Shared hosting is a popular choice when it comes to hosting websites. This article examines everything you need to know to determine if shared hosting is right for you.
We’ll take a look at what exactly shared hosting is, how it works, its advantages and disadvantages, and check out some shared hosting providers.
This article isn’t meant to persuade you to switch to shared hosting; however, it will offer you insight about it that you can use to make a logical decision when it comes to hosting. That way, you can know all the benefits, limitations, costs, and more, so you’ll have a clear-headed idea of if shared hosting is right for you.
We’ll be going over:
And with that, let’s kick things off with…
What is Shared Hosting
Shared hosting is website hosting that divides webserver resources between multiple domains that share a physical web server and its resources among the hosted websites. It can also be referred to as virtual shared hosting.
Users can host a website with other domains and share the server resources, which comes with a lower cost and the exact address IP as other domains from other users.
They (users) get a section of a server shared with hundreds of users. Everyone using the shared hosting has access to features, such as disk space, FTP accounts, monthly traffic, and additional add-ons offered by the host.
The system resources are shared on-demand by users that are on the server.
Who Should Use Shared Hosting?
Shared hosting is best for small websites, blogs, and low-traffic websites that do not require advanced configurations or high bandwidth. It’s also good for websites that do not need a great degree of reliability and can manage with some downtime as a result of things happening on the server (we’ll be going over that later).
Packages for shared hosting are typically minimum for features and support, but a lot of time, users can upgrade for additional costs.
Often, shared hosting is all that is required for small websites. However, if a website grows and starts developing more traffic, an upgrade to managed or dedicated server hosting is often needed.
As we touched on, shared hosting can work perfectly for budget-conscious new site owners and anyone with small, low-traffic sites due to all the benefits (that we’ll be discussing in detail later in this article).
How Does it Work?
We also mentioned this earlier, but shared hosting is where a single server hosts numerous sites. As for multiple locations, that can range from several hundred to thousands. It depends on the available hard drive space, processing speed, and RAM.
The hosting is provided by a machine the same as a dedicated server; however, numerous clients implement its resources.
Separate portions of the server contain the user account’s files and applications. Each has its file directory tree, and users don’t have access to either the root or other files.
As you’ll see, there are many…
Shared Hosting Benefits/Advantages
You’ve probably already compiled some thoughts and ideas on why shared hosting may be beneficial. That being said, there are a lot of advantages to taking a look at in further detail.
So, let’s check them out.
A significant reason to use shared hosting is that it’s very affordable. It’s the most cost-effective solution since many people contribute to the server’s costs, and the hosting company’s costs are distributed amongst them.
You can get a site hosted for as cheap as a couple of dollars per month, depending on your hosting provider and terms.
If you have a new or small website, you can start with shared hosting and upgrade without major obstacles as your site grows.
3. No Bandwidth Limitations
Whatever web hosting provider you have, they typically will provide you unlimited bandwidth for your website per month. However, be sure not to overload the server, or your account can be suspended.
There are also situations where if you use a lot of bandwidth and it affects the other domains, your hosting provider may indicate to you that you have to upgrade your account. However, it’s pretty uncommon.
4. Easy to Self-Manage without Technical Expertise
It’s straightforward to set up shared hosting. There are a lot of providers that offer a control panel for website management. Unlike VPS or dedicated servers, it’s simple to add FTP users, compress folders, change passwords, and more.
There are no expensive tools or complicated configurations to figure out.
5. Host Multiple Domains
For the option of hosting multiple domains, shared hosting has you covered. Most web hosts allow hosting multiple websites. That being said, there can be limitations, such as just allowing several domains per account. But, some may not have any restrictions unless your account gets tons of traffic.
6. Professionally Managed
When it comes to low maintenance, shared hosting fits the bill. Your hosting provider takes care of your server by ensuring basic server administrative tasks are functioning correctly. You should expect to have professional technical support for everything, including DDoS attacks, network outages, maintenance, and more.
7. Ability to Host Dynamic Websites
When you have a website that looks different according to who is browsing (e.g. Facebook), that is known as dynamic. CMSs and dynamic sites use programming languages (e.g. PHP), which can all be run on a shared server.
8. Built-in cPanel
Thanks to cPanel, you’re able to manage your web hosting tasks. With shared hosting, a built-in cPanel can ease control, simplifying setting up emails, databases, addon domains, and more.
9. Easy Email Hosting and Setup
It’s vital to have an email associated with your domain these days. With shared hosting, having a cPanel on an affordable hosting plan allows you to add email addresses easily. Plus, you can forward emails to other services (e.g. Gmail). Many shared hosting services offer unlimited emails accounts.
Shared Hosting Disadvantages
Like anything, there are advantages – and disadvantages. That goes for shared hosting, too.
Here’s a look at some less desirable parts of shared hosting.
1. Security Issues
Unfortunately, shared hosting can be the most vulnerable type of hosting due to the fact hackers can use one domain to access the whole server – along with all of the other sites hosted on it.
Web hosts want the maximum number of domains hosted on a single server and often overlook security measures.
However, some web hosts mention that they implement domain isolation to prevent other domains from being affected if a particular site is hacked. And a lot of shared hosting companies step up their security more than others.
One of the major issues of shared hosting is speed. It’s due to many users sharing the server resources, RAM, and CPU – which can slow things down. Plus, if there’s a popular website on the server, it will affect all of the other sites due to the server resources and singular IP address.
This will vary with web hosts but be prepared for a slower site. However, this may not be a huge factor if you don’t get a lot of visitors or have a personal website where you don’t care much about speed.
3. Server Crashes
A common issue with shared hosting is server crashes. This occurs when sites use excessive CPU and RAM.
The more significant point is that hosting companies often aren’t quick to resolve the issue. It’s a common occurrence for them and not a high priority.
Of course, some good hosting providers do fix the problem and even ban a website that uses all the server resources. If a hosting provider has reviews or good customer support for issues like this, it maybe is worth using them compared with a hosting provider that doesn’t resolve the issue quickly.
4. Fixing Problems Can Take Longer
This corresponds with server crashes because, as mentioned above, problems sometimes aren’t quick to be determined, making it frustrating for anyone that cares about uptime.
Things can take a while to settle, even if a hosting company has the staff to fix downtime or any issues.
Again, be sure to look at reviews for the hosting company and determine for yourself if the company is good at fixing problems promptly. (And, the hosting companies we will be mentioning in this article all have good support, so keep that in mind.)
When Not to Use Shared Hosting
As discussed, shared hosting uses a common server amongst many websites. The result is that shared hosting is set up to let popular frameworks (e.g. WordPress) run flawlessly with basic configurations.
So, if you want to use a custom site framework that’s not currently installed on the server, or are looking to optimize server resources for specific website tasks, shared hosting might not be suitable for you. You’d be better off with dedicated or VPS hosting since they’ll allow for more customization.
If you need root access to install software or configure, it’s probably best not to use shared hosting since you’re very limited beyond anything basic.
Shared Hosting Providers
Now that you know all about the benefits, disadvantages, and how shared hosting works, you may decide it’s right for you. Here are some recommendations for shared hosting providers.
These companies come with a solid reputation, support and are well established. There are links to each plan, so please refer to those for more information and pricing.
Also, please note that we have no relationship with these companies beyond thinking they offer a solid product. We do not — and will not — post affiliate links here at WPMU DEV (which makes us kinda unique!).
If you’d like to share an opinion or ask a question about either our view on shared hosting or these providers, please do so in the comments at the end of the article.
HostGator is a popular and well-known shared hosting company.
Along with shared hosting, it offers WordPress, VPS, and dedicated hosting – which is great if your site becomes too big. Additionally, there are Linux-based shared hosting packages.
Its shared hosting has month-to-month plans and also has longer terms available. Their rich shared hosting packages include unlimited storage, monthly databases with plenty of growth opportunities, and email.
A big benefit of hosting with HostGator is their 24/7 customer support and reliability. If issues arise, they’re quick to fix the problem.
HostGator is a top-notch option for shared hosting, with a solid reputation for quality and reliable service at affordable prices. It’s highly recommended for shared hosting by numerous reviews and websites.
GoDaddy is one of the cheapest options when it comes to shared hosting. It has a decent range of Linux-based shared web servers, plus it will include a free domain name if you sign up for a commitment that surpasses 12 months.
Also, you can always upgrade to VPS or dedicated hosting, if your site starts to surpass what’s passable with shared hosting.
GoDaddy includes great uptime (rarely goes down), useful website-building tools, and options for servers. Plus, their 24/7 support is beneficial if anything goes wrong.
They also have a solid reputation and has been in business for a while. It’s a good option for starting with shared hosting with upgrading in the future.
Domain.com is known more for their domains. They have shared hosting as well for an affordable price. Their various plans are determined by how many sites you have and all feature unlimited storage.
They include some free perks, such as an SSL Certificate, and a free domain. Along with that, they have 24/7 network monitoring and DDoS protection.
Their customer-friendly control panel makes it easy to use. And if you ever have questions or issues, you can always contact their support.
Hostinger offers some low-cost plans, 24/7 customer service, and their uptime is fantastic. They have three Linux-powered shared web hosting plans, with low cost – but a high commitment for those low costs (one-year to four-year).
They also have WordPress, VPS, and Linux Servers hosting, so you can always upgrade if needed.
A few cons are the lack of dedicated hosting, and not every plan has a Windows option. Plus, though there is 24/7 support, that doesn’t include phone support, which might inconvenience some users.
All this being said, Hostinger has a solid reputation for shared hosting. It can be extremely affordable, just be prepared to make a commitment.
DreamHost is another great option when it comes to affordable shared hosting. It’s geared more towards beginners, considering the tools that make it extremely easy to get up-and-running, support, and a one-click installation feature.
They have two shared hosting plans (Shared Starter and Shared Unlimited). They feature unlimited monthly data transfers and storage. That being said, you’ll need to upgrade to Shared Unlimited for email.
As mentioned, it’s easy to use DreamHost with their domain-management tools. The custom control panel gives you admin access to all of your Dreamhost products. From there, it’s easy to update domain information, adjust settings, add users, and more.
Plus, they have a 100% uptime guarantee. They have multiple data centers, redundant cooling, emergency generators, and are monitoring things constantly to ensure everything is running smoothly.
Bluehost is another company that includes a very easy-to-use website builder. It also features resource protection, so your website’s performance stays protected and unaffected even with other sites on the shared server.
As one of PC Ediotrs’ Choice for Hosting, they mention, “The ever-evolving Bluehost is a dependable web host that makes site creation a breeze, especially for WordPress hosting.” That being said, it’s worth trying out Bluehost for shared hosting – especially if you’re using WordPress.
A2 Hosting stands out for its various packages, uptime performance, and great customer service.
It has four tiers of Linux-based shared web hosting. The price varies by storage, emails, and domains.
Each of their servers is optimized for speed and they limit how many clients can operate on each server. They mention that they have 20-times faster page load times than most competitors.
They have a team of experts to help with any account migration, tote a 99.9 uptime commitment, and 24/7 support.
Inmotion has a reputation for excellent uptime, ease of use, and flexibility. It also offers many hosting types, so if you ever need to upgrade out of shared hosting, you can.
It has four Linux-based shared hosting plans ranging from 10GB of SSD storage up to 200GB. The plans are determined by websites, email accounts, and data transfers. They all include free SSL and a free domain.
They have a good reputation for uptime and have 24/7 technical support. Plus, it comes with an easy-to-manage cPanel, which any beginner can appreciate.
iPage is a shared hosting service with extremely affordable pricing plans that vary by term. They power over one million websites and have been in business since 1998.
Some of their benefits include unlimited email addresses, unlimited domains, and 24/7 support. They also include free SSL certificates, a free domain for a year, and a free website builder.
You can also upgrade to VPS and dedicated server hosting if your website becomes too big for shared hosting.
Hosting Shouldn’t Be Spared When Shared
As you can see, there are many benefits to shared hosting. It boils down to that it’s best for beginners, smaller websites, and if you’re on a budget.
You shouldn’t spare your hosting quality if using shared hosting. Use a suitable shared hosting company (like the ones we mentioned), and you should expect quality – even if there may be some occasional hiccups (e.g. downtime). Plus, use a company that makes it easy to upgrade, for when your website grows.
You’re welcome to use this article to reference shared hosting on your website. Or, ahem, with all of this talk about sharing – feel free to share it.