What is shared hosting, how does it work, and is it good or not? Let us explain it all, easily. Even though we use the internet every day, there are many things that come off as ‘too complicated’ or ‘difficult to understand.’
Shared hosting is one such thing that many people have no idea about. There are so many different ways of hosting these days that some confusion is bound to happen. By the end of the article, you will be completely familiar with shared hosting.
As a person starting their own website for the first time, it can be very difficult to choose what server mode you want to go with. Shared hosting is one of the most common and preferred ways to start a website for a beginner. But is it really good?
Let’s understand what is shared hosting with simple examples and then look at all the pros and cons of it.
What is Shared Hosting
All the websites that you see on the internet, even this one is ‘hosted’ on a server. A server is a powerful computer that contains the important files of the website and is connected to the internet. The text, images, etc that you see here is stored on the server.
The server has an internet address, also known as an IP address that is public. Anyone on the internet can come to the server using this IP address and access these files. So your computer or your phone is using the IP address to access this article on the server.
This process is the gist of hosting websites. A server is nothing but a powerful computer that can serve files when other connected computers ask for it. Even large websites such as YouTube, Facebook, etc work the same way.
So how does the concept of shared hosting apply here? Shared hosting is the process in which you ‘share’ this server with someone else. The server is not completely for you but for other people as well.
Imagine that you rent a room in a house. This room is the server where you can keep your belongings. In shared hosting, the room will also be shared by three other people (three is just random, it can be any number of people).
So there are a total of 4 people in the same room, with their belongings as well. Obviously, since the room is small, you will feel cramped and there won’t be enough space for you to keep things.
In shared hosting, one server is shared by many other website owners. So one computer keeps all the files for five, six, ten, or even dozens of websites. It depends on the shared hosting company and the type of server they have.
So what is the benefit of using shared hosting? From all the things that we have mentioned, it seems that shared hosting is not a good option. Who wants to live with three other people in a single room?
Benefits of Shared Hosting
While it might not be obvious at first, there are some benefits of using shared hosting. The benefits are:
- Easy to set up
- Easy to manage
The most important and common benefit of why people choose shared hosting is the cost. It is the cheapest way to start and host your website. It might be hard to believe, but some hosting companies in certain regions offer hosting at $1-2/month!
The low cost is possible as the price is shared by many other website owners. So people who have a small website or a landing page that does not require too much space or resources should consider shared hosting as it gets the job done, at the lowest price possible.
Easy to Set-up
Shared hosting servers are the easiest to set up as you do not have a much deeper access to the server. Most of the control is done via the hosting company’s portal. These companies have kept the interface as simple and easy as possible.
So if you are a beginner, shared hosting will be the easiest to understand. Since you will be working on the surface level, you do not need to know the details of server management, which leads to the next point.
Easy to Manage
Since most of the server’s controls are under the hosting company’s hold, they do all the complicated server management processes. It includes patches, updates, cache management, monitoring, etc.
All you need to do is set up your server, add the website, and then just worry about working on your website. You do not have to worry about the server management processes. Your server gets managed by the company.
All of these factors are great for people who are just getting into website hosting, but there are some concerning negative factors of using shared hosting as well. Here are all the cons of using shared hosting.
Disadvantages of Shared Hosting
When considering the feasibility of any option, you need to weigh in all the positive and negative factors and find out what overshadows the other. If there are many positive aspects and some negative aspects, then the option becomes feasible.
But what if the negative aspects are too many to ignore? The biggest issues with shared hosting are also some of the most impactful ones. The cons of using shared hosting include:
- Poor performance
- Increased risk
- Downtime issues
- Limited controls
- Limited support
The low cost of shared hosting comes at a price. While you get to pay less per month for hosting, you also get limited resources. Since the server you get is being used by other people as well, your share gets reduced by a lot.
Not just that, but if the other website on your server grows and gets more traffic, your website will start slowing down as the other website is taking up most of the resources. Seems unfair but it is what it is.
While shared hosting is the cheapest option out there, it is also the worst when it comes to website performance. Slow loading speeds, slow backend speeds, and other issues are common in this case.
Many people might not know this but websites on shared servers are at a higher risk of DDoS attacks and other cyber attacks. Since there are many websites on the same server, if one website is compromised, it can affect all the other websites.
Let’s say that you follow all the security measures to prevent any malware or other cyber attack but the other website on the server does not. So if the other unrelated website is attacked, your website is also vulnerable to it.
Although shared hosting has gotten much more secure these days, there are still many instances when the entire server has been affected due to one website with some security flaws.
Due to the limited resources of the server that you get and the spikes of traffic that your website and other websites get, the server can get overloaded and shut down. This results in abysmal downtime when your website cannot be accessed by anyone.
For the beginner, limited control might not be a big issue. But as you start to understand the basics and get better at server management, you would find the limited control of shared hosting to be a big issue.
You cannot install some plugins on your website if the hosting company does not allow it. You cannot tweak different settings, access some important files, or even play around with the cache. All these restrictions can become a major issue.
Since your website is hosted on a shared server, there are limitations to the kind of support you can get from the support team. You cannot restart your server, check the detailed log files, get root access, etc.
Who Should Choose Shared Hosting?
Let’s come to the main and the most important question of this article; who should buy shared hosting? Is it right for you or should you go for something else? The answer is simple; beginners should start with shared hosting and then migrate to other servers if required.
Shared hosting’s low cost is the most important benefit. You get to set up and start your website quickly and easily and at just a few dollars per month. In the beginning, you do not need too many resources unless you are making an eCommerce site with loads of images.
So start small and simple so that you do not spend a fortune on hosting and once your website starts getting traction, migrate to VPS or Cloud hosting. We’ll write and link detailed articles about VPS and cloud hosting as well.
For people who just want to host a simple website such as landing pages, shared hosting is the best option for them. It is affordable and gets the job done. For others who are looking for more powerful, more customizable options, stay away from shared hosting.
Also read; 5 Best places to buy domains from