What Is Shared Hosting? Ultimate Beginner’s Guide

Are you wondering, “what is shared hosting?” We have the answer.

Shared hosting is a popular hosting solution for beginners. It is cost-effective and requires little to no technical expertise because the hosting provider will take care of the server configuration. 

In a shared hosting environment, one physical web server hosts multiple websites simultaneously. Each website will share the server resources, including its bandwidth and RAM. Since performance can be an issue, shared hosting may not be the perfect choice for high-traffic websites like eCommerce stores.

Quick note: This article will explain everything you need to know about shared hosting services. We will explore the factors to consider, strengths, weaknesses, and some of the best shared hosting providers to choose from.

Let’s get started.

What Is Shared Hosting?

Things to Consider When Looking For Shared Hosting

Since there are many options, choosing an excellent shared hosting service can be challenging. Have a look at some factors to consider when choosing a shared hosting plan:

  • Server reliability. This includes the hosting service’s uptime and response time. The former is the total time the server fully functions, while the latter measures how fast the server processes a user’s request. 
  • Infrastructure. Check if the hosting environment is compatible with your website’s technology, including the content management system and PHP versions. 
  • Server space. The disk space is where all the website files, scripts, emails, and multimedia are stored. For faster performance, go for a hosting provider offering a solid state drive (SSD) disk space. 
  • RAM. Short for random access memory, this technology temporarily stores programs for faster retrieval. The more programs run in the background, the more RAM resources you need. You should calculate how much RAM it requires to ensure smooth performance for your website type. 
  • Bandwidth. Expressed in MB/s, it refers to the maximum amount of data the server can transfer over a specified period. The bigger the bandwidth, the better a site will perform in peak traffic times.
  • Server locations. Choose a hosting provider whose shared servers are closest to your target audience to reduce latency. 
  • Security. Robust firewalls, regular malware scans, DDoS protection, and automated backups are among the crucial security measures a hosting provider should offer.
  • Control panel. It refers to a web-based graphical user interface where site owners can manage and maintain their shared hosting package. Some popular examples include cPanel, Webmin, Plesk, and hPanel – a GUI control panel by Hostinger.
  • Customer support. If you encounter a crash or error, a customer service agent can help resolve it. Hence, choosing a shared hosting provider offering 24/7 support is crucial. As for communication channels, live chat, phone calls, and email tickets are some of the most popular options. 
  • Technical support. Most shared hosting services are managed. This is perfect for a first-timer, as it helps accelerate the setup and configuration processes. On the other hand, unmanaged hosting includes premium solutions like VPS and dedicated hosting. They are perfect for an experienced user who wants more freedom in the website development process.

Pros and Cons of Shared Web Hosting

Shared hosting may not be the right fit for eCommerce websites. However, it’s a great option for personal sites like blogs, portfolio websites, and online resumes. Before purchasing a shared hosting plan, let’s review its pros and cons.

Pros

Here are the advantages of shared hosting:

  • Ease of use. Shared hosting is the best option for beginners as it requires little to no technical knowledge about server-side maintenance. 
  • Fast setup. Setting up a website on a shared hosting server is quick and easy. Many web hosting companies provide an intuitive dashboard where site owners can manage and make changes to their sites.
  • Scalability. In case of a web traffic surge, site owners can request a hosting account upgrade. Then, the web hosting service provider will grant more resources to help the websites handle heavy traffic.
  • Auto installer. Usually, a hosting company offers a one-click installer for popular content management systems like WordPress and eCommerce platforms like PrestaShop.

Cons

Here are the disadvantages of shared hosting:

  • Resource limitations. Each website hosted on a shared server will have its own allocated resources. If your account overloads the server, your web host may suspend your account. Website owners typically migrate from the shared environment to VPS hosting, cloud hosting, or dedicated server hosting to cater to their site’s growing needs. 
  • Security. As you will share a server with more than one website, a security breach on one of those sites can affect yours. 
  • Performance. Issues can happen when one of the sites hosted on the same server experiences an influx in traffic. This may lead to poor page load time and crashes.
  • Technical limitations. They include file restrictions, a security precaution to avoid malware infections. Hence, some web hosts may limit the file types that users can upload to their sites.

Best Shared Hosting Companies

If you’re still unsure which web host to choose, don’t worry. In this section, we’ll share five reputable web hosting companies to consider:

1. Hostinger

Hostinger is one of the most popular hosting companies, Hostinger offers shared hosting plans.

For $2.69/month (Special Pricing), Hostinger’s shared hosting plan is optimized for WordPress and packs unlimited bandwidth, an unlimited SSL certificate, 100 GB SSD storage, and a free domain name for a year. While Hostinger offers technical features like Git, SSH Access, and unlimited cron jobs, one disadvantage is that this plan only offers weekly backups. 

2. Bluehost

bluehost

Bluehost ($2.95/mo) is one of three web hosts officially recommended by WordPress, and it’s on our list of best shared hosting companies.

Bluehost provides a user-friendly panel for installing and configuring WordPress sites. This makes it particularly useful if you’re looking to setup a WordPress site. Bluehost’s one click intuitive dashboard and award-winning 24/7 support mean your site will be up and running in no time.

You’ll also get a free domain name if you pay for your hosting account up front for one year or more.

3. HostArmada

hostarmada

HostArmada ($2.49/mo) – For those seeking fast, affordable & highly secured SSD-based web hosting, HostArmada is a great choice.

Their shared and WordPress hosting solutions are available at attractive prices, with exceptional hosting features such as free domain, SSL, free backups, free website transfer, and excellent customer support.

4. GreenGeeks

greengeeks

GreenGeeks ($2.95/mo) – If you’re looking for a shared hosting provider with eco-friendly data centers and servers, try GreenGeeks. It provides a reliable and faster website experience with its optimized network.

It’s shared hosting plans are tailored for both beginners and professionals. Shared hosting starts at $2.95/mo, with additional resources like RAM and CPU available on a pay-as-you-go basis.

5. InMotion

InMotion

Among InMotion hosting plans, Power is the best deal. With $2.29/month, users will get many premium features. They include unmetered bandwidth, unlimited NVMe SSD, 12x UltraStack Speed & Performance, advanced caching, and automatic backups.

Its Hosting Plus feature allows users to build their sites using Python, Node.JS, and Ruby. All in all, this hosting company falls into the expensive category.


Conclusion

As one of the most cost-effective solutions, shared hosting is an excellent fit for first-timers who want to build personal websites. Here are some of the reasons to choose shared hosting for your websites:

  • Ease of use. Shared hosting requires little to no technical knowledge about server maintenance. 
  • Quick and easy setup. Many web hosts offer an intuitive control panel where site owners can initiate administrative tasks.
  • Scalability. Most providers can grant an account upgrade during a traffic surge at the site owner’s request.
  • Auto installer. The one-click installer for popular content management systems is a handy tool to save time.

On top of everything, consider the server reliability, support, and infrastructure before going with a hosting company. You should also calculate how many resources your site needs so that it can grow in the best possible environment. 

Good luck!

Read: Managed Hosting vs Shared Hosting: Which is Better?


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Shared Server Hosting

This section answers some of the most frequently asked questions about shared website hosting services.

What is shared web hosting?

Shared hosting allows users to host their sites with other websites on a shared server. Those websites will share the web server’s resources, including processors, RAM, and storage space.

What is the difference between web hosting and shared hosting?

Web hosting is the general term for a service that allows users to publish a web page. Shared hosting is one of the hosting types, and it hosts multiple websites on a single server.

Is shared hosting a good choice?

It depends on the project. Shared hosting comes with limitations, including unstable performance and security issues. Hence, we do not recommend it for online stores. However, this hosting solution is great for personal websites, such as blogs, portfolio websites, and online resumes.

What is the advantage of shared hosting versus dedicated hosting or VPS hosting?

Shared hosting is more beginner-friendly than dedicated or VPS hosting services. This hosting solution is also cost-effective. So if you’re on a tight budget, this hosting type is a good choice.

What is the difference between shared hosting and WordPress hosting?

Shared hosting allows users to host their sites on a shared server. Meanwhile, WordPress hosting is optimized for the content management system. For example, it may come with WordPress-specific features like LiteSpeed Cache for WordPress and WordPress Command Line Interface.

What is Linux shared hosting?

Linux shared hosting uses the Linux operating system in its web server architecture. As Linux is open-source, site owners can use the programming language of their choice, including PHP and MySQL. Security-wise, Linux is an alternative operating system that’s safer than Windows.

What is the difference between reseller hosting and shared hosting?

With a shared hosting service, users should only use their accounts for themselves. In comparison, reseller hosting enables individuals or organizations to sell hosting services. 

What is the difference between shared and cloud hosting?

Shared hosting allows hosting providers to host multiple sites on one physical server. On the other hand, cloud hosting uses virtualization technology to split one server into numerous cloud servers. This results in a network of interconnected cloud servers. 

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About Author
Anil Agarwal is the Founder of Bloggerspassion. He is a full-time blogger and SEO expert who has been helping people build profitable blogs for over a decade Now. He has been featured in Over 100 Publications including Forbes, The HuffPost, HubSpot, Shopify, Semrush, Kinsta, Bluehost, Hostinger and G2.com etc. Know more about Anil Agarwal from here.

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