When you first set-up your own website, you would have come across different types of web hosting.
Whether you like it or not, you need it. You can’t have a website without some form of hosting.
During your research, you are bound to have come across shared hosting.
But shared hosting is not for everyone, particularly for those who run online businesses or have some kind of online presence which your business depends on.
But let’s get deeper into the concept of shared hosting.
What is Shared Hosting and What Are Its Advantages?
Shared hosting, otherwise known as virtual hosting or sometimes cloud hosting, is when you have a number of websites sharing the same server.
Because of the number of websites sharing the website, it reduces the costs, thus making it the cheapest form of any web hosting (unless you went for a free option).
The cost factor is perhaps the most appealing benefit for many people as it can cater for just about any budget.
Another advantage of shared hosting is that it caters for everyone, regardless of the type of website you are running, whether you are running WordPress or not, whether you have traffic or not.
Thanks to its ease of use, shared hosting is also known to be very easy to set up, and most providers would provide a one-click install of WordPress if that’s who you choose as your CMS provider.
This is perfect for those with little to no technical know-how. The more advanced versions of hosting such as dedicated hosting or Virtual Private Hosting (VPS) are not ones for the beginners.
For many websites, shared hosting is a good option for those who are interested in running an online hobby or project, run a personal site and not fully-focused on growth.
What Are the Disadvantages?
But shared hosting does come with major drawbacks and you it’s something that anyone can ignore.
1. You Get What You Pay For
They’re cheap because hundreds (or possibly thousands) of websites are sharing the same server.
But you don’t know who you are sharing it with, and this could lead to the so-called “bad neighbour effect”. Whatever they do, it can have an impact on your site (use up resources, shady sites).
And you really do get what you pay for if you are using some form of free web hosting too.
2. You Share Resources With Everyone Else
Every website on that server will have a fixed amount of memory, and you share all the bandwidth, processing power, storage, etc.
So if one website uses more than its fair share of the server’s memory, your website and every other site on that server will be affected.
You might think that it is up to the host provider to do something about it by removing that website because they wouldn’t want to disappoint the remaining customers. And that can happen.
But what can you expect the host to do if a website has experienced a huge surge of traffic via social media because a campaign they ran went viral?
Nothing. That hosting provider is powerless to do anything about it.
Which will come at your expense because they will suck up all the resources.
3. You Are Not Really Getting “Unlimited” Resources
And don’t be fooled by the “unlimited” label either. “Unlimited” is never really unlimited, and you will gradually notice that when you really start using the server.
This tends to be because of some marketing scheme and if you have come across shared hosting which offers “unlimited bandwidth”, I would read the terms & conditions.
More often than not, it would state some kind of limitation to your unlimited bandwidth.
4. You Will Have to Trust Other Websites’ Security
There are also security concerns that you should consider. Most shared web hosting providers, they do take it somewhat seriously. You can probably trust them to look after the server and make sure that your site is safe.
But what about all the thousands of websites in the server? Can you trust all of them to keep their site safe?
Because any one of them be vulnerable to online security, which may also affect you because you share the same server as them.
5. You Will Not Have the Flexibility to Customise Your Server
Many hosting providers terms and conditions can be really tight about what you can and can’t do to your server.
And this is particularly true for those who are on shared hosting.
As your website grows, you are likely to want to customise your server and make adjustments.
If you have the technical knowledge, or you have someone in your team who can maintain the server, you will quickly realise that you will not have the ability to customise it how you want.
6. You Will Waste Time Fixing Server Errors
Because you are more likely to run into issues with shared web hosting, you might find yourself fixing issues and contacting support to help you.
And when time is money for your business, you will end up spending a lot of money for cheap hosting and distracting you from running your online business.
By that stage, maybe you should consider other options for your website hosting.
What Should You Use & Why?
If you are running a small fun website as a hobby, then it is probably better to go for the cheaper option of shared web hosting.
In fact, it’s an excellent way to start off a small project and I would recommend it myself.
But if you are running a business which depends on your website, surely you’d want to make sure that it’s running with the best engine possible.
The saying “you get what you pay for” is very true when it comes to cheap web hosting.
And if you are running your business on a weak foundation, then you’d have to ask yourself whether you should consider upgrading.
That is why I always recommend website owners who are running WordPress websites to use Managed WordPress Hosting.
The benefits, peace of mind and value for money you get out of the whole package is not something you should ignore.
I have several different Managed WordPress hosting providers that I respect, but to keep it simple, this website is hosted by WP Engine and has been since the beginning.
Because my business is dependant on being online, I want to make sure that I have the best foundation possible to help me with my business.
Don’t you agree?
I’d love to know what you think below.