Shared hosting is one of the most commonly used forms of web hosting. It’s most frequently used by beginners who are looking to get their first sites online in the easiest manner possible. In fact, most website owners end up using shared hosting for at least a little while throughout their site’s career.
If you’re just getting started online, then you’ve no doubt come across shared hosting, and you probably have a lot of questions. Below we answer some of the most common questions about shared hosting.
1. What is shared hosting?
With shared hosting, there will be multiple sites using the resources of a single server. Usually, you’ll be partitioned a certain amount of server resources your site can utilize. Typically, shared hosting plans are some of the most affordable plans out there.
When you have a shared web hosting plan, you’ll have access to a certain portion of server resources, defined by the hosting company you end up choosing. You’ll typically have access to the server environment through an integrated control panel.
Shared hosting is also very beginner friendly, as server maintenance and any other necessary tasks are managed by the hosting company. The only thing you’re responsible for is your own website.
2. How does shared hosting work?
With shared hosting, multiple sites share the same hardware and software resources of a single physical server. Typically, a shared server has pre-installed scripts and software that every site on the server must utilize.
Think of it this way. Say there’s an apartment building that has dozens of apartments. Each apartment is a different website. But, the building’s resources like utilities and other apartment benefits are shared by each individual.
3. How does shared hosting differ from dedicated and VPS hosting?
In a shared hosting environment, you’re sharing a server with dozens, hundreds, or even more websites. Compare this to dedicated hosting where you have an entire server all to yourself.
VPS hosting does share some similarities to shared hosting. For example, VPS hosting utilizes a single server, but that single server is then partitioned out into multiple virtual server environments. These server environments act in a similar manner to a dedicated hosting environment.
4. What are the benefits to using a shared hosting environment?
Shared hosting is the perfect fit for beginners who are just getting started online. Since shared hosting is typically geared towards beginners the setup process is usually very intuitive and the host handles the more complex tasks. By choosing a shared host you’ll also enjoy other benefits including:
- Cost savings as shared hosting is the cheapest form of hosting available
- Shared hosting can usually be easily upgraded to higher packages
- No technical skills required
- Built-in cPanel integration, so site management is a breeze
5. What are the negatives to using shared hosting?
Shared hosting isn’t the perfect hosting environment for every kind of website owner. Sure, it’s cheap, has high uptime, and is very easy to manage, but it still has some drawbacks, such as:
- The loading speed can be much slower than dedicated server environments
- There’s a chance your site’s performance can be affected by other sites sharing the same server
- If your site’s traffic levels increase you may see a lag in performance
- You won’t be able to customize your server environment for improved performance
6. What kind of user would benefit most from shared hosting?
Shared hosting is geared towards beginners. If this is your first time building a website and you’d like to host your own site but outsource a lot of the complex technical tasks, then shared hosting is a great choice.
If you have a high-traffic website or a very large website, then you’ll want to look into other hosting options, like dedicated servers, VPS hosting, cloud server hosting, or even WordPress-specific hosting.
Hopefully, the answers above have helped you better understand what shared hosting actually is, and clear up any questions related to shared hosting.
Still have questions about shared hosting? Learn more about HostGator’s shared hosting plans here.