What Is Shared Hosting and How Does It Work?

Julia

· ·Shared Hosting

What Is Shared Hosting and How Does It Work?

Anyone that’s looking to launch a website, start a new business, run a blog, or simply promote their hobby has no doubt heard of shared hosting. Deciding where, and how, you’re going to host your website is a critical early decision for any newbies just getting started. Luckily, we’re on hand to explain what shared hosting is and if it’s right for you.

What Is Shared Hosting?

Shared hosting involves buying up server space with a third-party data host. You’ll be renting space in a data center to store the information that sits behind your website and occupying the server with multiple other businesses. It’s the easiest, and fastest, way for new businesses to get up and running online.

What Is Shared Hosting?

How Does Shared Hosting Work?


The economies of scale provided by pooling resources like this make it by far the cheapest way to set up a new website. You’ll be sharing bandwidth with your new neighbors and there could be dozens, sometimes hundreds, of other sites on the server with you.

You don’t need to worry about maintenance or technical issues as these are all taken care of by your host. Plus, you don’t need to be a web development whizz kid either because most platforms offer user-friendly website-building tools to get you started.

Who Is Shared Hosting for?


Shared Hosting Is Good For

The most popular users of shared hosting are brand new small businesses. Many are on tight budgets and are attracted to the incredibly low start-up costs offered by shared hosting. Others benefit from the speed at which they can get a website operational, giving entrepreneurs more time to focus on selling and making money.

In addition, shared hosting is great for bloggers, hobbyists and anyone else that doesn’t need huge data limits and isn’t expecting a huge amount of traffic to the site.

Shared Hosting Is not Recommended for...


Shared Hosting Is Not For

Shared isn’t a great choice for websites that expect high volumes of visitors. Since you’re sharing resources, this can put a strain on your site, causing a slow down.

Others might express concern over the security aspects of the servers as a breach in one website can affect every business sharing the rack space. This means businesses handling highly sensitive data might want to try an alternative type of hosting.

Advantages of Shared Hosting

Cost
No technical knowledge needed
Easily scalable
Use multiple domains
Website builders
Disadvantages of Shared Hosting

Slow speeds
No customization options
Security issues

Advantages of Shared Hosting


  • Cost
    You can have a website up and running for just a few dollars per month using shared hosting. In fact, many platforms offer introductory deals where you can pay as little as $3 per month

  • No technical knowledge needed
    All the technical and security aspects are fully covered by your host. You won’t need to lift a finger in terms of maintenance

  • Easily scalable
    If your website grows and receives more traffic, you can easily scale up your hosting plan and add more server space and bandwidth

  • Use multiple domains
    Different shared hosting pans let you host multiple different domains at once. Meaning you can split your business or blog into multiple different niches, all managed in the same place

  • Website builders
    Many shared data hosts offer handy drag and drop website builders. Many have one-click installs of various apps and functions and you can have a pretty great looking website finished in a few hours

Disadvantages of Shared Hosting


  • Slow speeds
    Since you’re sharing your server with multiple other businesses, you’re each fighting for resources and bandwidth. If one of your neighbors is experiencing high traffic it could cause a slow down with your site

  • No customization options
    Since everything is taken care of by your data host there aren’t many opportunities to customize your site or use an alternative operating system. However, this would usually only be done by advanced users anyway

  • Security issues
    Residing on a shared server means that if one of your neighbor’s websites is compromised, then your site could easily be affected. While rare, it’s still a risk you need to consider with shared hosting

You can read more details on the advantages and disadvantages of shared hosting over on our comparison page.

Is Shared Hosting Good for Ecommerce?


Yes, most definitely. Any reputable data host will allow a range of ecommerce plug-ins to be added to your website. In fact, shared hosting is probably the fastest way to get a store up and running.

Many have plans to cater to tens of thousands of monthly store visitors, so it should be quite a while before you’ll need to upgrade your service.

What to Look for in Shared Hosting


Good reputation
Good reputation

Make sure your data host has positive reviews and is reliable

Uptime
Uptime

You’ll need a host that can guarantee 99.99% uptime or your business may suffer

Cost
Cost

Watch out for introductory offers that are too good to be true. The price could skyrocket after your intro period

Customer support options
Customer support options

You’ll want a platform that has 24/7 support. Issues can arise at any time of the day or night and you’ll need a timely resolution

Good reputation
Good reputation

Make sure your data host has positive reviews and is reliable

Uptime
Uptime

You’ll need a host that can guarantee 99.99% uptime or your business may suffer

Cost
Cost

Watch out for introductory offers that are too good to be true. The price could skyrocket after your intro period

Customer support options
Customer support options

You’ll want a platform that has 24/7 support. Issues can arise at any time of the day or night and you’ll need a timely resolution

Shared Hosting Alternatives


Shared Hosting Alternatives
  • Dedicated hosting - Using this solution you’ll get your own private server. While expensive, it means you get tighter security and faster speeds. Plus, you can host bigger and bigger websites as your business grows

  • VPS hosting - VPS stands for virtual private server and is similar in function to dedicated servers, but really sits as a middle ground between dedicated and shared hosting. You still sit on a server with other businesses, but you’re fully compartmentalized and no one will be dipping into your resources

  • Cloud Hosting - Cloud hosting pools a group of servers together in order to share resources and optimize website performance. Should one server fail for any reason, websites should stay up and running by utilizing the remaining kit in the pool

Summary


For anyone that’s looking to set up their very first website, operate a small business or get an ecommerce store set up as quickly as possible, you can’t really go wrong with shared hosting.

It might not be the fastest or most secure solution, but shared hosting is more than enough to meet the basic needs of any new start-up. What’s more, it won’t break the bank and you’ll be surprised at just how cheap it can be.

Frequently Asked Questions


Who Benefits Most From Shared Hosting?

Small businesses, bloggers, hobbyists, new start-ups and people looking to dabble in website development.

Can I Host Multiple Websites?

Yes. Some packages even give you unlimited domains. However, the more you host, the slower your speeds will be.

What Security Is Proved by the Data Host?

Your host will provide firewalls, antivirus and encryption as standard.

Can I Move My Site to Another Shared Host?

Yes. Most make it easy to make the switch if you find a better deal elsewhere.

What Plug-ins Are Available With Shared Hosting Plans?

You’ll find advanced ecommerce stores, blogging tools, SEO guides, email management systems, contact forms and traffic monitoring tools to name a few.

Julia
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Julia Raznik
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