Shared web hosting is really just what it says it is. It is web hosting that is shared between a single server and multiple websites. Each user is given a certain portion of the server’s resources like disc space, accounts, databases, etc. It is one of, if not the most, commonly used forms of web hosting. If you are a beginner looking to set up a website, shared hosting is perfect. If you are not a beginner, but are looking for affordability and ease of use, it is also perfect for you.
But shared hosting, like most things in life, comes with pros and cons. Let’s explore what some of the advantages and disadvantages of shared hosting.
We’ll start with the advantages.
Advantages of Shared Web Hosting Services
Shared Web Hosting Cost
Shared hosting is less expensive than others types of hosting, like dedicated server or a VPS, because the physical server is being shared by many people. This causes the cost to be evenly distributed; making some subscription fees less than five dollars monthly.
Competition within the shared hosting space is increasing, which could prices dipping even lower. This makes it the ideal choice for individuals and smaller companies.
Is Shared Hosting Practical?
Outside of its affordability, the convenience/practicality that shared hosting provides, is one of its major pluses.
Not everyone is interested in the heavy lifting aspect of setting up and maintaining a website and shared hosting providers know this, so they set up their system so users don’t have to.
You can set up a website from anywhere in the world and at any time of day and night and if it is within 24 hours or less, you are set and ready to make your mark on the World Wide Web. And in this fast-faced world, that type of convenience is very important.
Shared Hosting Efficiency
Because shared hosting is cheap, doesn’t mean it is inefficient. It is quite the opposite. A website’s performance is determined by a number of factors. Disk space and bandwidth are two of the most essential. Shared hosting gives users the option to buy more bandwidth and storage.
You also don’t need to go through a technical or support team to get it done. Your host provides a portal through which you can easily do it yourself. This means, that without wasting time, money or other valuable resources, you can meet the demands of your website.
Shared hosting seems like the gift that keeps giving. Not only is it affordable, practical and efficient; it also gives you the option to customize your website to suit your needs and desires.
The fact that you are able to do that is a big deal, because there is a belief that users might not be able to because the resources are shared.
However the control panel or cPanel provided by most web hosting providers, allow individual users to customize their site. But shared hosting is not a magical, perfect potion to answer all your hosting needs. It comes with its own set of disadvantages.
Here are a few of the most noted ones.
Hundreds, sometimes thousands of people are using the same server, so what happens if there is a security breach on that server?
What about other users on the server? Will your site be affected if they behave badly?
Is your website more susceptible to cyber attacks because you are using a shared network?
These are a few of the security concerns that show up when the issue of security comes up in relation to shared hosting. And these questions are important and valid, because security is, without question, biggest concern with shared hosting.
A cyber attack on the main server can affect all the websites that rely on it and because shared servers are very visible to cyber criminals, your website is very vulnerable to an attack. Adding to that issue, is the fact that you cannot install specific antivirus or firewall to your site, because shared hosting provides you with a platform on a server and not the server itself.
Disadvantages of Shared Web Hosting
But it’s not all bad news. There are steps that can be taken to prevent or mitigate a security breach on your site.
The first and most important step is to choose a reputable host that provides premium web hosting. These web hosts will have security protocols in place, so you don’t have to worry about any of the issues mentioned above.
There are other things you can do to protect your website while using shared hosting. These include using:
- Stronger Passwords,
- Two-factor Authentication
- DDoS Protection
- Cloud Firewall
You can also practice staying clear of sources that are not trusted, backing up regularly and updating software regularly.
Resources are limited
Web hosts do not have unlimited resources. As such, each websites using these services is given a set amount of those resources, which can be pretty daunting.
If one website gets a lot of traffic, it will draw most of the server’s resources and other websites on the same server may be impacted, which means users may have difficulty getting access to them.
Not only will your website slow down, the over usage by another site can cause .your system to crash.
A good web host will counter this by warning users of the usage or over usage.
No dedicated IP
The absence of a dedicated IP for websites using shared hosting means you’ll not be able to just use an IP address to access your website if something goes wrong with your domain name. An attempt to do this would confuse the server as it would not know which website to bring up.
No dedicated SSL
Shared hosting does not allow individual users to have SSL specifically for their websites. Why? Because SSL works on IP and as stated above, shared hosting also does not allow websites to have a dedicated IP and since the IP is shared, subscribers have to share the same SSL scripting.
Have you ever had a problem or question that’s not on the list of Frequently Asked Questions? Worse than that is the fact that you are often forced to fill out a form, send an email outlining your issue or question and then sit and wait that someone will respond to you in a timely manner, even when you do not have time on your hands…?
Frustrating right? Well, that’s one of the disadvantages of share hosting. These platforms depend on automated tools and generic questions to serve subscribers, but if they have concerns outside of what the automated tools and generic questions can answer, you will have to open a ticket and play the waiting game.
However, some of the bugger web hosts now provide telephone support to customers. With Dedicated Hosting, there are technical people working around the clock to ensure the website is always performing at its maximum.
Shared hosting has its pros and cons, its ups and downs. Things like affordability and cost effectiveness are definitely pros, but then there are the concerns of security and limited resumes. But there is some good news. There are ways to turn the highlighted issues into none issues, by starting with a safe and reputable web host.