t include MySQL databases in its cheapest hosting plan! Similarly, GoDaddy doesn’t allow SSL certificates.

These are not real “hosting plans”. They are gimmicks, meant to draw you in as a customer, and then tempt you to upgrade when you don’t get what you need. That’s why I only point you to non-gimmicky hosting.

Now, onto the many uses of webhosting space!

1. Parking Domains

For many people, their first website is the start of a lifelong process of accumulating domains and either monetizing or selling them. Domains can be had very cheaply, and if you’re looped into the pulse of your industry, you could make quite a decent income on bidding on domains that will become valuable later on.

If you purchase domains on another registrar, you can “park” them on your existing hosting space. You can do one of the following:

  1. Redirect them to your existing domain
  2. Display advertisements to monetize them
  3. Place an “Under Construction” banner
  4. Invite people to contact you with an offer to purchase the domain

Many hosting plans explicitly allow you to park unlimited domains. Check the details before you buy!

2. Use it for Cloud Storage

Quite a few individuals are uncomfortable handing over their data to a 3rd party. Yet cloud storage is so useful, it’s hard to imagine anyone going without it these days. Disk space is the cheapest and most abundant of all web hosting resources. So if you have the spare space, you can use your existing web hosting service for cloud storage. Most websites consume far less disk space than available anyway.

You probably have access to app installation via plugins like Softaculous in your hosting panel. From there, you can install apps like “ownCloud” or “Nextcloud” to create your very own online file storage system, either for personal use, or for sharing with others.

3. Create your Own Forum for Sharing

With your web hosting space, you can create a community forum for the things that interest you. It could be for a shared interest, or a community event. Even your business can have a side forum under the same domain name for customer service, and for building a community.

If you have a service where you deal with customer inquiries all the time, your community becomes a valuable resource where people can contribute and share their experiences. Not only is this great for customers, but search engines love it too!

4. Use it as a Mailing Server

When you have your own web hosting space, it can also double up as an e-mail address, along with storage. In fact, most web providers give you free functionality where you can use your domain name as the suffix in your e-mail.

Web hosts will differ in the number of e-mails they provide, and the disk space available for this, so check with them before you get started. You can then integrate your e-mail with local desktop clients, and even cloud-based ones like Gmail if you want!

5. Create a Wiki for your Subject Knowledge

If you have a complicated product with a lot of documentation, why not create a wiki-like knowledge base for customers to easily search through? There are in-built web apps that you can install which give you the tools for building a wiki, like easy interlinking, and formatting.

This kind of offering gives depth to your product and intensifies your web presence as an authority in the subject matter. It’s a great investment for your time!

Bottom Line

A web hosting plan is a blank slate for you to write on. You can of course, simply stick to hosting your website, but you can also do so much more! Hopefully, the above suggestions will help you get your creative juices flowing and inspire you to squeeze more out of it than you’ve been doing this far!

About Bhagwad Park

I've been writing about web hosting and WordPress tutorials since 2008. I also create tutorials on Linux server administration, and have a ton of experience with web hosting products. Contact me via e-mail!

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