Shared web hosting also called (shared web hosting services) refers to multiple websites sharing a web server. With a shared web hosting account, each website runs on its own individual area of the server. The performance resources on the server are on shared basics i.e. RAM & CPU, the single MySQL server, Apache server, and single mail server.
What's more, Shared Web Hosting is currently one of the most efficient ways for users to host their site, due to many users sharing the same server maintenance.
Shared Web Hosting – Mostly for Entry Level Users
Share hosting is highly common among bloggers, individuals with personal sites and even small business if their hosting needs fit within the parameters of a small business.
For users that want to host tons of sites, there's no need to purchases multiple packages, which makes shared web hosting very affordable. The actual web host will handle all the advanced configuration, set-up, and maintenance. In fact, users just have to use their control panel to add domains, install scripts, upload files set up email accounts, and review server logs, etc. Most of the popular control panels that web hosting companies provider are cPanel, Plesk, H-Sphere and many more.
Shared Web Hosting - Pros
There several good benefits of choosing shared web hosting such as:
- Unlimited Space and Domains – Nearly every shared web hosting plan from web hosting providers offer unlimited disk, domains and sometimes even provide their customers with unlimited email accounts.
- Cost Efficiency - The expense profits of shared web hosting are all in the name. Since you are truly sharing server space with other customers the cost is very cheap. Most top web host will charge from $2 - $4 for their shared web hosting packages.
- Ease of Use – As mentioned before the web host will actually provide a number of resources to make your hosting experience very easy. It’s common with hosting plans that web host will provide a 1 click installations to install the necessary platforms that users need e.g. WordPress and Drupal
Shared Web Hosting – Cons
Some of the constraints of shared web hosting are as follows:
- Slow Speed & performance - Despite the fact that you can end up a good shared web hosting package; in fact shared web hosting packages are the slowest. Let’s say, if any of the customers on the shared servers consumes a lot of traffic, CPU power or email capabilities, since everybody is on the same machine, therefore expect slow and poor performance
- SEO purposes – Since a lot of sites are hosted on the same IP, if the main IP gets flagged then this affects the rest of the users under that IP. This can also increase downtimes which equal slow loading pages.
- Less secure – Security is essential, but given the fact that your website may handle private and sensitive information, then sharing with thousands of websites by different users will ensure are high chances for security vulnerabilities. If this is your main concern then you may want to read when upgrade your shared web hosting.
Server Constraints of Shared Web Hosting
Besides above cons. of shared web hosting, there are also many server constraints of shared web hostingto limit the total server source an account could use, which including CPU, RAM, Disk, I/O and etc.
All shared web hosting will limit the usage of CPU resource in a giving time frame. Different company might define this thread hold differently, such as for Bluehost, you should not occupy CPU for over 600 seconds in any given hour. And in Hostgator, this is defined as "HostGator allows a maximum of 25% CPU usage limit. You may exceed this limit for no longer than 90 seconds." It's actually not that easy to hit the limitation of CPU usage unless your site is one of top 2% busy sites in the world, or with an Alexa ranking lower than 500,000. In case that happens, congratulation, your site has built up good reputation online, and you need to find a VPS hosting for it then.
Limitation on number of emails
Right, you are allowed to create unlimited email account. But they have put a constraint on the number of email your hosting account could send out per hour. Normally, this number is around 200. So, if you create 200 email accounts, then, i'ts only one email per hour per email account. So, "unlimited email account" doesn't mean "unlimited email".
Almost all shared providers have an "inode" limit (inode= a file). 250,000 is a common number. Your account might be suspended if you exceed this number. Unlimited disk space <> Unlimited Files.
Server Access Limitation
In shared web hosting, the server is managed by the vendor. They will apply latest security patch and config the server for you, but this also means if you need something haven't been installed or configured by default, then it's high possible you won't get from your vendor. So, when signing up a service with a web host, make sure they do have installed what you need. And if you need apache mod_gzip module to improve the performance of your web site, then you might be disappointed. This is not offered in a shared web hosting as it consume too much CPU resource. If you need to compress the response data of your web server, you have to make some change to your source code to compress it by yourself in stead of getting a system level support from the server. One more thing is Shell Access of your Linux server. Some web hosts don't allow shell access to the server or only grant the permission to you after you submit a copy of your personal ID card or passport.
Size of Database
Database size is a constraint you should pay attention to if you want to create a lot of content in database. Normally, your web host will limit the size of each database or the total size of all the databases. If you see this data is lower than 50MB, you should be careful when using this product.
What Could I Do If My Site Breaks those Constraints
If you consume too much CPU, email, database, or disk resource, your account will be suspended by your web host in most cases. Some actions should be taken to bring the site back to online again. Here is a list of items provided by Bluehost which you should avoid in your web application. We feel could be applied to all the other web hosts as well.
- Poor PHP scrips such as unnecessary nested loops,;
- For most CMS, themes or plugins might update automatically cause performance, in this case, try to disable those components.;
- SQL Queries that return large dataset results or take too long to execute;
- DDoS Attacks;
- Any Scripts that consume too much RAM, like a cron job
- Too many concurrent connections
If none of above help relief the problem, then go to find a VPS hosting, Cloud hosting or Dedicated server, in which you will get the dedicated resource, and the constraints are relied on what you have purchased.
Should I Go with Shared Web Hosting?
There are so many constraints on shared web hosting, should I still host my sites in them? The answer is yes if your site is not traffic heavy or script intensive and requires more processing. Actually, it's not easy for you to break those constraint. Even for script intensive sites developed using Drupal or Joomla, a shared web hosting solution could support a daily page view up to 500, this number is good enough to make your site one of the world top 2% busy site. If you need more controls on server, and install modules or application which are not provided by a web host normally, then you should find VPS hosting, Cloud hosting or Dedicated server.