Choosing the right web host for your website is important, especially when starting a new business. You want to make sure that your website is always up and running, loads quickly and is hosted by a company with a reliable customer service team in case you have any questions or issues.
When choosing an effective website host, many users are drawn to shared hosting as a way to get started. Shared web hosting is a great solution for start-ups and medium-sized organizations with tight budgets.
Read on to learn more about shared hosting and how to decide if it matches your needs.
What does a shared hosting package include?
Many shared hosting providers offer tiered packages. It's important to ensure that your chosen hosting package includes all the features your website requires.
With a shared hosting plan, you can keep your website on a single server that hosts other websites. With this kind of hosting experience, you can easily and affordably access applications and tools to manage your site.
If you own multiple websites, a shared hosting plan is a practical option that enables you to store all of your websites on one server without having to buy multiple hosting plans. Having all your websites under one roof simplifies site management and saves you money.
File transfer protocol
FTP, which stands for file transfer protocol, is a useful tool for managing digital projects, especially those that will be accessed by multiple users.
FTP enables users to quickly and securely transfer files between two devices, and developers can use it to access language files on their networks. This feature, which simplifies team and project coordination, is included in most shared hosting packages.
Subdomains divide your domain into different sections, thus organizing your site's content. For example, if you want to offer a mobile-friendly version of your site, you could create a subdomain for that purpose. This division enables you to easily access the information you need from any device.
MySQL is a web-based database that provides shared hosting that is supported by a powerful and reliable system. It interacts with web hosting software to enable users to store and manipulate data like website content, user information, contact details and financial records.
MySQL helps web hosts optimize their web services by providing an effective data-handling platform that increases web traffic bandwidth and improves processing speed.
When choosing a shared hosting plan for your website, you must carefully consider your disk space needs. Disk space corresponds to the amount of data and files you can store in your account.
While most shared hosting plans provide limited disk space, some providers offer additional features, such as unlimited storage or an additional hard drive.
With shared hosting, you get an allotted monthly bandwidth that regulates the amount of traffic that can access your website at once. This allotment is based on the scope of the hosting plan you purchase and the type of website content you're serving.
Many shared hosting plans come with a professional email address branded with your custom domain. Not only will this convey that your business is legitimate, but it will also build brand trust with your customers.
Many shared hosting providers offer excellent customer support with 24-hour access to knowledgeable technicians who can assist you quickly with any questions or concerns.
Whether by email, phone or chat, a good shared hosting provider will offer comprehensive multi-level customer service that's accessible to all technical skill levels.
How does shared hosting work?
Shared hosting refers to a cloud-based web hosting service involving multiple websites being hosted on the same server. This enables you to share one physical server and its resources with other website owners, significantly reducing costs.
Shared cloud hosting also presents attractive scalability options for growing businesses. Another advantage is that the provider is typically responsible for all maintenance tasks, such as software updates and security patches.
Who needs a shared hosting plan?
A shared web hosting plan is ideal for those seeking an easy and affordable web hosting solution, especially when starting a business. Smaller firms, startups and individual bloggers are just a few types of businesses that can benefit from shared web hosting plans.
Shared hosting is an affordable way to establish your online presence and enhance your website's visibility, without the need for pricier web hosting options with unnecessary features. Shared hosting plans enable website owners to add additional features as their business needs evolve without switching providers or investing in new hardware.
Shared web hosting services pros and cons
It’s important to carefully weigh all the pros and cons of shared web hosting before committing to the best website hosting provider to meet your needs.
Pros of shared web hosting
Easily manage your site
Shared hosting enables you to easily manage your site with limited technical skills. This type of hosting can save you time and energy because you won’t need to handle any tricky setup tasks. Instead, this is all handled by the provider.
Most shared hosting providers also offer control panels, such as cPanel or Plesk, enabling you to easily manage all aspects of your website without knowing any code.
Both dedicated server hosting and shared hosting enable website owners to monitor visitor data and website performance in real-time. Through analytics, you can track the activity on your pages and collect data such as how many people visited a page and for how long and where the traffic originated.
Shared hosting also provides performance metrics to track important details like your website's loading time.
Another benefit of shared hosting is affordability — it's much less expensive than purchasing or renting a dedicated server for your website.
This type of hosting is designed for shared resources, so each business is only responsible for a fraction of the overall cost. Shared hosting providers often provide a variety of shared tools and applications that make website management easier and give business owners direct access to support resources.
No need to worry about maintenance
With shared hosting, you don't have to worry about installing and maintaining your own server — the technical work is already done for you.
The host takes care of things like security updates and other software requirements, so you can just focus on building and managing your website or blog. Because there are typically no complicated procedures or system settings to master, this is an ideal option for those who are new to internet marketing or simply seeking a low-maintenance solution with minimal headaches.
Cons of shared web hosting
Shared hosting is less customizable than more expensive options like dedicated or virtual private server (VPS) hosting. This could be a concern if your website has specific technical requirements or if you must have greater control over the resources used to host your site.
For example, with shared hosting, you may have few customization options beyond the ability to modify the look of your site through the hosting provider's website builder and pre-designed templates. And, depending on the content management system (CMS) your provider uses, you may also have restricted access to the site's HTML or CSS code.
Lags due to traffic spikes
If you're subscribed to a shared hosting plan, your website could be affected by collective traffic spikes, resulting in low bandwidth or a systemwide backlog. During these events, resources might be limited, and pages could load more slowly, potentially leading to poor connectivity and data losses.
Even if these traffic spikes are brief, planning for them when selecting your hosting plan is important so your website experiences minimal downtime or disruption. If performance lags become an ongoing problem, a dedicated server option might be a more practical alternative.
Other sites may put yours at risk
It's important to note that malicious activity from neighbor sites on the same server could put your own data at risk. If one website contains malicious code, it could infect other hosted sites and cause issues throughout the shared hosting system.
It is therefore essential to consider a hosting provider with a rigorous security protocol and adequate malware protection.
When weighing your options, consider the host’s security policy. Do they have domain privacy protections, limitations on the number of unauthorized users who have access to sensitive information and SSL certificates to encrypt user data?
It's also important to regularly patch and update any applications used on the website and back up your data in case of any unforeseen attacks that could compromise or eliminate valuable information.
To ensure that your website and its related applications are secure, check out the best password managers so you can protect your site from hackers.
How to determine if dedicated hosting platforms are right for you
There are factors you must consider when choosing a dedicated hosting platform:
- Is your website serving an increasingly high volume of users that shared hosting is unable to adequately support?
- Do you want greater control, such as access to system resources and settings?
- Do you prefer to be totally isolated from other accounts on the same server?
Dedicated hosting is likely the best option for you if you answer “yes” to any of these questions.
In addition to determining the best host, selecting the best domain registrars and the best VPN services is also important. All of these services are widely available, and choosing the best fit for your website can increase productivity, protect your website and its data and simplify online resource management.
Is shared hosting for you?
Shared hosting provides an affordable and convenient way to get your website online quickly and easily. However, it's important to understand that you will be sharing resources with other websites on the same server, which can lead to slower page load speed and potential security risks.
If you’re new to web hosting or have a limited budget, shared hosting may be the right choice. It offers inexpensive plans without sacrificing much in terms of performance or features. You'll have access to the latest applications and tools and customer support from your host provider, all at a fraction of the cost compared to other web hosting solutions.
However, if you have a high-traffic website or require greater customization capabilities, dedicated server hosting may be better suited to your needs.
Shared hosting plans tend to have limited storage space and processing power when compared with more expensive options, so if you need more control over your website's functionality, this type of plan may not be ideal.
Similarly, if you're anticipating a high volume of visitors, shared hosting may not cope well with the added burden on its resources, resulting in slower page loading speeds and unreliable connections.
While shared hosting is a suitable value option for many websites, it's important to consider whether it's the right choice for your site before making a commitment. If speed and reliability are essential components of your website, you should consider dedicated server options instead.
Ultimately, you should base your decision on your budget and your website’s performance requirements.