Shared web Hosting
What is Shared Hosting?
Like an apartment building divided into apartments then rented out to multiple tenants, web hosting service's divide a shared web server's disk space up into discrete units, selling these accounts to website owners for monthly fees.
The web hosting service is responsible for administering the server, including configuring services, keeping the operating system and other software up-to-date, securing the server, detecting and fixing problems ideally before the customers notice.
If you're an individual or small business person who's website isn't mission-critical and doesn't get a lot of traffic, then shared hosting's likely a good fit. A shared web hosting account's sufficient for most individuals, organizations, and small businesses.
Advantages of Shared Hosting
- Cost-effective: Shared hosting's the most cost-effective way to host your website.
- Newbie friendly: Nearly all shared hosting plans include a web hosting control panel, usually cPanel, enabling non-technical users to manage their web hosting services.
- Managed server: The hosting service manages the server, maintaining the hardware, configuring the services, updating the software, keeping the server secure, and fixing problems, all so you can focus on your own website rather than getting bogged down in server minutia.
- Up and running fast: The hosting service has already spun the server up, installed all the necessary server software (e.g., web server packages), and installed a control panel. The hosting service provides a platform designed for shared hosting customers to get their sites up fast.
Disadvantages of Shared Hosting
- Website performance: Since shared hosting customers share server resources, the performance of a website hosted on a shared server's affected by the other websites hosted on the server. If the hosting service puts too many customers on your shared server or if you're sharing a server with a high-traffic website, your site will likely load slower probably during peak hours when you want your site to respond fast.
- Little control: The hosting company controls the server, never granting root (administrative) access to shared hosting customers, limiting the configuration and software options to a standard set of technology stacks available to shared hosting customers.
Do I need shared hosting?
- If you're a hobbyist or small business person who's website isn't mission-critical and doesn't get a lot of traffic, then shared hosting's likely a good choice. A shared web hosting account's sufficient for most individuals, organizations, and small businesses.
- If you expect your website to get fewer than 100,000 page views per day, then shared hosting will likely work fine for you. If your site does more than 3 or 4 database queries each time it renders a page, then the number of page views per day your shared hosting can comfortably handle may be lower.
- Once you start approaching 100,000 pageviews or you see your site's performance start to degrade, it's time to start thinking about cloud hosting, Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting, or even dedicated server hosting.
- A slow website can scare away customers, and it affects your Google Pagerank. As of July 9, 2018, Google has started using page speed in mobile search ranking. Shared hosting's great but it's crucial to monitor the logs in cPanel, tracking your site's metrics, switching plans before you redline your shared hosting.
What should I look for in a Shared Hosting service?
- A strong Service Level Agreement (SLA): Hosting plans should come with an SLA that specifies a guaranteed uptime expressed as an annual percentage of at least 99%, delineating reimbursement for site owners if uptime falls short. You'll sometimes find the SLA in the Terms of Service.
- Control panels: Confirm that your web hosting package includes the cPanel web hosting control panel as it's it's by far the most popular hosting control panel.
Select a plan that includes cPanel and you can move your hosting to nearly any web hosting service you choose without missing a beat.
The only time you would want to choose a hosting package that included a control panel other than cPanel would be if you need Windows hosting (e.g. if you use ASP.NET). Plesk is the most popular web panel for Windows hosting.
- Good technical support: More important than whether support's available 24/7 is how responsive and helpful the support reps are when you contact them. Good support makes all the difference when something goes wrong.
Chat and trouble tickets are great, but occasionally you're going to want to talk to someone helpful on the phone.
To help you choose a hosting service with good support, read lots of hosting reviews and try to test the technical support yourself by contacting them through chat and by phone.