What is shared hosting?

Shared hosting - is a hosting plan type which refers to multiple websites from different owners being hosted in the same virtual space. In the world of hosting, shared hosting is typically regarded as the cheapest hosting option available since resources from a single server are being utilized by multiple websites at the same time.

However, this doesn’t mean that is a bad choice for private or business website owners. On the contrary, it could be a wonderful way to provide the necessary virtual space for a website that doesn’t need much resources to start out with.

In this article, we will dive deeper in what shared hosting is and what advantages it can provide for owners, looking to host their websites.

More about shared hosting itself

Like we said in the introduction, shared hosting is a type of hosting that provides a „digital home“ for multiple websites, sometimes from completely different owners. Most of them, you’ll probably won’t even know who your neighbors are and how many of them are on the same server.

A hosting provider will typically provide a certain threshold for how many resources a single website has access to in this case, depending on the package that they’ve chosen.

As noted before, shared hosting is the most popular among those looking for the cheapest possible hosting type for their needs, and in fact it can be a really viable option for many, especially for those that don’t need much from their hosting provider. 

Of course, this doesn’t mean that shared hosting doesn’t have it’s limitations. Below we will talk about the advantages and disadvantages of shared hosting. The best advice from us would be to find a provider that can be a reliable option and provide you with the most for your hosting plan.

Advantages and disadvantages of shared hosting

Positives of shared hosting

  • The cheapest hosting option available - shared hosting is typically the cheapest plan that providers offer. The price can range from just $0.99 to around $9.99 depending on what features a provider is willing to give to its clients.
  • A great option to begin with - most hosting providers will allow easy scalability as your website grows. Eventually you’ll need more resources and an overall better plan, but shared hosting can be a great place to start your journey in the digital space.
  • Simple management - it’s pretty standard that providers have simplified website management as much as possible for their clients and one way to do so is to install a platform like cPanel for example, which many do.
  • Servers are taken care of - this option is also ideal for people that aren’t that tech-savvy or simply don’t want to bother with taking care of their servers, since providers take care of that.

So, as you can see, shared hosting can be an ideal option for those looking to start out on hosting their website, requiring only a small budget and minimal maintenance. Most providers also allow easy scalability, so you shouldn’t worry about the fact that you’ll need to eventually upgrade.

Limitations of Shared Hosting

While shared hosting is a really good option for starters as it is affordable, simply managed and can provide great uptime, it's also not without its shortcomings.

  • Slower load times - more expensive options like VPS hosting can provide better speeds for a website. This is especially true when compared to dedicated servers. In the latter case the entire server is dedicated to your website, so this option is suitable even for very large websites.
  • Websites can be affected by others - it’s not uncommon that a website that shares its space with others  can be affected by them. Let’s say another website has a dramatic increase in traffic and starts using all of its resources. As a result, your own one can slow down as well, which is not ideal.
  • Drop in performance - as you start to grow, you may notice that your website starts becoming more laggy, resulting in frustrated visitors or customers leaving your website entirely to go buy somewhere. This can be a disaster for sales, so you’ll need to scale up immediately with your plan.
  • Unknown neighbors - like we said before, you’ll be sharing space with others here. Those other websites could be badly managed, unsafe, badly optimized and so on. This leaves your website dependent on others as well.
  • Lack of customization - while shared hosting is simple enough for anyone to manage, you won’t be able to optimize your website as well as the server to its maximum potential. In this case, more expensive options are the way to.

Regardless, this is still the best option for those who don’t need much with their web hosting plan, which means that the positives will outweigh the negatives. However, it’s still important to monitor your website as it grows so as to not suffer from a drop in performance.

What could be an alternative to shared hosting?

In terms of direct alternatives, shared hosting is unchallenged when it comes to simplicity and getting the best value for your buck. However, for those that need much more from their providers, a more powerful plan will be necessary.

If you are a business that’s already well-established, and simply want to migrate your site to another provider, a good option could be purchasing a VPS server or going with WordPress specific hosting. While these will be more expensive, there’s far more customizability.

All in all

Shared hosting is the best choice for those that are looking for simplicity with their hosting plan which is why it remains the most popular option out there. After a website grows it will be able to easily upgrade to a more hefty plan.

Written with the help of hostens.com - a reliable, cheap and safe provider for websites.

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