Shared Hosting – What It is and When to Use it

In the previous post, we briefly discussed about different types of options available to you when you are looking for a server solution to host your website. In this post I hope to discuss in detail about “Shared Hosting”, aka, “Shared Servers”.

Pros about Shared Hosting

As we discussed in the previous post, among all the available hosting options, Shared Hosting is the cheapest. And it is the most popular one.

If you choose to have a shared hosting account, you don’t have to worry about server maintenance — you don’t have to keep an eye about various security threats out there, and keep the software in the server up to date to keep your server safe. You just have to upload your site files to the server and make sure your site works properly. Your hosting service provider will take care about keeping the server healthy. This is very useful if you are new to the whole “server thing”.

Even if you are comfortable with managing your own VPS or a Dedicate Server, using one of these monsters to host a single small website just isn’t justifiable (Unless you intend to host more than one websites in them.).

Shared Hosting service providers also offer value added services like automatic backup. They usually keep monthly, weekly, and daily backups. Should something go wrong, you can easily restore your hosting account using one of those backups.

Shared Hosting accounts usually comes with a visual web-based control panel like “cPanel®“. This will make your life easier with tasks like database creation, backing-up and restoring, and more. But you will have to do them through text terminals if you are using a VPS or a Dedicated Server (Unless you install a control panel on them yourself.).

Shared Hosting service providers also provide great customer support that caters users with low-to-mid level technical skills. With or without extra charges, they will help you with should you face some trouble with your hosting account.

Cons about Shared Hosting

Most of the cons regarding shared hosting derives from the fact that should the need to perform some advanced stuff in your hosting account, you will find it very hard to do. This is because shared hosting gives the user very limited access by design. It is not intended for the user to tamper with.

Most shared hosting providers allow you to access your hosting space through SSH, but you will never get administrative access. So you will never be able to install custom software that you need. Some applications like Git comes pre-installed, but you will notice that the available applications have restrictive behaviour as well.

Conclusion

Shared Hosting is the best option if you intend to host a small-to-medium sized website, that doesn’t require any special applications to be installed in the server. If you can’t or don’t wish to manage the server yourself, this is a great choice.

Recommendations

We have been using BlueHost to host smaller websites we developed for our clients and some of our own in-house projects as well. We got to say that we are extremely satisfied with their service. If you are looking for a shared hosting service provider to host your website, we recommend you to choose BlueHost.

Supun “Buddy” Budhajeewa is the COO of Sanmark.
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