When the time comes for you to choose a hosting platform for your website, you will face a few options, like whether to go for shared or dedicated website hosting. Most people don’t understand the differences, and both have pros and cons. So, which type of hosting is better, and what should you choose? Let’s look at the pros and cons of shared website hosting.
Shared hosting is much cheaper than dedicated hosting. It is the most affordable web hosting solution. But shared website hosting means your website resides on a single server along with other websites, so you have less control, more space and performance constraints, and some security risks.
Shared website hosting is the most popular solution for small- to medium businesses, mainly due to the cost factor. But you need to consider shared hosting’s advantages and disadvantages, which can be challenging if you don’t know what to look for. Let’s compare the pros and cons of shared website hosting in more detail before you decide if it’s the correct type of hosting for you.
What Makes Shared Website Hosting Different?
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To clearly understand the pros and cons, you must first know what makes shared web hosting different.
Shared website hosting is a system whereby various website owners share a single server. In other words, your website may reside on a server along with tens or hundreds of other websites. The process is well-implemented, so you should not even realize that you’re sharing a server, but that doesn’t change the fact.
This is opposed to dedicated website hosting, where you have a dedicated server for your website alone. Nobody else has access to publish their websites on your server. Now that we have looked at what shared website hosting is, let’s compare its pros and cons.
The Pros of Shared Website Hosting
There are a few good reasons why shared hosting is as popular as it is, particularly with small and medium businesses and private individuals who want to start a blog. Those advantages are:
1. Shared Hosting is Affordable
Perhaps the most significant benefit of using shared website hosting is its price. That’s because several factors affect the cost of a website hosting server:
A dedicated system with all these factors in place will cost most businesses a small fortune. However, if you share that server with other businesses to host their websites on it, too, you can split the costs and save a ton of money.
2. Little to no Technical Skills are Required
Dedicated servers, as mentioned, require people with vast amounts of technical expertise to configure and maintain. Shared hosting doesn’t have this problem.
On shared website hosting platforms, each user gets their own account with a comparatively simple interface, usually a platform like cPanel, which they can use to publish their website and configure their options. Depending on how complicated you want your website to be, you may still need some technical knowledge, but not nearly on the same level as with a dedicated server.
Anyone willing to take the time to read up or watch some YouTube tutorials can publish their website on a shared hosting platform with minimal effort.
The Cons of Shared Website Hosting
As ideal as shared website hosting may seem at the moment, you would be wise to take note of some possible downsides, too.
These cons aren’t necessarily dealbreakers for most people, but you should at least know about them to be prepared for any eventuality.
1. Performance Issues
When you have a server that’s shared between multiple website accounts, it should be evident that the server’s resources will be shared between all accounts.
Servers have limitations, like a particular CPU with limited processing power, a set amount of RAM, and a particular internet speed. In a dedicated server environment, you can adjust these according to your needs, but you can’t adjust them on a shared web server.
Most regular websites will be fine on a shared server. But let’s say that one of the server’s users is running an online promotion, and millions of people flock to that website. Or maybe one of the users loads a very resource-intensive website on the server. All the other websites on that server will perform more slowly because more of the server’s resources are going to that one website.
It’s similar to how your computer runs more slowly when you have more programs running simultaneously. Your computer must share its resources with all the running programs, causing them to run more slowly than usual. The same could happen with shared web hosting servers.
2. Resource Limitations
This point is closely related to number one, but it’s a matter that merits having its own point. Because servers have limited resources, your web hosting company will usually allocate a set number of resources to your hosting account. These limits are usually related to the amount of storage space available and how much internet bandwidth the hosting provider allows you to use each month.
The storage space is set at a particular limit so that there’s enough space on the shared server for all accounts. When you’ve reached your limit, you will start to experience problems. Though this usually isn’t a problem if you only have a simple website, the problem could become huge if you have a large website, primarily if you also use the shared server for your emails.
These limits are tied to the hosting package you choose, so if you decide to publish your website on a shared hosting server, be sure not to go for the smallest package.
3. Less Control
We already mentioned how you don’t need much technical expertise to use shared website hosting because you don’t have to do complicated setup and configuration. The downside is that you have a limited number of options you can control.
Some website platforms, like WordPress, have very particular requirements, and if your hosting server doesn’t have that function, you are stuck; there’s very little you can do to fix it except to move to a different server. You can’t install other software or tweak most settings since the hosting company sets them for the entire server.
4. Security Concerns
When we talk about cybersecurity, everyone automatically thinks about hackers, and although that is a factor to keep in mind, it’s not the most crucial factor. Any server can be hacked, and your hosting company should have systems in place to try and minimize the risk on all dedicated and shared hosting servers, so that makes no difference to shared hosting servers over dedicated ones.
The vital point is that not all websites are equally protected. Many cyber criminals spread malware through websites with weak security. These pieces of malicious software will attach themselves to unprotected website code to cause damage, generate spam, or steal personal information. But more importantly, the malware tries to spread by duplicating itself.
Putting your website on a shared server with a bunch of other websites opens it up to potentially getting an infection from another website. Most hosting companies try to protect against this with different security software packages. Still, there is no such thing as perfect security, so you should always endeavor to have your own security and backup systems in place as well.
Shared website hosting is a cost-effective way to get a small and basic website online. Most websites would fall into this category. But if you choose shared hosting, just know that your website may sometimes be slow. You will have limited resources, so use them wisely. And you should never neglect the security and backup systems built into your website; they could be a lifesaver. (Related: Hostgator Vs A2 Hosting Vs Cloudways (Live Site, Speed Test))