What is Shared Hosting and how does it work?
Ready to launch your own website?
You will need to start by finding a web hosting provider. Why is that? The obvious answer is to store your site’s files and pages on an internet server so that it’s available to visitors around the world 24/7.
The most common and most affordable type of hosting plan is shared hosting.
Shared Hosting is often compared to renting a flat – with your landlord being your Hosting provider, and your flat being your website hosting space.
You share the entire building with neighbors and each have their private space. You share the same building address but you each pay a separate bill.
To keep rates affordable, your host will allot a limited amount of server resources, so that multiple clients share the cost of maintaining the server. If you have limited funds or minimal requirements, shared hosting may be your best option.
Chapter 1: What is Shared Hosting?
So what is shared hosting exactly?
As you explore the potential in different web hosting companies. You will find that most if not all of them provide shared hosting solutions.
It’s the most affordable type of hosting, but it depends entirely on how much disk storage and bandwidth the host allows.
Your site remains separate from others and only you can access it. You can publish and manage your own pages as you like. But remember you have a fixed amount of disk space. This will limit the size of the files, applications, and databases you need to support your website and your visitor activity.
“Shared” means your website will exist on the same server along with other client sites. All of you will be competing for the same resources.
For example, when a neighbor’s website traffic starts to be too hungry, they may be using enough server bandwidth so that your own site’s performance is affected.
Although shared hosting by definition comes with restrictions. Your hosting provider can always make sure it’s still the simplest and most affordable way to get your site established online.
Chapter 2: How Does Shared Hosting Work?
Using Shared Web Hosting is pretty convenient. But you completely rely on your host. Your Host needs to ensure that the server functions properly. He also takes care of the server maintenance and all the technical details for you. These are some of the reason why you need to chose your host wisely.
You have a complete control over your own website. Usually, you will get access your own control panel.
Almost all Hosting plans come with a control panel. This control panel allows you to do tasks such as editing web pages, setting up email accounts, and installing software features in one-click.
On top of that, your host may offer technical support. Another must-have that we strongly recommend you consider, when selecting a Host. But in the end, you are responsible for managing your own website.
Always keep in mind that you can only use the RAM, processing power, and bandwidth to the limits specified by your host.
Your Host can divide up resources as he wishes. Set up limits of 10 GB or 100 GB for different clients on the same server.
If by any means you reach or exceed those, you may have the option of upgrading to a hosting plan with additional resources. But you’ll have to pay more.
Think of a shared hosting account like your rented apartment. Everyone shares common resources like the elevator or electricity, but you get your own limited private space.
Chapter 3: Advantages of Shared Hosting
Having to share essential resources may not seem like the optimal situation. Especially with numerous other customers on the same server. It is though the most affordable choice.
For small businesses or personal websites, saving money can be a major factor. And there are other advantages to a shared hosting account:
Scalability – Since your host probably has multiple servers, they’ll be able to offer a variety of shared hosting packages with differing limits. As your website expands, you’ll be able to upgrade to a package that offers greater resources. If you’re willing to pay more, the web host will take care of the rest at their end. You can also downsize again if business slows.
Features – The hosting industry is very competitive. Most hosts offer a range of features, such as dedicated databases or content platforms like WordPress ready to install. You will likely get your choice of widgets and add-ons like rotating banner tools or ecommerce shopping carts.
Operational Ease – The host company tries to maintain the best performance they can provide to their customers. You should have access to helpful support teams by phone or email. Highly qualified IT engineers are on staff to monitor the server and correct any issues. Your host will also have effective security in place to safeguard their own network and data centres for better protection of client accounts.
Management Tools – A website hosting provider can’t possibly keep up with hundreds of client changes, so they will make tools available that you can use to manage your site individually. Popular solutions like cPanel or Plesk are visually oriented control dashboards where you simply find and click on the right icon to launch utilities for checking email, installing apps, or checking visitor statistics.
Chapter 4: Disadvantages of Shared Hosting
The ease and affordability of shared hosting can seem like the right choice when you have only modest hosting needs.
But sometimes Shared Hosting will not be your perfect solution. There are drawbacks and disadvantages to a website existing in a Shared Hosting environment:
Performance – While your web hosting provider may work hard to give you the best possible performance, there’s always the chance that one or more sites running alongside your own may experience traffic spikes or engage in bulk data transfers, which could impact the performance of your own site. There’s also the possibility that some either site owner could introduce a corrupt file or conflicting setting that impacts server operations.
Program Restrictions – Your server will be running a particular operating system that may not be a suitable platform for some applications you want to install. Also, you may find that there are certain programs that are forbidden by your host because of their security or performance issues in a shared environment.
Resource Limitations – When it comes to bandwidth or disk space, in shared hosting environment you’re restricted by certain conditions. If you exceed your allotted resources, you may be charged with unexpected fees. Be sure to choose a web hosting provider that offers transparent pricing, so you can know exactly what to expect.
Security – A shared environment is the least secure hosting option. There is only one operating system and one machine supporting many websites. If even one website is infected with a virus due to someone downloading a program or file that’s infected. There’s a chance that the problem could spread, or bring down the entire server.
IP Address – Shared hosting often doesn’t allow you a dedicated IP address. A shared address could limit functions like FTP, remote access, and SSL protection.
Chapter 5: Alternatives to Shared Hosting
So what other solutions do you have except Shared Hosting?
If you decide that shared hosting isn’t right for your website needs, you have other alternatives.
For example you can always tend toward a virtual private server (VPS) or a dedicated server of your own.
Both are relatively more pricey, but you’ll have greater resources and more control over your website’s environment.
If you wish to know more about all the types of web hosting, we suggest you to have a look at our article here.
A VPS essentially performs as a dedicated server, but within a shared hosting environment. Technically, it’s a combination of both shared hosting and a dedicated server. VPS is something of a compromise.
This technology allows the host to run several different operating systems on the same machine. Your website will have sole use of the OS and it’s associated resources, essentially giving you a smaller virtual server that functions independently of any others.
A VPS gives you many of the benefits of having your own physical server, such as greater control and stability than shared hosting, but at a lower cost.
A dedicated server is a complete physical server that you are leasing for your own exclusive use. No other hosted accounts will exist on it and no other clients will have access to it.
Having your own physical server that you can set up and configure any way you wish gives you total freedom in your hosting environment. You can install any OS and software you want to create a custom experience. Having your own server to use gives you the most secure and stable hosting platform you can get.
A dedicated server is the most costly option, and you should have some solid technical knowledge to set up and manage one. But for larger companies, dedicated hosting gives you the most powerful solution without the expense of buying and maintaining your own server.
Understanding the different options available to you will help you make the right choice for your needs and budget.
Chapter 6: Conclusion
To conclude, we could say that shared hosting is the most popular solution when you’re ready to launch your own personal or professional website.
It’s always the most affordable option since the provider distributes the cost over all hosting accounts. This means the disk space and resources you can use are limited, but your host company takes care of server management and provides the tools you need to administer your website.
Shared hosting is the perfect option for those with minimal website requirements.
AUHost4u provides a number of different shared hosting plans that you can easily scale to your needs. Our state-of-the-art AU data centres ensure you get 99.99% guaranteed uptime and fast performance no matter which plan you choose. AUHost4u has been a premier web hosting within Australia for years because we never compromise the quality of our services.
If you have minimal needs or a constrained budget, shared hosting is the right choice. You can find budget hosting plans for as little as a few dollars per month, and you can always upgrade when you’re ready.
To learn more about our hosting packages, visit our site or contact our Live Chat available 24/7.