First things first: I am not against shared hosting. I have hosted and still host two websites on shared hosting and the traffic is upward of 1,00,000 visitors per month on these sites, so whatever I am sharing on this post is coming from user’s perspective and not biased.
What is shared hosting?
Shared hosting is hosting solution for your website, in which your website gets hosting space which is shared with other websites (sometimes hundreds of them) on a server, owned by your hosting company.
Without any doubt, these servers are of good configuration. And they can handle the load. Plus you get lots of features at low cost.
Not every website designed for high traffic or gets high traffic (this you can change). In reality, there are lots of websites, which has traffic less than 5000 per month.
For example, the website of a local business. Most of their client and thus website visitors will be local people, which means in the best condition at most 10,000 visitors per month. Thus, this kind of website doesn’t require high-end features.
Due to this scenario, web hosting companies can comfortably club together needs of such websites into a single package. These features can be easily served by a single server, serving several websites. These websites are sharing the resources like bandwidth, processing power etc. (*unlimited version is with its own limitation as explained below)
Unlimited is what is there in most of the marketing campaigns on web hosting. This unlimited is limited by the server, processing, storage and bandwidth. It’s like your website is free to use as many resources as it requires. But if the usage starts to affect other websites on the same server, then your website’s services will be either restricted or you will be asked to move to higher hosting plan.
How is shared hosting beneficial?
Shared is still beneficial (which is the reason it is the most popular selling package of hosting companies). As mentioned above, the majority of websites don’t require huge resources to run smoothly.
Even if your website is media (images or videos) heavy, you can host them on Flickr, amazon s3, youtube and other media sites, to take the load off your hosting server. Then you can serve most of the content through CDN ( cloud distribution network) to load the page faster and use fewer resources on your hosting server.
Plus shared hosting is recommended solution for any (or all) the below-mentioned scenarios:
- You are first time user and test your idea before committing to it seriously
- Your website is still small (in terms of traffic) and you don’t need much of processing power to serve many users at a single time.
- Your website doesn’t offer lots of media heavy stuff.
- You don’t have more than 500 posts (WordPress based website).
PLUS: You can always upgrade your hosting plan at a later date when you need it.
When to avoid shared hosting?
Let’s look deeper into TOS or user agreements of ‘unlimited’ shared website hosting packages:
- Siteground: Our Fair Use Policy sets out certain limitations on the allocation of Server resources, aiming to allocate all our customers fair and adequate use of the Services. and: If in any calendar month your use of bandwidth exceeds that basic allocation, the Service will be limited.
- Bluehost: In order to ensure a consistent and quality experience for all Subscribers, Bluehost does place automated safeguards to protect against any one site growing too quickly and adversely impacting the system until Bluehost can evaluate said sites resource needs. And then there is limitations on database sizes and other restrictions.
And so on..
These restrictions are there by every hosting solution providers, because this is how they are able to provide cheap and reliable services to large number of costumers. They have to safeguard the interest of their costumers against any one website on server, eating excessive resources.
So, when to avoid shared website hosting as solution? Below mentioned criteria are good guidelines to decide about what type of hosting will suit your needs. This is in addition to reasons mentioned in previous subheading.
- You are serious about your website. Means you have researched your idea, have made up and blueprint about how you will develop and grow your website. This requires a properly configured server at back end from the word go.
- Your website is going to be media heavy. Though you can serve content from third part server, it will require relevant settings on your website and beyond a level, it will increase processing time to serve the requested media.
- You need root access to your server. Shared hosting doesn’t provide root access to servers (for protection of other users).
- Your website has more than 500 posts. This is especially true when these posts are on evergreen topics, which means all the old ones needs to be accessible too.
Why to avoid?
If you are unclear about your requirements, then you should go for shared website hosting.
Because, anyone with above mentioned high requirements, will know how much resources are required for his/her website and won’t be unclear. [BTW, before buying any web hosting package, you must spend some time with your idea to evaluate the seriousness of your idea].
Other than that, there are couple of more reasons to avoid shared hosting:
- Managed hosting is getting cheaper and you get superior package at nearly same price.
- You get resources, which are clearly mentioned in the package and it supported by relevant experts in customer service. Plus you get priority level support.
If you have read till here, 🙂 , then you pretty much know everything, you need to know about shared hosting. If the requirements of your website goes in favor of shared hosting then you should definitely go for it. To help you choose, I (and few of my fellow users) have developed a list of good service providers. These are value of money service providers, with good customer support.
As these service providers are at similar level, hence I have not provided any rankings, whatsoever.
Top shared website hosting companies and packages:
Plans starting from : $3.95 per month
Plans starting from : $3.95 per month
Plans starting from : $2.95 per month
Once you have set up your website, it’s time to create content and grow your website. You can read about creating good content on consistent basis and steps to grow traffic and start applying these steps today.
Wishing you luck on your online venture 🙂