It is easy to choose a shared hosting plan for your website. There are so many reasons why it is so convenient. Firstly, it is cheap. Secondly, it doesn’t require any advanced knowledge to manage your hosting plan. Thirdly, a simple control panel allows you to take care of website’s needs. But all this convenience and cheap price come at a cost. Shared hosting plans can be less reliable and flexible compared to other hosting types. You spend less money so you will get lower quality and lesser value. That is the basic rule in the web hosting industry.
So before you choose shared hosting plan for your website, make sure to consider all the pros and cons of it.
Pros of Shared Hosting
1. It is Cheap
Shared hosting is cheaper than any other web hosting type. That is unless you want to get a free web hosting plan. Why it is cheap? Simple – the resources of a single server are “shared” with a large number of accounts. In general there are about 3000 shared hosting accounts on each dedicated server. Shared hosting is much more profitable to hosting companies, than VPS or dedicated, simply taking in account that the majority of the shared hosting websites are newbies to the web and use no system resources and have very little to none traffic.
If you have a small website running WordPress, Joomla or Drupal with up to 5000 visits per day, shared hosting is ideal for you. Keep in mind, that once you begin to stand out from the rest of the server users by using more server resources, you will get a call from hosting company asking you to upgrade to VPS or Dedicated and if you refuse they have the right to turn you off (read small print on the Terms of Service when you sign up).
Also keep in mind that hosting companies don’t make any money when they sign you up at $3.99/month. Only after you renew with them at the full price (often $8.99 – read the small print) at the end of the promotional period, they will start to auto rebill you every year for about $110. So make sure you sign up for the longest promo period (often 3 years) for the highest value.
This may seem like the performance combination of low price and convenience. Yes that is exactly what shared hosting is. You don’t need to have any technical knowledge to be able to host your site on the server. It is also cheap for you because you don’t have to recruit an IT professional to manage your web hosting. It is the hosting company that will take care of everything, including monitoring of the server and providing protection.
You don’t need to have any database or PHP knowledge. All popular web software, whether is WordPress, forum or an online store, can be easily installed with a single click by using Fantastico or Softaculous. Most of the shared hosting companies have it.
Despite the following cons, it is simply the most suitable type of hosting for small businesses that want to put up a website. Besides, because of the recent advances in technology, you can get access to vast resources even on shared servers. So an upgrade may not be required in the case of most businesses.
Cons of Shared Hosting
There are two main drawbacks of shared hosting and just like its pros, most of the other disadvantages revolve around these two factors.
1. Limited Resources
The server’s resources are all shared between the websites hosted on it. Your website is just one site among these hundreds. So you will be competing with other sites for the resources. You can easily guess that at least a dozen of those sites are going to experience some issues or a spike in their web traffic. As and when they do, they start taking up more resources and your website will slow down or get adversely affected. So that cheap price comes at an additional cost. You could start losing potential customers.
If your website gets very popular, you’ll have to move it to dedicated or VPS server for fast access and stable performance.
2. Security Concerns
A shared server is limited not only in resources but also in features. You cannot install your own software (like server side antivirus) to protect your site. You are not allowed to do that. You can only make changes to your blogs and operate email.
So if any of those hundreds of other sites think of running some scripts (malicious or not), your security could be easily threatened. There have been numerous instances of hackers getting through the information stored for other sites on their servers. But realistically to the virtual technologies have advanced quite far that security issue remain within one hosting account and don’t affect the other neighbours on the server.
3. Insufficient Customization
Shared hosting companies give you enough environment to install WordPress or popular CMS (Joomla, ModX, Drupal etc) only with default configuration and often don’t allow you to modify system files to tweak the performance of your hosting account. With Dedicated and often with VPS hosting you have full control.
4. You are really not the boss
All hosting companies have tight terms of services written. Some of the common highlights:
- You will be renewed at full price (around $8.99) automatically at the end of the promo period.
- You can only use your shared hosting for website related files storage. You cannot upload your personal documents via FTP as a backup.
- You will be turned off if you start generating substantial traffic.
- You will be turned off if your website will be a target by DDOS or similar attacks.
- It’s NEVER unlimited. The “unlimited” is the marketing word for hosting companies. Once you abuse your hard drive space or bandwidth, you will be turned off.
Shared hosting is an excellent way for a new and small business to immediately establish basic online presence. If you have neither time or money shared hosting is a great way to get started. But before choosing a package, however, take some time to run complete examination of the hosting provides do your homework, read reviews, study their offers, or simply see our list of the best shared hosting plans, as we have done the work for you!
We’d love to hear about your experience! Don’t be shy to comment.