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August 16, 2021

What is Shared Hosting? Definition & Guide

What is shared hosting? It’s a hosting solution especially popular amongst small and medium-sized businesses. In this blog we’ll talk about how it works, which benefits it provides, and what differentiates shared hosting from fully managed hosting.

Shared Hosting Definition

What does shared hosting mean? Shared hosting is a model of service that rents space to multiple websites. They all share a single web server which implies costs are also split.

This type of hosting tier can host hundreds of users, and each of them has access to features such as monthly traffic, disk space, email accounts, databases, FTP accounts, and other additional features offered by their host.

What is Shared Hosting?

Shared hosting is one of the most common, but also the cheapest and the most basic hosting solutions out there. Here you rent space on a hosting server, but also share it with plenty of other sites alongside yours.

What is shared web hosting in terms of everyday life? You could compare it to renting an apartment. You have your own apartment (website), but also share certain resources and the building (server) with other tenants. 

This is the cheapest option for hosting — so prepare to get the least flexibility, security, and performance.

How Shared Servers Works

All the websites you see on the Internet are stored — or so-called “hosted” — on a server. That’s a type of computer that operates the websites on the Internet and allows them to be publicly available to users.

So, let’s say you start by typing the address of a particular website into your browser. The browser uses the URL to find out where this site is stored and requests information about it from the server.

The server then gives you all the necessary data, after which the web page you’d searched for appears in your browser. That allows you to interact with the website by clicking on links you find there, navigating to other pages, opening the files, filling out forms, etc.

So, what is shared hosting, and, more importantly, how does it work?

With a shared hosting plan, a single server keeps all the files for multiple sites at once. That also means it’s responsible for providing information about them, which is the opposite solution to a dedicated server — one that hosts just a single website.

5 Shared Hosting Features

What is shared hosting good for and which features do you get with it?

1. The Basics: Traffic & Disk Space

When you want to start a website, you need a certain amount of disk space for things like databases, media, and code files.

When you find a place to store the files on your website, you want to allow your visitors to access the data, which is where bandwidth comes in. Picture it as a tunnel — the wider it is, the more information can go through. Plenty of hosts offer unlimited bandwidth, but they limit traffic speed.

Pay attention to bandwidth traffic speed when searching for a shared hosting solution since it can affect your overall website performance.

2. (Free) Backups

There are plenty of situations where you can accidentally lose your data, like in the instance of cyber attacks, physical issues, system errors, and more. You can’t predict them, which is why it’s very important your shared hosting package includes backups too.

That way, you can restore your site and all the data pretty quickly, without having to build and recreate it all from scratch. Some companies offer free backups, while others charge them additionally. You can have automatic or manual backups.

3. Pre-Installed Applications

The majority of host companies include many different additions into their shared plans such as extra-fee services, unlimited options, pre-installed applications, and so on. You can easily get confused because you won’t know which features you really need.

To keep it simple, focus on the pre-installed apps. We’re talking about specific widgets that will help you establish your site pretty quickly as well as control all its features more efficiently. 

4. Control Panel

The control panel is one of the most essential and basic apps your hosting plan should include. Life gets way easier with this one because you’ll be able to manage even those complex server processes through a very simple and convenient interface.

One of the most popular control panel solutions is called cPanel. However, some hosting companies will offer you alternative options such as Webmin, Virtualmin, Zpanel, or a special control panel they’ve customized themselves (which may not always end up as such a great solution as it sounds at first).

Control panels mostly have some pre-installed add-ons and apps. That means you can easily switch important features on with just one click. For instance, you can manage some ecommerce functions like shopping carts or payment instruments.

5. Uptime

Uptime is time when a computer — or in this case, your website — operates online and when visitors can access it without any technical issues. It’s mostly listed in percentages from the overall expected uptime, which is 24/7. If your web project is not so big that it requires 100% uptime, you may be fine with the level of 98%.

Pros and Cons of Shared Hosting

Pros

  • It’s cheap. When you share a server with other users, you pay for a small portion of the entire server cost. This is why shared hosting costs less. Small to medium-sized businesses looking for low-cost solutions may opt for shared hosting. It’s also for those lacking a strong technical background to deal with dedicated servers.
  • No administration difficulties. If you’re struggling with the administration work for your server, a shared hosting plan could be a good solution because in most cases the web host takes the responsibility for that part as well as maintaining the hardware.
  • You can easily set up and manage multiple sites. Shared hosting is a simple and easy-to-use solution. Even beginners that are new to the hosting world can immediately start with it. The host company will set up the shared server as well as install all the software features you need. That way, you don’t have to configure the server or do any other complicated work by yourself. The company will monitor the servers, deal with security issues, and cover many other technical features or issues that occur along the way.

Cons

  • Slow on busy days. Shared hosting providers put restrictions on the server resources to avoid a single site overuse. That means if your site suddenly starts getting much more traffic and becomes popular, it can go down. That’s bad news if your site experiences an influx of traffic — such as on Black Friday or if your site suddenly goes viral.
  • It’s vulnerable to security questions. If someone hacks a single site on a server, that potentially threatens other websites that share it too. If the server gets hacked, every website goes down with it too. That means you don’t have to do anything wrong, but you can still end up at risk. Of course, shared hosting companies try to prevent this from happening by isolating websites, but it’s not 100% protection.

Shared Hosting vs Managed Hosting

Shared hosting is a setup where you share resources with other users on the same server. Since more clients use one physical server, the costs of shared hosting are pretty low.

Managed hosting is when you’re the only one using a single server. It costs more than shared hosting because the hosting company takes care of all specific requirements of your website and covers the technical side of it.

What to Look for When Choosing a Shared Hosting Provider

  • Efficient communication. You need a support team that will always be there to help with your questions and technical problems. They need to provide you with experts that are able to quickly fix any hosting issue that may occur along the way. Because after all, hosting support is important.
  • The hosting provider has to understand your needs. There are numerous host companies out there, but not each of them will provide you with what you want. Before you start considering any of them, try to set the budget, goals, and other components of your plan to understand which type of hosting would fit you best.
  • You need to be able to upgrade your server. Even if you take a pretty good shared hosting plan, you will still have limits to resource availability. When your site grows bigger and you start getting more traffic, a shared hosting plan will not be enough. In that case, it’s better to have a host that will allow you to upgrade your plan rather than finding a new host and migrating your website.

Extra tip: It’s better to go with a trusted company, especially if you’re a beginner. Shared hosting is an easy-to-maintain and cheap solution for new and small websites. Companies that have been on a market for a longer period of time have scalable hosting plans — starting from cheaper shared hosting to more expensive solutions.

Consider Hosting With Nexcess

What is web hosting with Nexcess and what benefits does it provide?

  • Scalable hosting plans. That means you can start with a basic option and upgrade it in the future due to the requirements of your business.
  • 100% uptime guarantee. With Nexcess, your website will work 100% of the time without interruptions. Of course, there are always unpredictable exceptions such as malicious attacks or cPanel problems that can cause disruptions. However, Nexcess will make up for the downtime you experience. If your website is down for 2 hours, you’ll get a 20-hour hosting credit.
  • Fast servers. Nexcess owns over 25,000 servers in 3 data centers which is why they provide excellent performance and server speed. They also use advanced technologies that allow them to lower the memory consumption of the server, provide better security, and improve load balancing. 
  • Free domain and free migrations. The Nexcess support team is there to help you with the whole migration process, no matter the reason.
  • Professional support team. If you have any questions or technical difficulties, feel free to contact Nexcess’ award-winning expert support team that’s available 24/7/365.

The Nexcess support team is also there to advise you on further steps when your business gets bigger. They’ll help and direct you when you decide to take a step further and get another hosting package that will allow you to get the most out of your website.

Try Fully Managed Hosting with Nexcess

When your business becomes more popular and gets more traffic, running a website can be quite demanding and time consuming — which is why you’ll want to consider a managed hosting plan.

Managed hosting includes many different options, including WordPress (the most popular), Managed WooCommerce, and Managed Magento. Unlike shared hosting, here you get a whole server to yourself. The hosting provider is there to handle all the technical issues and backend aspects of your site, so you can focus on content and core business.

Nexcess managed hosting provides numerous benefits, including:

  • Even better speed. When you’re on your own server, you don’t share resources with anyone, which speeds up your website.
  • Easy-to-use and simple control panel. Managed WordPress hosting packages allow you to approach the control panel with a simple interface as well as manage multiple WordPress sites from one place.
  • Additional applications & features. SaaS systems, rich media eCommerce — amongst plenty of additions, Nexcess is also the only company that gives a user the source code to fully customize their layouts and designs.

Start Your Nexcess Hosting Today

For the limitless potential for your website and 24/7/365 support, explore Nexcess hosting plans today. You get a free 2-week trial of fully managed hosting and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

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