If you are trying to find the most affordable web hosting option, you may have come across the term ‘shared hosting’ while shopping around for options. However, this solution isn’t the best for everyone, despite the fact that it tends to be the most affordable, and it’s important to understand just what shared hosting means before you commit.
What Is Shared Hosting?
People are only able to access your website if it is connected to the Internet using a server. Your web pages, as well as your software and files, will need to be placed on a server for your website to be accessible by anyone wanting to look at it.
If you share the resources of the server with other users, it is called shared hosting. It means you often have limitations on the features and resources you can access, and you are only able to access your account and nobody else’s.
Alternatives to shared server space include hosting your unique server or participating in what is known as dedicated hosting – having your files on a server that has been provided by your host.
What Is Expected Of You and Your Web Host?
All general maintenance, including upgrading hardware and software, and maintaining the actual server itself is the responsibility of the provider if you choose a shared hosting option. The software for the operating system may need to be upgraded, or the drivers may need to be replaced, and the host would be responsible for both.
However, you will be able to install your site applications, monitor the number of visitors to your site and upload any files. A particular and pre-determined amount of bandwidth, disc space, and other features will be given to you, as you are essentially sharing the space on the server with some other clients and websites.
Why Is Shared Hosting a Good Thing?
If you are looking for the most affordable hosting solution, there is, then you need to look no further than shared hosting, and its affordability is one of the reasons why it’s so popular. If you have your website with relatively few visitors, are a small or medium-sized company, then shared hosting is probably adequate for your needs.
If you are shopping around for the best shared hosting option, look for the following features and extras; hosting companies often try to outdo each other in this competitive marketplace.
If you can pay for a full year upfront, you can often save even more on the already very affordable monthly hosting fees.
Another advantage is that you can typically choose from several packages, depending on not just your budget, but your needs and anticipated amount of traffic, and you can upgrade to a more comprehensive package as needed. Expect few extra features, and a low amount of bandwidth and disc space if you choose the most basic hosting package.
Regardless of the needs of your business or your website, you can usually find the perfect package. You may find you need such features as a calendar, chat capability, blog or forum and in many cases, these scripts can be added with just a single click.
Related Article: 19 Important Features to Look for in a Web Host
The Disadvantages of Sharing
If your site attracts a lot of traffic or you are a thriving and ambitious business, you may find that shared hosting isn’t the best for you for the following reasons.
You may experience performance problems if your site has spiked in traffic, although improvements in the reliability of server hardware and software have meant less chance of this happening.
You may find some functions and applications are restricted, and you aren’t able to run an application that your site needs if you have shared hosting. This is because the security of the server and high uptime percentages need to be maintained for all the users who are using that server at a particular time.
Restrictions On Resources
If you read the small print on many shared hosting sites, you may be surprised to find out that your agreement with that server can be canceled if your site becomes too popular and starts to attract a lot of traffic. A shared server may not be enough for your site if it becomes really popular and your traffic numbers increase significantly, as it tends to slow down that server for everyone else using it.
You will have to pay lot more for the convenience of dedicated hosting, although it may be worth the extra price as you will be given more resources and will have more flexibility for what you need to. You probably need to look at your website realistically and decide what will work for you; most sites just don’t attract enough visitors to their site to justify using a dedicated server, and shared hosting is more than adequate. Always read the small print, and make sure you understand precisely what shared hosting is and what features and extras you will be getting, before deciding if it will work for your company and your website.