What is Shared Hosting- Shared hosting or shared web hosting is one of the most common types of web hosting available which is the most widely used type of the hosting almost 70% of the web hosting market is shared by shared hosting. The reason for the popularity of this sort of hosting is primarily because it is the mot economical web hosting available that serves the purpose of hosting a website where it is just meant to be used for fewer people or for personal blog or web applications that do not utilise much bandwidth or where security is not of much importance or web page load speed is of no big concern.
Due to its popularity it is one of the most widely offered plan by most of the web hosting companies. This is the default type of hosting provided by the hosting provider. There are a lot of plans available for shared web hosting so you need to compare shared hosting plans before you go ahead with one.
Why Shared Hosting?
As mentioned above, shared hosting is one of the most common types of web hosting and is widely used as it very economical option for web users for hosting needs. It being one of the economical options provides all features which are essential to get the website hosted. Web hosting companies with the use of advance technology are able to use single physical server and still able to serve to multiple websites with separated hosting control panel. This enables the web hosting providers offer web hosting plans at cheaper rates with all the essential features. You will need a shared hosting if:
- You have a personal blog
- You have a web site which is not meant for masses
- Your sole purpose is just host website for business purpose wherein you can showcase your offerings etc.
- You don’t want to spend much on hosting
- You are looking for a cheap option for web hosting
- You are not bothered about the operating system or other applications essential for the web hosting environment
- You are not wiling to get into technicalities of web hosting
- You wish to work on simple control panels and are able to interact with server using the same interface
Shared hosting providers do offer other additional plans with shared hosting such as email services in your company domain name, web site builder services, SEO services for your website or other related services which you may need.
What you get with Shared Hosting?
Shared hosting plans do start from as low as USD 5 per month and if you take yearly packages then it will save you some bucks as well. With shared hosting you will get:
- A limited amount of disk space
- A limited bandwidth
- Control panel which you can use to handle your web hosting, most likely it will be cPanel as most of the shared hosting plans are based on Linux operating system as it is economical and provides the best environment for shared hosting
- Operating system which will be same for all the web hosting users who are using the same shared web server. Although this does not matter to you as long as you have no special requirements. Most likely the operating system will be Linux as it most widely used and most economical as well best suited for shared hosting needs. There are other operating system hosting plans also available but it does not make sense for you to go with other operating system such as (Windows, MAC OS X etc.) as this is not very common and may cost you more. In addition, your web hosting needs are covered with Linux hosting.
- Support: you will have 24x7 support system with shared hosting plans. So in case you are stuck with something, hosting company will help you with the issue and solve at the earliest.
- Other applications: you can also avail other features such as Wordpress installation which is available with most of the web hosting providers. However there may be some extra cost to use it. There are special Wordpress related plans as well so you may choose to go with such plans. This is also a cheaper option with shared hosting.
Benefits of Shared Hosting
Shared hosting being one of the most widely used type of hosting comes with several benefits. Shared hosting is the entry level type of hosting. Other hosting types may include VPS (Virtual Private Server), Cloud hosting, dedicated server hosting. All of these are higher level plans which you will only need when you have web applications meant to be used for mass rather than few people. Although Shared hosting is not the ideal web hosting for most of the website owners which we will be discussing later, yet there are many benefits of using shared hosting over other hosting options as mentioned above. Let’s shed some light on benefits that come with Shared hosting.
- Cheapest option available in the web hosting space. So it is very economical to use shared hosting
- Plenty of plans available from multiple web hosting providers so you can get a cheaper option
- You don’t have to pay hefty amount as you need to pay with other hosting options such dedicated server hosting which quite expensive
- You get all the essential features required for web hosting needs
- 24x7 support provided by the web hosting providers
- Easy to use user friendly interface which can be used to manage your web hosting. in most cases it will cPanel (use with Linux OS)
- You don’t have to be technically sound to be able to use it
- You don’t have to worry about the server stuff as it is managed by the web hosting provider
Downsides of Shared Hosting
While it is one of the most widely used options in the web hosting space yet it is not ideal for all the web business needs. Now you will be surprised if this is one of the most widely used type and is also the cheapest option available then why it is not used by all the website owners. The reason being shared hosting is not ideal for all web site needs. Shared hosting is only good for websites where you have a very small web site or a blog to be hosted. You are not bothered about the web hosting environment as what operating system is being used or what sort o web server is deployed. However, when you have enterprise level applications which require higher bandwidth, higher disk space, high security and demand for better hosting control then shared hosting does not suffice the requirements. So downsides of using shared hosting are:
- You get a limited bandwidth and limited disk space which may not be sufficient for running website where higher loads are expected
- You need to share the hosting resources with other web hosting users which is not good for security reasons
- In the event of higher bandwidth usage by other website you may suffer web page speed issues
- You don’t have any control over your hosting environment
- You can’t choose the OS of your own choice
- You don’t get a secured environment
- You cant run enterprise level applications which demands higher traffic load management, better security, better hosting environment control etc.
- It is not scalable
So you can see that shared hosting is not the ideal solution for all hosting needs. So in such cases you will need to go for higher plans such as Virtual Private Server (VPS), Cloud Hosting, or a Dedicated Sever Hosting etc. which come with higher cost to you.
How to Choose Shared Hosting Plan
You now know all the benefits as well as downsides of using Shared hosting so you are not in a better situation to decide as to whether go for a shared hosting plan or not. If you have decided to go for shared hosting plan the next thing will be to choose the plan that fits into your requirements. Although there is not much to talk about this as there are lot of plans which will serve your shared hosting needs however there are something you will need to check as under:
- How is support system: you always need to do a research as how well is the support provided by the hosting provider.
- Is the plan upgradable: it makes sense for you to go with a company that offers a plan which can be upgraded to higher plans such as VPS, Cloud hosting or Dedicated server as per your business requirement need changes.
- Although not very important but many companies do offer free domain as well with the shared hosting plan
- What is the hosting control panel provided (most likely it will be cPanel)
Shared Hosting Frequently Asked Questions
What is shared hosting?
Shared hosting is a type of web hosting which makes use of a single server which shared among many web host users. So shared resources are used by many web host users. This is one of the most widely used option as it is quite cheap and economical option available.
How does shared hosting work?
The access level of each hosting user is separated with the use of server operating system which isolates the hosting space for each user so they don’t have access to the root directory so they cant access other users files and hence they get a shared hosting environment. The underlying software that makes this possible is the operating system and the web server being used. Most of the shared hosting is based on Linux operating system.
Do shared hosting website share the same IP address?
Since all the websites on shared hosting environment share the same server so the IP address also is the same for all the website hosted on that server. Which is why shared hosting plans work on name based virtual host. So the routing of domain is done with domain name. companies also offer dedicated IP which can be used for various needs such accessing API which allow access for only whitelisted IPs.
What is SSL certificate?
SSL stands or Secure Sockets Layer which is a security protocol which is used over internet to encrypt the data for security reason.
Can we use SSL certificate with Shared IP hosting?
No SSL certificate cant be used with shared hosting. SSL makes use of HTTPS protocol. In order to be able for SSL to work it needs to know as to which domain does it pertain to beforehand which is not the case with shared hosting.
Is there any limit on number of websites hosting on shared hosting server?
Technically there is no limit to the number of websites which can be hosted. Shared hosting server can host a lot of websites depending on the usage statistics as well as the server specifications as what is the disk space, RAM size etc.
What are the downsides of using shared hosting?
As mentioned above in the article with shared hosting:
- You have not access to the server- You cant choose the operating system of your choice neither you are able to choose the web server of your choice
- If your website has higher traffic loads, then shared hosting plan will not be good option as your website will feel outages most of the time.
- You cant control the hosting environment so you cant control the security either.
What are the alternatives to a shared hosting?
Virtual private servers or VPS is the most common option which will serve the purpose for you however it is expensive than share hosting. Apart from that you can choose to go for Cloud hosting which is also an expensive option.