When starting a website, shared hosting is often the cheapest and most economical option out there. It’s a great choice for website owners with a small budget, or those just getting started online. While the small investment and lack of maintenance requirements make shared hosting an intriguing option, it’s important to be aware that its affordability comes with limitations.

What is Shared Hosting?

Shared hosting is a type of Web hosting service that allows multiple websites to share a physical Web server and its resources among the websites hosted there. It logically distributes a Web server to accommodate, serve and operate multiple websites. Within the server, there are software applications that make managing and accessing your website easy and user friendly. Usually you’ll have no idea what websites you are sharing your server with. However, the best hosting companies don’t feel like resources are shared at all. This means uptime, speed, and support are so good you won’t even notice you’re sharing a server with other websites. So, if you opt for shared hosting, be sure to research and shop around for the best hosting companies.

Shared hosting sounds pretty good, right? It’s affordable, has solid uptime, and is easy to manage. But, it’s important to know that shared hosting does come with certain drawbacks:

  • You never really know who your neighbors are and it is possible for other sites on the shared server to pose a risk to your own site.
  • Load time can be much slower than dedicated servers. A dedicated server is a type of web hosting in which a client has the exclusive use of an entire server.
  • The server can become overburdened by other sites that are sharing the server.
  • As your site receives higher levels of traffic, your site may begin to perform even worse.
  • There’s a lack of server customization options to truly get the highest level of performance from your website.

A responsible web host will let you know when your traffic hits a level that it’s time to upgrade, and will also monitor and shut down any sites that pose a risk to the others on the server. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case which is why it’s important to be informed.

“The truth about shared hosting is you never really know who your neighbors are and it is possible for other sites on the server to pose a risk to your own site. A responsible web host will let you know when your traffic hits a level that it’s time to upgrade, and will also monitor and shut down any sites that pose a risk to the others on the server.”

For most businesses getting started online, the advantages of shared hosting will outweigh the disadvantages, especially if you’re trying to get a website up and running as quickly as possible and have little tech skills. The good news is you can always upgrade to another hosting package as your budget allows, so you’re not stuck with this level of hosting forever.

A step up from shared hosting is VPS hosting. VPS hosting creates a virtual environment that imitates a dedicated server (where you get a server, and all its resources, to yourself), but within a shared hosting environment. If you have the budget, we recommend VPS hosting especially for those with established websites. As stated previously, the host you choose matters. Here are a few of our favorite hosting companies for both performance and support:

InMotion Hosting Best VPS Hosting and Overall.

HostGator Best for Shared Hosting

Bluehost Best for WordPress Websites

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