Shared Web Hosting: What You Need to Know

So, you’ve decided to set up a website? Congrats! Now, the first thing you have to do is choose your hosting provider and method. When it comes to new sites, shared hosting is a very popular option, although by far not the only one.

Are you building a blog, a portfolio or an online store? Will it be a huge site or do you expect it to grow gradually during a certain period of time? Read our guide to shared hosting to see if it’s the right option for you. 

What Is Shared Hosting?

Shared hosting essentially means that a specific hosting server powers multiple websites. Just like an apartment building with multiple tenants; the hosting company literally splits the space on its drives into shares and allocates these between various clients. The resources are distributed as required between each of the clients on the server.

Every website on a specific server shares the space and resources, and therefore the cost. So, just as when renting an apartment or an office in a complex, you share the overall building costs with other people and that saves you money.

Watch this video by hosting provider InMotion as a short intro to different types of hosting services available today:

Pros of a Shared Hosting Plan

There are plenty of benefits to using a shared hosting plan, the top 3 however are the following:

  • Saves Money: As we’ve already mentioned, shared hosting is cheaper for everyone, since multiple users are paying to use the same server.
  • Technically Managed: Most shared hosting plans are fully managed or at the very least come with that option. This means you don’t have to worry about anything other than managing the front end: sales, site content, etc.
  • Saves Time: Maintaining a website when you’re not sure of the technical side of things can be a full time job in itself. So, by opting for a shared hosting solution from your provider you won’t just be saving money, but saving time as well.

Cons of a Shared Hosting Plan

As with any service or product, there are a couple of possible pitfalls:

  • Growing charges: If your site becomes too big for the server, you may incur charges before it becomes apparent that you need to upgrade to a VPS (virtual private server) or a dedicated server.
  • Speed: As your site grows, increasing traffic can slow it down. In an alternative scenario, if someone else is using too much of the shared resources on the server, the speed of your site may also be affected.
  • Less Control: Shared hosting doesn’t allow you to customize your server on your own. You just don’t have the access. This is the other side of the coin when it comes to fully managed hosting. For those who want to have a bit more control over how their site operates, shared hosting might not be the best solution.

Bottom Line:

If you’re planning on a big site with high traffic and lots of media, you’ll find a VPS or even a dedicated server will fit your needs much better. You’ll be able to make your own changes without worrying about the growing traffic and used resources and without having to wait for your provider’s schedule to accommodate you. You might also find our article on choosing the right type of server interesting.

Overall however, shared hosting providers do present a clear advantage for smaller sites. You have plenty of options within an affordable price bracket and many customers will agree that shared hosting is a great option. It’s ideal for small business or for individuals with sites for blogs, portfolios or just for enjoyment. With shared hosting you’ll be able focus on the site’s content rather than the server management.

Are you about to create your own site? Check out our feature-comparison of hosting companies with site-builders.


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