Shared hosting is a type of web hosting that allows for many websites to be hosted on the same server. Resources like disk space, CPU, and memory are shared, and the web host's costs can be kept low – meaning shared hosting is the cheapest type of web hosting you can get.
When you need to establish an online presence for your organization, business, or personal life there are many options available when hosting a website.
One of the most popular and cost-effective is to use a shared hosting provider, which may be best described by comparing it against other common forms of web server hosting.
How does shared web hosting works?
Most people who are running a business site or personal blog do not have the financial resources to invest in a dedicated hosting account, but this does not mean that they are cut off from the web. Shared hosting is a more popular solution for everyone who does not have an unlimited budget.
Shared hosting is also more practical for novice website owners because it is very easy to use, which means that they will spend less time learning how to use the service and more time actually creating content for their site.
A shared hosting account may be appropriate for the vast majority of people who own a business or are looking to establish a home page.
Difference between hosting and shared hosting
When both options are available, here are some of the differences between hosting and shared hosting
- Shared Hosting has more availability for older versions of PHP (up to 5.4) compared to Hosting which only supports PHP up to 7.0 (latest)
- Shared Hosting has limited availability for SSL certificates (HTTPS)
- Shared hosting is charged by the amount of bandwidth whereas hosting is charged by the number of websites
- Hosting has fewer restrictions on what you can do with the server compared to shared hosting which has limitations on some plugins and server-side software
- So it really depends on what you need. If you are looking for a low-cost option, shared hosting is available at about $2/month whereas most hosting companies charge around $4 or more per month
- This article covers the best cheap web hosting companies in 2022
Benefits of shared hosting
There are many benefits to shared hosting. These include reduced costs, increased security, and being able to take advantage of the website-building tools given by your hosting company.
Shared hosting is perfect for those who have minimal needs for a website as well as those who do not have the technical knowledge needed to manage their own server or host multiple sites on one server.
Shared hosting works by sharing resources between different users on one server. A single server is able to provide many websites with a web space so they can be accessed by the public, along with room for databases and email accounts.
With shared servers, it is always possible that your website will suffer from lag times or downtime due to too many users trying to access the same resources. This is why shared hosting providers often limit the number of resources each website can use.
What are some other types of hosting?
Other kinds of web hosting include managed, semi-managed, and dedicated servers. A managed server will have a hosting company manage your server for you while you retain ownership.
A semi-managed server will give you full control over your hosting so you can install or uninstall applications without having to pay someone else to do it for you.
With a dedicated server, you are the only user of the server and thus have complete control over what is stored on it. This type of hosting also provides the most resources, though it is the most expensive.
What is dedicated hosting?
Dedicated hosting is a type of web hosting in which the client leases an entire server not shared with anyone else.
Costs can be lower when compared to a dedicated server though this will depend on the level of usage and additional features required by the client.
It is possible to host just one website using a shared hosting package, however, it will have limited features.
For example, you are only given a subdomain rather than the main domain, have limited FTP access and none of the advanced server-side scriptings is available.
What is managed hosting?
Managed hosting, sometimes referred to as cloud hosting, offers scalable resources that can be automatically added (and removed) based on your changing needs.
Managed WordPress hosting (like Cloudways, Kinsta, and WP Engine) accounts for over 33 percent of the current web-hosting market and it's no wonder considering how this service takes care of WordPress configuration, server updates, plugin installations, security patches, and backups.
How do I choose web hosting companies?
The best way to find a reputable shared hosting company is by doing a good research on them before you ever sign up.
Look for customer reviews on review sites, forums, and other places on the web. With all of the options available, it is becoming increasingly difficult to determine which companies are reputable.
As with many things in life, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Whether it's dedicated or VPS hosting, it offers plenty of features within the package.
Problems with shared hosting companies
There are 5 of the most common problems with shared hosting companies are:
Inability to handle traffic spikes – this can be a problem if you suddenly get a lot of visitors to your site and your company does not have enough resources to handle all of that traffic.
Long load times or downtime – every website owner wants to have a fast-loading site with no downtime. In shared hosting, poor uptime is pretty much expected, however slow load times are not acceptable.
An overloaded server – your website's files and database can get bogged down when too many people are using the same server resources.
A lack of security features – if a web host does not invest in keeping their servers free of malware and keeping them updated with the latest security patches, then they are not providing you with a safe place to host your site.
Tips to choose a shared hosting company
5 Tips for choosing shared hosting companies:
- look on review sites to see what other customers have experienced. If you find complaints, consider whether this is a company that you want to do business with. Choose the best web hosting company for a better experience
- do not pay for too long of a term – many shared hosting companies lock you into a long contract, but after that period is over, your rates will rise astronomically. If you want to be able to leave when another company offers better pricing or services, then choose a shorter term.
- ask about the company's data center location – is it in the US? What about Europe? South America? Offering your visitors a closer server means faster load times for them.
- do not depend solely on the shared hosting company to handle tech support issues for you. You should get tech support from someone who really knows how to keep your site up and running.
- consider choosing a web host that is also an affiliate of other hosting companies, so that you can switch to another company if their service falls below your expectations. Research the relationship between the hosting companies to find out whether there are any issues with lack of support or promptness in helping customers when problems arise.
Is shared hosting bad?
No, it's not. Shared hosting is just what it says: a server that hosts multiple websites on one machine. This means that instead of getting your own dedicated server or virtual private server, you share space with other users.
Most shared hosts like Bluehost and HostGator are priced reasonably and designed to handle traffic spikes well so they can handle a standard website.
While they may not be able to handle a high-traffic site, if you're just starting out and your website doesn't get a lot of traffic, you'll have no problem using shared hosting.
In addition, most shared servers offer tools including statistics packages so that their customers can monitor performance.
They also often offer add-on features, such as shopping carts and blogging software, to make the server even more useful.
What are the basic requirements to host a website?
There are quite a few things that need to be in place in order for you to successfully host a website. You'll need the following
- server space- This is where your files will be stored, and you can do whatever you want with them. Some hosting providers offer free space to use, but very often you'll have to buy your own. Once you purchase it, however, you are given an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) account to upload files onto the server.
- FTP- This is how you get to your files on the server. It's an address that looks something like this – ftp://myaddress.com/
- Database- This is where your website's information will be stored and accessed from. Some hosting providers offer their own databases, which usually cost extra to use, but there are also free ones you can use as well if you would like. Domain name- This is the domain you purchased with your hosting account
- web hosting management panel- This allows you to manage all of the above. You'll need this to upload things onto your website, access your database, and manage your files on the server
- reverse proxy – A reverse proxy is a program that acts as an intermediary between search engines and your website. It is now required by Google, so you will need this if you want your website to be indexed properly
- extra features- Some hosting providers offer additional features that are not required but can prove helpful. Examples of these include online backups, shopping carts, etc
Advantages of shared hosting
There are many advantages to shared hosting, most of which revolve around the ability to maintain control over your website without needing technical knowledge.
Hosts that use shared systems will configure them specifically for you and your site, allowing you to access a cPanel or similar interface containing all of the tools necessary to manage your site.
These typically include an FTP client for uploading and downloading files, MySQL database tools, and a file manager. Some hosts also provide pre-configured e-mail addresses with your domain name to help you set up an offsite mailbox.
Shared hosting is an economical way to host a website. The downside, you are sharing resources with all the other people on the same server. You can outgrow shared hosting quickly if your site takes up too much memory or bandwidth usage.
In addition, shared hosting is a great way to get started. The big downside, you are sharing resources with all the other people on the same server. You can out-grow shared hosting quickly if your site takes up too much memory or bandwidth usage.
You will want to upgrade when either of these factors becomes an issue: – Memory Usage becomes an issue: Even if you don't use much memory, your website might use a lot of the server's resources.
If this starts happening and your site is using lots of bandwidth, it could trigger an auto-shutdown – Bandwidth Usage becomes an issue:
If you are hosted on a shared hosting plan like SiteGround or Bluehost, it is possible that another user on the server will start a resource-intensive process that can cause your site to slow down, or even trigger an auto-shutdown.