What Is Shared Hosting?

If you're setting up your first site and need hosting, it can all be a little confusing. You probably already know that 'hosting' is where your site 'lives' online. There are all kinds of hosting, such as shared hosting, dedicated hosting, cloud hosting, and even self-hosting. Shared hosting is one of the most popular forms of web hosting.

So what exactly is shared hosting?

Shared hosting simply means that you are sharing your resources with other website owners that tap in one server for their resources such as space, bandwidth, databases and emails. Using one common server you can access your host provider through a control panel. Users have predominantly have control panel like cPanel or Plesk. Shared hosting is considered to be the cheapest form of hosting service. The advantage of subscribing to a shared hosting service is that you do not have to worry over minor or major problems, hardware issues and crashing server since all of these are handled by your web host company.

How does it work?

The reason shared hosting works is that it plays on the idea that most websites will not generate enough incoming traffic or tie up enough server resources to become an issue for other sites on the same shared server. In reality, the hosting service providers almost always provide more than enough resources to run all of the features on all of the sites sharing that server. Since they only have to pay for a single server, service providers make a sweet profit off of partitioning the server up for sale in pieces.

3 Pitfalls of Shared Hosting

1. Some hosts will overload their servers with too many sites which impacts negatively on the performance of your site caused by increased competition for the server resources by all the sites on the server. This will slow your site down & could even cause a server to crash.

2. Shared hosting accounts also have restrictions placed on them limitations placed on them with regard to the amount of disk space, data transfers, email addresses and domains that they can have. There are also often restrictions related to running scripts and databases that use quite a bit of CPU (processing power). This type of server activity causes reduced performance for all sites on the server which is beyond your control.

3. Stability and Security of the server & consequently your website. A poorly managed server which hosts one or two exceptionally busy sites could exhaust the server's resources and cause downtime for all sites hosted on the server. The same is true if one site on the server is subject to a DOS attack which can impact all sites on the server. Therefore any site on a shared server that is compromised, that security breach can pose a serious risk to all of the sites on that server.

How to Pick a Shared Hosting Plan

The cost and reliability of a web host is a huge factor when choosing a host, you will need something that's affordable but you will also need a quality hosting plan, thankfully the best web hosts are both affordable and offer a quality service.

You will also need to take into account bandwidth, if you’re not sure what bandwidth is, it’s simply the amount of hits your website will be able to receive before your host cuts you off, however if you pick a good host you will receive unlimited bandwidth and you won’t need to worry about being cut off or having to pay more to put your website back online.

Storage space is the amount of storage that the host offers, if you're looking to host many pages with images and other media you will more than likely need quite a bit of storage, once again depending on which host you choose will affect the amount of storage you get. The top website hosts will offer unlimited storage.

The best web hosts will also offer you added deals which will include free advertising vouchers, free scripts and free website templates.

Pros and cons of shared hosting

Few of the benefits due to which this method should be selected are as follows:

• No cost for the maintenance: This form of web hosting when availed is inclusive of all the cost. You need not to spend a single penny as you are not required for the maintenance of the setup of your website and the server.

• Affordable price and cheaper cost: In comparison to other forms of web hosting, Shared website hosting is the most affordable and cheapest type for hosting. Today in the industry there are hundreds of companies that offer services at lesser prices. Even the market share of this option is greater in comparison to other options for hosting available in the market.

• More beneficial for small sites: For the small websites and the beginners this is the most appropriate option to get the websites published and expand their business all over the world.

• Quick setup: If you select this option you can get the web site on the Internet within a day while you selected this. The only thing you should ensure for this is selection of a person who is update about all technical details required for your website to be published.

However along with all advantages it also has some of the disadvantages. While making the selection you also need to consider the negative aspects so that you can make a wise decision. The problems or the disadvantages of shared web hosting are as follows:

• Limited resources: Since there are many users sharing the same server it sometimes gets difficult if for the other sites if a single site makes use of all or majority of resources. This actually affects other websites adversely by decreasing the speed and also leads to crash sometimes of all the available sites on the Internet.

• Security issues: The major drawback due to the use of this method is that security. As there are many other websites that are being hosted on same server, security sometimes becomes an issue that needs to be emphasized.

• Dynamic IP: Another important problem this web hosting is lack of stagnant Internet Protocol. Changing protocol is a risk for the user who is performing the e-commerce transaction. However this problem can be overcome by selection of a company that provides static Internet Protocol.

• Unsuitability for e-commerce site with huge database: It sometimes become difficult to for the users if their sites have huge database as it become difficult for getting required resources.

In conclusion, the web hosting service that you choose for your website can make a massive difference in the success and functionality of your site. Shared web hosting services are perfect for many small businesses and organizations, but if there are alternatives. For large businesses, or ones that intend to expand in the near future, a dedicated server or VPS service may be more appropriate.