Shared Web Hosting Tutorial

Using Shared Hosting For Your Website


The most common way to host a website is shared hosting. Understanding shared web hosting is simple - since relatively few websites are busy enough to require their own server, web hosting companies combine a number of sites on a single server. Depending on the hosting firm and the needs of the client, the number of sites sharing a server can range from under ten to in the many hundreds. A shared web server is the opposite of a dedicated server, where one client has access to all of the server's resources.

Shared Hosting Advantages

  • Low Cost - for obvious reasons, shared arrangements are far cheaper than putting your site on its own server.
  • Server Management - since you control only your site, someone else (the web host) has to be responsible for managing the server, the server operating system, shared applications, etc. (See managed servers.)
  • Free applications - for their shared hosting clients, host firms often pre-install applications like form processors, discussion forums, etc. In some cases, these apps aren't pre-installed but can be added through a control panel.

Shared Hosting Disadvantages

  • Performance Issues - Being on a shared web server is like living in an apartment building - you can have great neighbors, or lousy ones. If your host puts too many sites on one server, everyone can suffer from slow page loading or worse when things get busy.
  • Reliability - While shared hosting isn't necessarily less reliable, you are at the mercy of the other sites sharing the server as well as how well the server is configured. If another site has scripts that consume most of the server's resources, for example, your site will suffer.
  • Frequent Reboots/Restarts - In cases where some sites on a server have resource gobbling scripts, or scripts which crash the server, hosts will have to perform more frequent reboots. This is also true when a host has to change the server configuration for other users and a reboot is needed.

Despite the disadvantages of shared hosting, it is still by far the most common choice and is the best solution for 99% of all web sites. The key is to exercise care in choosing a web host for providing the shared service. Back to Web Hosting Tutorial.


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