Shared web hosting, the most cost-effective hosting option, is increasingly being chosen by many website enthusiasts. It’s popular with bloggers, small companies, and new websites. It’s the perfect solution for anyone on a tight budget wishing to launch a website immediately.
But when it comes to shared hosting, most people still have lots of questions. Fortunately, we’re here to help you every step of the way. This guide explains everything you need to know about shared web hosting, its functions, the benefits and drawbacks, and how to pick the best shared hosting service.
What is Shared Hosting?
A shared web hosting service hosts several websites on a single web server linked to the internet, with the overall cost of server maintenance divided over several clients. If you choose shared hosting, the webpage will pool a virtual infrastructure with other internet sites.
Because it’s distributed among many participants, shared hosting involves network management. This is advantageous for users who don’t want to bother with the behind-the-scenes but is inconvenient for advanced users who require significant autonomy. In theory, shared hosting is unsuitable for users that need considerable software development. Almost all programs designed for a typical web server run smoothly on shared web hosting.
Shared hosting is less expensive than other forms of hosting, such as dedicated server hosting. Shared hosting often includes traffic restrictions, and hosting providers should have a comprehensive set of dependability features.
Web analytics services, email and webmail options, auto script installation, upgraded PHP and MySQL, and standard after-sale professional assistance are vital in shared hosting services. It’s also essential to have a web-based control panel, which is why most significant hosting companies have their custom-built control panel. Web hosting firms can sell the rights to their control panel system to others, so it’s popular to try to duplicate the capabilities of a specific control panel, which leads to a slew of copyright infringement cases.
The providers are typically in charge of many programs specific to shared hosting. These may include server management, server software installation, security patches, and technical services. The Linux computer platform and LAMP are usable on most servers (software bundle).
Some suppliers provide Microsoft Windows or FreeBSD-based solutions. For example, under Linux, MySQL (database) and various server-side computer languages (such as the widely used PHP programming code) offer similar capabilities. Under Microsoft Windows, the exclusive SQL Server (database) and ASP.NET scripting language have comparable performance.
There are tens of thousands of shared hosting companies across the globe. They range from modest designer businesses and independent setups to multibillion-dollar companies with tens of millions of clients. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and affiliate programs make up a large percentage of the shared web hosting business, while some are non-profit.
How Good is Shared Hosting?
Shared hosting offers numerous websites the opportunity to share assets of a complex webserver. Many web hosting companies provide shared hosting plans for as little as $3.95 per month to $9.95 per month. These plans are significantly less expensive than other web hosting options, such as Dedicated or VPS servers. If you want to put things into perspective, a dedicated web server might cost anywhere from a couple hundred to thousands of dollars each month.
Shared web hosting services are suitable for small enterprises, blogs, and portfolio websites because of their low cost. When starting, it’s wise to keep your costs modest and always have the option to work your way up. Since many resources are unnecessary, you don’t need to waste money on them.
Are you wondering why shared hosting is so inexpensive? Think of it this way: if you rent a residence on your own, you’re liable for the entire monthly payment. But if you have roommates, you can split the rent, making the total amount owed by each much lower.
How Does Shared Hosting Work?
In a shared hosting setup, numerous websites get managed on the same server. Assets like disk space, CPU, and memory undergo distribution, and charges get divided among all users on the server. The low cost of shared hosting is due to shared real estate and services. Restrictions ensure everyone can use the server rather than one website hogging it (like roommates sharing common areas).
Even though some control panels support a mix of name-based and IP-based on the same server, shared web hosting may be achievable in two ways: name-based and Internet Protocol-based (IP-based).
In name-based virtual hosting, also known as shared IP hosting, the virtual hosts serve numerous domain names on a single system using a particular IP address. It’s feasible because when an internet browser uses HTTP/1.1 to access a resource from a web server, the desired hostname gets included in the application. The server uses this metadata to identify which web page should be accessible to the viewer.
Each virtual host has its own IP address in IP-based virtual hosting, also known as dedicated IP hosting. The website servers are equipped with several physical networking interfaces or virtualized networking interfaces on the same network link. The web server software determines which website to show the user based on the IP address the client connects to. Because IP addresses are becoming increasingly rare, the main reason for a site to employ a dedicated IP is to use its own SSL/TLS certification instead of a shared one.
What Are the Important Features of Shared Web Hosting?
Essential Disk Space
Let’s begin with the basics. When someone wants to put up a website on the internet, they’ll need some disk space for data like coding scripts, datasets, and multimedia. The less vital this function is, the smaller the website. You’ll want users to access the data now that the hosted files have turned into a portal. This is where bandwidth comes into play. Consider a tunnel: the broader it is, the more data it can transmit.
Many web providers supply unrestricted bandwidth but constrain traffic speed, which might affect the website’s functionality. So when you’re looking for a decent shared plan, keep bandwidth and traffic speed in mind. Again, the larger the website, the more disk space clients want. Added hardware disk security is an excellent feature rarely provided in shareable programs.
Technical support will potentially be your eyes, ears, and just about everything else if you’re unfamiliar with web hosting. As a result, we recommend that you make good technical support a priority when looking for a web host. Also, look through forums where people talk about web hosting to get an inside perspective. You’ll have many questions, and many of them will need rapid answers – which is why customer support response time is so essential.
Many web hosting companies cram so many extra features into their shared plans that it’s impossible to keep track of them all – unlimited selections, pre-installed applications, additional services, and more. You’ll need to focus solely on the pre-installed applications, which are specific tools that assist you in swiftly creating and managing a website. The control panel is one of the most convenient tools, so if your shared plan has a control panel, you can sit back and relax. You’ll be able to operate even the most complex server procedures using a simple interface.
Although cPanel is the most common control panel, some website hosts may provide you with an alternative or potentially their own control panel. Most control panels now come with one-click install applications with extra features like e-commerce, including payment and checkout mechanisms, with a single click. Additionally, you can have a CMS ready for quick and easy implementation. Please remember that most of those capabilities are not essential if you already know how to create a promotional website or a portfolio.
Uptime refers to the period when your website is operational and visitors can access it easily. It’s commonly a percentage of total predicted uptime (twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week). You might not require 100 percent uptime when you get shared hosting – a 98 percent success rate is also reasonable. While picking a hosting package, don’t be fooled by what providers say regarding uptime; they may employ the best servers for their corporate website while you receive a subpar one.
Be aware that most web hosting companies don’t incorporate expensive security features in their low-cost shared hosting plans. For example, if the package contains RAID, server backup, manual server restart, complex network design, or other comparable services, your server will be safer.
Lastly, because there’s a relatively large market for shared web hosting, many services entice more customers by giving free incentives. Some will provide a free domain name, website transfer, site-building tools, or other appealing features.
But when it comes to such extra perks, be sure to be aware of renewal costs. The service may provide you with a free domain for the first year, but you’ll have to make yearly payments after that. If a company gives you free services, carefully read the terms and conditions.
Think about what your website needs to determine which features are necessary and optional. Keep cost and dependability at the forefront of your mind – any web host has to have a decent price-to-reliability balance. However, if someone wants to learn more about the firm, they can always check relevant testimonials and websites.
Is Shared Hosting Secure?
While shared hosting may be the most cost-effective option for running your website, it may endanger overall security and performance. Clients frequently ask about the chances of their websites being hacked due to shared hosting. Undoubtedly, shared hosting has some security risks that might result in a compromised website.
If this happens, hackers can spam your consumers, show undesirable information, and divert the readers to unfamiliar internet sites using your webpage. When Google discovers that your site has been exploited, they’ll instantly flag it, and the web host will deactivate your service.
Luckily, you can take measures to protect your website from this.
The Top Risks Of Shared Web Hosting
Imagine the shared server as an apartment complex with other residents and some shared areas, such as the elevator, staircase, and lounge.
If one individual doesn’t follow correct safety measures and secure their windows, a burglar can sneak into the shared spaces. This intruder is now inside, trying to access more apartments and cause trouble.
In the same way, if one website on the shared server gets attacked, hackers can use their access to target other websites on the same server.
Every webpage has its own folder with documents, graphics, and other metadata. On your internet server, this folder is within a ‘directory.’
One specific directory will only have the website’s files on a specialized server. However, with shared hosting, there’s a single directory containing the files of numerous websites. Even though your site has its own name and contents, it links to the other internet sites on your server by using the same directory.
This implies that if a hacker gains entry to the central directory, they’ll also attack all websites on the same server by executing algorithms to find any weaknesses. Researchers are unclear over why this happens, but it might be due to an out-of-date plugin on the site – hackers exploit this flaw after discovering it to get access to the system.
Slowed Loading Time
If another webpage on your pooled server gets hacked, it may affect your speed. When a website is invaded, cybercriminals can use it to carry out illegal acts such as storing files and directories such as the wp-feed.php file, sending spam emails, and initiating assaults on other websites.
Because of this, the hacked website consumes more assets than the shared server allows, slowing down your website. It’s also possible that your webpage will become sluggish and unreachable.
Distributed Denial of Service
If other websites on the shared servers have a significant traffic increase, your website may become unresponsive.
When a hacker tries taking down a website, they use hundreds of malware bots and devices to overwhelm it with traffic. This tactic is a DDoS assault (Distributed Denial of Service).
Due to the rapid increase in traffic, the website under assault will start consuming more system resources. This overuse will result in your webpage having fewer available resources and influence its efficiency and functionality.
Conjoint IP Address
An IP address is a one-of-a-kind code that recognizes a device connected to the internet, such as a smartphone or a laptop. Servers, in particular, are internet-connected hardware – that’s why each one has its own IP address.
On the other hand, a shared server has a single IP address, implying that all of the websites hosted on it also have the same IP address.
The IP address of a neighbouring website that engages in unlawful behaviour or spams its consumers is banned and marked as harmful. This flagging will result in a variety of issues for your website:
- Your website will be flagged as dangerous by firewalls, preventing visitors from accessing it.
- Your IP address will get blocked by email services like Gmail, so every email you send will go to your customers’ spam folders.
- Your site will be marked as unsafe by search engines like Google.
Protecting a Website From Shared Web Hosting Security Breaches
While the most straightforward solution is not to use shared hosting, the reality is that not everybody can afford a personal server and IP address. We’ve compiled a list of precautions you can follow to avoid the hazards of shared hosting on your site:
Using a Security Plugin
Whether or not you’ve shared hosting or a personal server, you need to take this precaution on your website. An effective security plugin will provide your site with a robust barrier against hackers and other harmful behaviour. The security plugin should identify and inform you if hackers on your shared platform try to get control of your site or run malicious operations.
Running Evaluations On The Shared Host
We recommend evaluating different hosting companies and seeing what security measures they implement on their servers.
Most reputable hosts have strategies to combat the identified risks. Read reviews left by previous buyers. Users can also receive additional information about the host’s security by contacting the customer support staff through chat or phone.
Make sure the hosting company keeps your website’s atmosphere different from others. It indicates that the first site’s setting should not be available to the second site’s environment.
Blocking PHP Execution For Unknown Folders
If a loophole on your website gets discovered, hackers will use it to make their own archives and directories. This weakness will allow them to carry out malicious actions on your site, such as diverting traffic or sending unsolicited information to consumers.
Typically, they run code written in the PHP programming language. While PHP is necessary on your website, it is only usable in specific files. By restricting PHP execution in untrusted directories, you may prevent hackers from continuing with unwanted actions.
You may do it manually or use a security plugin to accomplish it in a few seconds.
Altering File Permissions
To avoid hackers on a shared server attempting to access your web files, you can set the appropriate file permissions to guarantee that only you have access to them.
The Steps Taken By Highly Secure Shared Web Hosting Services
It might be hard to tell whether hosting providers have highly secure servers if you don’t know where to look. When hunting for the most secure hosting service, keep the following characteristics in mind.
RAID is a specific data-protection system. It protects your data against spammers and viruses even if the system fails. That is why web host servers need to come pre-installed with RAID. However, because this feature is somewhat costly, it won’t be in most shared programs, and some web hosts charge an additional price for RAID.
Safe and Reliable Data Centers
Natural catastrophes can occur at any time. Some top hosting companies will supply you with secure premises, backup generators, and other safeguards. If you haven’t picked a secure website provider, hurricanes, power outages, and earthquakes might compromise the security and consistency of your website. Also, pay attention to the location of your web host’s data centers; choose the ones that are not vulnerable to natural catastrophes.
Many firms provide the option of creating a database backup in case of an issue. Daily, weekly, and monthly backups are the most typical alternatives. Daily backups are the most preferable, so if your server goes down, the backup will be able to recover the most recent version of the website.
Some web servers provide manual backup, which is much better because you can do it whenever you make changes to your websites. Finally, many service providers have backup restrictions (e.g., a maximum of 10GB), so carefully read all backup terms before purchasing a hosting package.
Highly Secure Domain Names
The domain name you choose for your website is critical to its security. The most prevalent top-level domains are .com and .org, although other TLDs are gaining popularity. To get a better domain name, you can consider selecting a newer TLD.
At the other end, up-and-coming top domains such as .men, .click, and .work are among the most dangerous on the internet. So if you’re going to use a TLD that isn’t one of the more popular choices, do some research ahead of time to be sure the domain you pick is secure.
Cloud hosting is the only form of hosting that can ensure 100% uptime. About eight years ago, cloud hosting had a negative image for being less safe than other types of internet hosting, but cloud hosting is just as secure as the other different types of hosting.
If you don’t want or desire cloud hosting, a safe web hosting company with an uptime guarantee of at least 99.9% or higher suffices. Occasional shortages aren’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if you’re a startup with few website visits to start. If this is the case, your best bet is to look for safe web hosts that compensate you for any potential downtime.
How To Know When To Use Shared Hosting
When choosing between hosting service providers, clients should look for the best service at a reasonable price. It’s essential to examine fundamental factors such as resource needs, budget and price, and security considerations while deciding the hosting type.
If you’re a starting entrepreneur, or blogger, or have a simple website, a Shared Hosting option is appropriate. It’s the most cost-effective and sensible hosting option for several websites on a single server.
However, when your website expands and receives a lot of traffic, you’ll need to change to a more advanced hosting option like VPS Hosting or Cloud Server Hosting. VPS Hosting is similar to Shared Server Hosting; however, each website that uses this service gets its own private server to host its website. As a result, a Virtual Private Server is more dependable, versatile, and secure than a Shared Server.
What Are the Advantages of Shared Hosting?
Affordable For Most People
As we’ve said, shared hosting plans are often quite affordable, with initial promotional pricing as low as a few dollars per month. After the specialized time expires, those costs often increase to the site’s standard package fee. But even at those regular prices, shared hosting remains the most economical choice for basic website hosting. While shared hosting usually comes with a limited number of extra features, it includes everything you need to run a small website.
Accessibility Isn’t An Issue
Because of the low cost and widespread availability of shared hosting, almost anybody can register an account, sign an agreement, and start building a website. Most generic web hosting companies offer this hosting type, but it may not be accessible from hosting companies that specialize in particular niches or website types.
A new shared hosting subscription usually comes with the necessary tools to get a modest website up and running. Some features, like one-click installs of website management software and easy website builders, are free and come standard with a new account. Other than that, you can purchase more features separately. Users can take advantage of the host’s built-in tools to design their website somewhere else and export it to the hosting service, or they can keep up with the host’s site creation and content management choices, depending on their skill level.
Room For Scaling
New websites and micro-businesses with hardly any traffic should use shared hosting. This option enables them to stay within the constraints imposed by multiple users relying on a shared server’s scarce resources while still allowing sites to expand — to some extent. Once a website hits a particular amount of monthly traffic or consumes all of its allocated disk space, you may need to upgrade to a higher tier of shared hosting or migrate to a different type of hosting altogether.
No Design Skills Required
A new site owner’s first step into the realm of website development may be establishing a shared hosting plan. However, they may not always have the financial wherewithal to employ a designer to construct and administer their site. Most shared hosting companies offer simple site construction tools that allow you to set up a modest website without requiring expert website development skills or coding knowledge.
Clients with no prior web designing experience can alter a site’s look and settings and manage its website content from a single control panel. More web-savvy customers can make more personalized changes using popular site builders and CMS alternatives as long as they stay within the restrictions of the provider’s license.
Although shared hosting customers typically set up and administer their own websites, they can seek assistance from the hosting company’s support personnel for various difficulties ranging from fundamental setup issues to debugging particular problems as they emerge. Users can also consult the host site’s instructions and FAQs to resolve difficulties and make necessary changes to their sites. Many companies additionally provide site setup employing several site builders for an extra cost.
This user-friendly choice gives web creators on a budget a method to effortlessly build an internet presence since this type of hosting service is economical, accessible, and even modestly expandable.
What Are the Disadvantages of Shared Hosting?
Limits on Unlimited Plans
Shared hosting providers spend a fortune on advertising, and “unlimited everything” is one of the perks they tend to highlight. What they may offer to be “unlimited” has no borders: infinite space, indefinite emails, maximum bandwidths, and so on. However, you’ll quickly discover that nothing is truly limitless. As your email accounts accumulate a high number of emails, you’ll receive a notification when the website begins taking up a lot of space. And if it starts to consume a lot of bandwidth, you may also be blocked.
Extra Charges For The SSL Certificates
The upfront price of shared hosting is low, but when you want to add a feature, you’ll have to pay more. SSL certificates are a fine example – many shared hosting companies don’t supply SSL certificates for free, resulting in a “Not Secure” notice on your webpage. These licenses are accessible for free from some other firms. On shared hosting, though, you’ll still have to pay for them. When you include in the cost of purchasing an SSL certification from shared hosting, the expense of hosting services becomes a significant disadvantage.
Other Websites Can Hold You Down
If your website gets hosted on a server with lots of other internet sites that receive a large amount of traffic, the overall server will slow or stop, which will slow down your website.
Insufficient Technical Support
Even though shared hosting providers sometimes offer speedy help, the support staff may be inexperienced. They might be unable to assist you if the website has a malfunction and only reactivate it for you if it starts going down. They might even be stumped if you question why it continues going down.
High Chance Of Vulnerability
This factor is undoubtedly one of the most significant disadvantages of shared hosting, and you should avoid it at all costs. If one website on a server gets hacked, all other websites on the same server are also at risk. And if the server is compromised, every website on the network is also threatened. So, even if you don’t make a mistake, your website is in danger in a shared hosting system. In all fairness, shared hosting firms do their best to segregate websites, but this isn’t always possible.
The Website May Become Sluggish On Busy Days
Shared hosting firms include safeguards that kill processes if a website uses too many to prevent a single website from utilizing too many server resources. Your shared hosting web server may notify you that your website takes a lot of resources and may be blocked. What this means is that if your website gets popular and receives a lot of traffic, it might potentially go down (for example, because it got featured on another website or because an influencer recommended it). Consider the irony: you built the website in the hopes of it becoming popular, but when it does, it can get suspended, as if popularity was a felony.
Limitations From The Shared Host Provider
Shared hosting servers allow you to install a restricted number of applications on your server. As a result, you could be out of luck if you want to download anything that isn’t on that checklist.
Who Should Use Shared Hosting?
Most users are new to web hosting or don’t need the server to have extra features. Shared hosting isn’t just for hobbyist bloggers and modest business owners. It can handle up to 100,000 visits each month, equating to around 3000 people per day.
These numbers make it ideal for firms with a handful of employees. Also, most of them don’t want to deal with any routine maintenance or constantly supervise server activity. They want to show the whole world their services or products and make as much money as possible in the shortest amount of time.
With a shared hosting solution, the company owner only has to worry about managing and running the website, while the hosting provider handles everything else. In addition, the number of visits is mostly determined by the business’s advertising techniques and campaigns, and it will be typically low early on.
If the amount of visits exceeds the limit set by the hosting provider, they’ll always offer you the chance to upgrade to a higher plan with more capacity. And if that doesn’t work out, you can cancel the service with a few clicks if your site doesn’t bring sufficient income or traffic.
Some Advice For Choosing A Reliable Shared Web Host
When looking for a reputable web host, you’ll know what things to look for. Remember that we’re only showing the most commonly used traps and frauds – there are plenty more out there.
Traffic And Speed
Many web hosting businesses may claim to offer unlimited bandwidth, traffic, or anything else. Some provide this feature, while others will only supply you with “limited unlimited” bandwidth.
In most circumstances, you’ll get a limitless amount of traffic. However, the transfer speed will be limited to around one megabit per second. If your project is relatively new, that restriction will not influence you; nevertheless, as your project expands, you’ll see the implications of this limitation.
Other web hosts will supply you with high traffic speeds alongside capacity restrictions. On the other end, a relative handful of web servers will provide you with no traffic speed or capacity restrictions but will confine the number of people that may access your webpage monthly. Make sure you read the terms of service thoroughly, including the sections on traffic speed.
Most web servers will guarantee a specific level of uptime. While some people honour their agreements, some do not.
Other websites provide impartial uptime measurements on the internet. But these statistics should be taken with a grain of salt: they collect data by counting the uptime of web providers’ home pages. The providers are aware of this and employ their best servers to host websites, even if some of their other servers operate poorly.
You might end up paying a lot of money for extra fees or hidden costs. Some services offer more features for additional payments during the sign-up process, but some web providers have these things pre-chosen for you, so be cautious throughout the sign-up phase.
Users Per Server
Users of shared plans should especially be aware of this – when clients buy a shared package, they only receive a portion of a server. As a result, you may find yourself in a tricky situation, and the site may be prohibited.
Some service providers claim they only have a certain number of customers on a single server to avoid this. Here’s the catch: most web hosting businesses, according to insiders, don’t truly match that criterion.
Annual Renewal Costs
When users sign up, they’re provided with some services at no cost, but after a year or two, they’ll pay a lot to retain the things that were previously free.
This pricing structure is relatable to domain names in general. Many web hosting companies will give you a free domain name for the first year. Service providers will almost never adopt this technique with their own hosting plans: you’ll be given a fantastic bargain for the first year and double prices for the second year. As a result, it’s crucial that you thoroughly read the user agreement.
There are many hosting services in the industry, but only a few reputable names from which to pick. Make sure your shared web hosting service has reliable support, 99.9% uptime, and money-back guarantees. It’s about time for you to take the leap and create your very own website.