What is Shared Hosting?

Shared hosting is the most inexpensive and common type of web hosting you will see. The average person or small business does not require a whole entire server to themselves, so web hosting providers will give you an allocated section of one for a monthly rental fee. The most basic shared hosting service typically gives users one database and the ability to host one domain on their server. If you choose a more comprehensive package you can host more than one website on your server space, but you will have a limit on how many databases you can use and how many domains you can host (usually around 20 although it varies from host to host). The next step up from there is to go to a Virtual Private Server or Dedicated Server.

There are pros and cons to using a shared hosting environment:

  • Cost – By far shared hosting is the most economical way to host a website. With our coupons you can get some great savings on budget web hosts as well.
  • System Administration included – Do you know how to run and maintain a web server? Do you know how to update it’s software or even what kind of software it would use? On shared hosting you don’t have to worry about any of that. Since you are sharing a host with potentially thousands of other users out of necessity your web hosting provider will maintain the server for you.
  • Lack of server control – The other side of the coin is that because your web hosting provider does all the system administration work for the server, you are at their mercy in terms of what software they use and how well updated they keep it. For some people this is a hindrance, in which case they will need to upgrade to a VPS or Dedicated Server.
  • Limited bandwidth – If you’ve read our bandwidth article, then you’ll know that the advertised “unlimited bandwidth” available with most shared hosting plans isn’t actually unlimited. However, unless you are serving crazy amounts of video, audio, or really high resolution images it shouldn’t be a problem for you.

If you don’t need a huge amount of storage or bandwidth (you most likely won’t, and you can always upgrade to a more comprehensive package down the road if you find that you do later on), then shared hosting is probably your best choice given the low cost and low amount of maintenance work. One thing to keep in mind is to make sure that you keep any software that you install (content management systems like WordPress) and any plugins for them up to date as you do have a higher vulnerability to XSS attacks on shared servers. However so long as you keep on top of any important security patches for your software you should be fine.