Shared Hosting – The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

January 8, 2014 8:42 pmComments OffViews: 597

shared hostingIt’s fairly common knowledge that these days a business is only as good as its online presence. Most people utilize the internet to find a company – or to find out more about it – and it makes sense that a solid website and web presence are the backbones of any company hoping to succeed today.

A website is a must, and finding the right hosting service is important. But it can get confusing when you start looking into different options, with technical terms coming at you quickly. Shared hosting is the most common option, and one that most businesses will go with. If you’re not sure about just what shared hosting is, taking a closer look at its basics – including its pros and cons – is well worth doing.

In nearly all cases, shared hosting is exactly what people think of when they think of web hosting. All of the commonly known hosting services will offer shared hosting, and it’s the option that most businesses end up going with. But why is it called ‘shared’?

Shared hosting gets its name from the fact that it involves multiple clients’ websites all being housed on a single web server. All of the server’s resources are shared among the different users, and each website is housed in a separate partition on the server. A good analogy is a shopping mall. The mall itself is like the server – a large structure that houses many smaller businesses inside it. Each business within the mall is similar to the websites hosted on a shared hosting server – it operates independently of the others under the same roof.

There are obvious benefits and some drawbacks to shared hosting, and taking a closer look at them all is worth doing in order to ensure that you make the right call when deciding on whether or not shared hosting is the best fit for your business.

how shared hosting works

First, the good side of shared hosting is worth looking at. There are numerous advantages that this type of hosting can offer to anyone.

  •  Extremely user friendly. Clients can access their account through any web browser in most cases, and most shared hosting services have a browser based tool that can be used to build a fully featured website. It’s easy to purchase, easy to setup, and easy to update as needed.
  • Highly versatile. The users of a shared hosting service vary greatly and include bloggers, online stores, small businesses, web designers, and much more. Even authors and musicians use the service to set up their websites. The best services will offer numerous features ranging from blogs to online storefronts to video hosting for clients to take advantage of.
  • Compatible with nearly anything. Since the data is stored remotely, shared server hosting allows users of all major operating systems to easily access and build a site, whether they use Mac, Linux, Windows, or some other OS.
  • Inexpensive. Shared hosting is the cheapest of all the various hosting options and it is easy to save money through their services. In many instances it’s possible to find totally free shared hosting services, though upgrading to a low pay model will usually unlock extra functionality and more features.
  • Easy to scale. As your business grows, it’s simple for you to add more features, increase bandwidth or storage capacity, and more. And if the time comes when you need to move away from shared hosting and into another type of hosting solution, you won’t lose all of your data – it can easily be migrated to another setup.
  • Full support. Even with its low price, shared hosting generally comes with full support including access to tech support reps through phone, email, chat, and more. This means that when issues arise, a solution is still close by.
  • Reliable.  While it may be a shared setup, hosting services still keep shared servers fully maintained, upgraded, and working. Users don’t have to worry about servers crashing or about security issues, and these are far more reliable servers than most on-site, in-house intranet servers will be.

Of course, along with the good there is some level of bad. There are a few drawbacks that stand out that could make shared hosting a less than stellar choice for some. Here are some of the disadvantages.

  •  Limited functionality. This is the big one. Some shared hosting servers will have limited disk space, limited bandwidth, limited email accounts, and more. In some instances they may limit sub domains, FTP accounts, and more. In short, they may not offer the full range of performance since the server’s load is split among multiple users.
  • Reduced performance. Companies that need large storage or high speeds may find that the fact that they are on a shared server will reduce their overall level of performance when compared to a private server. Not everyone will need this increase in performance, but it’s worth thinking about.
  • Pay walls. This isn’t just a bad – it’s also an ‘ugly’ side of shared hosting. Many companies will tease clients with a full range of services only to reveal that some of their main features cost extra. The better services won’t, but it’s not uncommon to find some services that charge extra for everything from an additional email address to SMTP access and beyond.
  • Less reliable than some options. In particular, cloud hosting offers a much more reliable option than shared hosting since the overall design of shared hosting is slightly less secure. Still, it’s very reliable for the money and many companies actually offer a 100% uptime guarantee.

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Unless you’re operating a massive business that has some very high-end computing and online server needs, the chances are good that shared hosting will work for you. It offers a perfect way to get the kind of web presence you need without being expensive or having tremendous hassles associated with it. There are numerous hosting services available, and it’s important to take the time to look at each of them closely to determine which one offers the right service for your business.

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