There are thousands of hosting providers that host millions of websites and web applications - some major players including, like Amazon and Google, and smaller, more traditional providers like ICDSoft, where we mainly offer shared and VPS hosting.
The industry has developed at a fast pace in the last years, so if you need a hosting plan for your new project, you will come across lots of offers for cloud services, PaaS, SaaS, powerful virtual and dedicated servers, hybrid plans that share features with different types of hosting, etc.
Nonetheless, the shared hosting service is still quite popular. You will come across different opinions that it is probably the worst type of hosting for various reasons – it comes with insufficient resources, it has various hidden limitations, and, as a whole, it is a cheap service in the sense that it offers poor quality.
In this article, we will show you why shared hosting is actually good. We will list several reasons that people rarely consider when they think about this type of hosting. If you want to run a personal or a small business website that doesn’t have some special requirements, shared hosting may actually be your best option.
- What is shared hosting?
- Why is shared hosting good?
- Improved security
- Emails are included
- Better support
- Easy to use
- High system resource quotas
- More services for your money
- Wrap Up
What is shared hosting?
If you have not had a website yet, here is a short explanation of what shared hosting is. This is a type of hosting where multiple websites are accommodated on the same server and share its system resources. Each website can be hosted in a separate account, or several websites can share the same account, depending on the platform that a particular hosting provider uses.
The disk space, CPU and physical memory are shared, hence the name of this type of hosting. Each account has software limitations, though, which prevent the websites hosted on it from using too many resources and affecting the proper operation of the other websites hosted on that server.
Why is shared hosting good?
TLDR: It is affordable
You will find different offers on the market, but in general, shared hosting plans are less expensive than the other types of hosting. We would even say that it is cheap, but since the word is often used with negative connotation, we will say that shared hosting is affordable. This is especially true if you consider what you get for your money.
Depending on the features that come with the plan, you will pay between a dollar and several tens of dollars per month. You can even find free shared hosting, albeit ad-supported or with very limited features. You will probably come across very appealing offers for virtual servers or cloud hosting plans, but they are either less powerful than a standard shared hosting package, or you pay on the go and if you get lots of traffic to your site, you may end up paying a small fortune.
Shared hosting servers are managed. And if you chose a reputable company, they aren't managed by junior admins, but by a team of experienced system administrators with more than 10 years experience in the industry. You will not have to worry about security and performance patches, server software updates, firewall rules, etc. You can focus on building your website and expanding your business. While a standalone server for your site will give you access to many more settings, it is more likely that you will miss something that may compromise the security of the server in the long run.
Usually things like backups (at least a daily one), DDoS protection and disk drives working in RAID for redundancy are available as well, so you will not have to order and/or configure them. This is a big advantage if you don’t have the experience or the money to purchase and set up such additional services.
Emails are included
Almost every shared hosting package on the market allows you to create email addresses with your domain names. While there may be some limitations of the service because a number of people share the same mail server, you can start using your emails as soon as your account is ready.
In contrast, with other types of hosting, you will have to either install additional software or configure multiple email-related options. This may not be very easy if you are not tech-savvy. Even if you decide to use a cloud website builder that claims to be very easy to use, you will have to set up (and probably pay for) a third-party email service. Cloud website builders do not offer email services, but partner with other providers for that.
Shared hosting servers are configured in the same way, so if you have a question or experience a problem, it is very likely that the support team of your hosting provider has already encountered it and knows the answer/solution. A similar setup of all machines means that the support team is very familiar with their platform and can assist with any hosting-related issue.
In comparison, a virtual/dedicated server can have a unique setup with unique settings, which will make it harder to troubleshoot an issue. You may also have to pay extra for a more qualified/experienced support person who can help with the custom setup. Many hosting companies provide the server, but let their customers handle everything that happens on it.
Easy to use
If you have not had a website, but you would like to create one, shared hosting is the type of hosting you should start with. It is easier to manage than any other type, and you can find a lot of information online about anything – from building or uploading your website to solving common issues in no time. All shared hosting plans come with a graphic user interface (control panel) that allows you to manage almost everything with point-and-click actions.
We mentioned earlier that there are some cloud website builders, which are also easy to use. You will miss all the other services a shared hosting plan includes, though, and if you want to add them, you will either have to pay, or to set up a third-party provider, which is often difficult for people with less experience. This includes services like emails, backups, statistics, etc.
High system resource quotas
Shared hosting plans have changed a lot in the last decade. Servers are far more powerful now, system resources are being utilized much better, and some providers even use cluster platforms where multiple servers work together. This is why, you can often use far more system resources compared to what you could use several years ago. Some shared hosting plans can even compete with some virtual servers in terms of performance.
Of course, this is not the case with all shared hosting providers out there, and you can still come across companies that offer low-end packages. Nonetheless, you can find great offers with a lot of disk space, high CPU usage, and high physical memory allowance.
Due to the way shared hosting works, it is very easy to upgrade your hosting plan as your website grows. The additional system resources will simply be allocated to your existing account, so there will be no service interruption. In contrast, virtual and dedicated servers will have to be shut down temporarily for an upgrade. Cloud hosting services are scalable as well, but such plans cost more and are not as easy to use, so they cannot really be compared to shared hosting.
If your website needs less system resources, and you want to use a lower plan, your account can easily be downgraded – something you cannot do with other types of hosting, or not easily.
More services for your money
Most shared hosting plans that you will find on the market include lots of perks that are already included in the price. These can include a website builder, a script installer, backups, ad credits, search engine optimization services, and other tools. If you want to use such tools on a standalone server, you will have to pay a license fee for each of them.
Many hosting control panels are licensed software as well, so you will have to pay even for something you probably take for granted – a graphic interface to manage your content. Certain software may cost even more than your server. Since a number of accounts are created on a single shared server, hosting providers can afford to offer certain tools as a part of their plans, without asking for such additional fees.
Of course, using shared hosting has its downsides as well. The system resources are limited compared to other types of hosting, especially high-end ones; the server-side settings are not accessible; and due to high load generated by another website, or a hacked mailbox of another customer that leads to the mail server getting blacklisted, your own websites can be affected.
You may also come across claims that shared hosting servers crash more often, or that your website will be slower or more unstable. As speed and stability depend on many things though, such claims are unfounded. If your website is not optimized or the software environment is not configured properly, the site may be slow or may crash even if it is hosted on a powerful dedicated server.
Shared hosting is still the most popular type of hosting for a reason. While some people say the service is poor, it is the perfect choice for a personal or a small business website. Of course, the level of service will be different depending on the hosting provider you choose. Nonetheless, shared hosting is very affordable and comes with lots of additional software that you won’t have to pay for. It is scalable and easy to use, and you will not have to worry about server maintenance or security, as your provider will take care of these things.