Without web hosts like Bluehost that offer feature-rich shared hosting plans, publishing a website would require advanced technical skills and robust infrastructure. Instead, these services make it incredibly inexpensive and easy.
Web hosting, in general, is a hot commodity, with the global hosting services market expected to grow to $252.4 billion by 2030, according to a report by Global Industry Analysts.
And shared hosting, in particular, is a popular choice of web hosting service, as it’s the most efficient and inexpensive. According to Grand View Research, shared hosting had a 37.64% revenue share of the hosting market in 2019.
Generally, shared hosting is the way to go if you’re just starting out. However, it isn’t suitable for everyone.
Let’s explore shared hosting advantages and disadvantages.
Starting a website is easier than it once was, but it can still be daunting if you’ve never done it before. Shared hosting is very popular for this reason, being the most accessible form of hosting for beginners.
But what does shared hosting mean to you in a practical sense? Shared hosting is beginner-friendly, inexpensive and a great starting point for a brand-new website.
But you may have heard some concerning things about its drawbacks: that it’s slow, restrictive and a security concern.
While there’s some truth to this, shared hosting doesn’t have to be slow. Ultimately, it all depends on the quality of the web host you pick.
With shared hosting, multiple websites are all hosted on a single server. Physical server resources like memory and bandwidth are shared between dozens of websites, as well as the database and email accounts servers.
You might think this wouldn’t work well, but as long as no website takes up too many resources, you’ll never have a problem sharing a web server.
Shared web hosts usually implement restrictions to stop any one website from hogging bandwidth or disk space and heighten security so malware doesn’t spread between websites on a shared server.
Other types of hosting offer private servers where you don’t have to share, but they’re more expensive and often include features a startup website just doesn’t need, like root access to the server.
Advantages of shared hosting
While shared hosting sometimes gets a bad rap for being slow and unreliable, modern web hosts like Bluehost have implemented better servers, increased security, cleaner control panels and more resources for all users.
Let’s take an in-depth look at what the advantages are of choosing a shared hosting plan.
Since multiple websites can live on one server, the price of shared hosting is very low. For less than $5 per month, almost anyone can afford to start a website. And they’re often bundled with a free domain name.
If you’ve ever wanted to write a blog, start a small business or release a personal project, it’s entirely within your grasp thanks to the cost-effectiveness of shared hosting.
Even if you’ve never owned a website before, most shared hosting plans have many tools to help you get started.
For instance, Bluehost’s shared hosting plans come with one-click WordPress installation, which greatly simplifies the process of setting up your first website.
Plus, the server setup is handled for you, so you can focus on designing your new website.
And while you might need more technical knowledge to manage a server with advanced hosting options like dedicated hosting, most shared hosting packages come with control panels like cPanel or custom ones like Bluehost’s control panel. These let you change necessary server settings via a simple UI.
Shared hosting plans are managed, meaning the web host handles technical maintenance and server administration. Running your own server is no easy task, but shared hosting removes the difficulty and is all-around user-friendly.
Things like setup, software installation, server updates and hardware upgrades are all out of your hands, so you can focus on growing and driving traffic to your site.
And if you’re using WordPress, you don’t need coding knowledge to design your website. It’s easy to set everything up through WordPress’s interface and your web host’s control panel.
Often, you don’t even need design skills to make a website look great since many shared hosting providers include website builders.
Bluehost’s WonderSuite, for example, comes with all shared plans and walks you through setting up and designing a website.
Disadvantages of shared hosting
While shared hosting is an excellent choice for most new websites, it isn’t suitable for everyone. Several things make it less than ideal for specific websites and projects.
While it isn’t essential for most websites, many shared hosting plans have a strict usage policy and technical restrictions.
While these understandably exist to keep other websites on the shared server secure and prevent server-wide slowdowns, they can make certain projects impractical.
For example, if you want to install server software, run a different operating system or change other advanced technical settings, you’re better off with a virtual private server (VPS) or dedicated server as they offer greater control and customization than shared hosting plans.
Some shared hosts impose restrictions like a low PHP memory limit, which can cause issues with certain WordPress plugins. With Bluehost, the default memory limit is set to 256M, but some hosts set it as low as 128M.
Some hosts ban specific plugins because their presence can compromise a shared hosting environment. These plugins might also duplicate provided functionality or use up too many resources and are a strain on the shared server.
Finally, if you begin to exceed bandwidth or storage to the point that you’re slowing down other websites, you may need to upgrade your account.
Exceeding your plan’s bandwidth limits on a regular basis can result in your website’s speed being “throttled” or slowed down dramatically. You may also receive overage charges or even have your account suspended in extreme cases.
Your shared hosting plan’s limits will depend on the provider you’ve chosen.
Performance and security concerns
While hosting on a single server keeps prices low, it also means that you’re sharing the physical resources that support your website with dozens of others.
It’s normal for your website to be a little slower than if you had a dedicated server; however, a good host will provide acceptable speeds.
But if one website gets a traffic spike or overuses its allotted resources, all websites on the server could be affected. Similarly, if a single website is compromised by malware, all could be infected.
Finally, sharing an email server with a website that regularly sends spam might result in your emails landing in the spam folder as well.
Good hosting companies will handle any issues arising from the shared environment, throttling problematic websites, kicking off spammy websites and helping you remove malware from your site.
Shared hosting plans can scale up to a point. Generally, the host will offer multiple shared plans with things like unlimited bandwidth and storage. The specific limits will depend on the hosting provider.
But as your website grows increasingly popular, you’ll need to seriously consider whether it might make more sense to switch to a different type of website hosting, like a VPS or dedicated server. Both of these hosting solutions can accommodate the needs of scaling businesses better because they can handle more traffic from the get-go.
Here’s the good news: switching plan types is easy if you stick with the same host. Bluehost offers multiple kinds of hosting that you can easily upgrade to when your website begins to outgrow its shared hosting plan.
Are you thinking of choosing this type of web hosting service? If you’re unsure, here’s a list of factors to consider.
- Resource requirements: If you know that you’ll have high traffic right off the bat, will need a lot of storage space or are creating a RAM-intensive application, then shared hosting probably won’t do it for you. But if you’re just starting out with a small website, shared hosting will serve you well.
- Technical needs: Shared plans have a lot of restrictions so that websites on one server remain isolated. If you need root access to the server or want to do something advanced, try a different type of hosting. If not, shared hosting makes for an easy “in” to becoming a website owner.
- Speed and uptime: Shared hosting can be slow if you pick a questionable host. Make sure to do your research and pick one with a track record of delivering reliable uptime. In doing so, you shouldn’t notice major issues with website speed or uptime.
- Security: There are some security concerns when sharing a server with unknown websites. A good web hosting provider will take security seriously so that breaches are incredibly rare. However, there’s no way to completely eradicate the risk. If you host confidential data, you might want to try a more secure type of hosting. Even so, security is a minimal issue with a reputable host.
- Scalability: Shared hosting is great if you’re just hosting a small personal website that you don’t expect will grow much. Personal portfolios, hobby blogs and even niche online shops can thrive on shared hosting. Otherwise, at some point, you’ll outgrow your shared server and have to migrate. Sticking with the same web host is a good way to make upgrading your plan easier.
Remember, most websites will get by just fine with shared hosting. And if in the future you do find yourself scraping up against your plan’s limitations, you can always upgrade to something with more customization, like VPS hosting, when you need to.
While shared hosting isn’t right for all types of websites, it will get the job done efficiently for most of them.
It’s perfect for small and medium-sized websites but may not be enough resource-wise for larger ones.
Shared hosting does have some restrictions and problems with long-term scalability, but it makes up for this with its cost-efficiency, accessibility to beginners and ease of use thanks to the plethora of tools most web hosts include in their plans.
And the few downsides will be further minimized if you stick with a reliable and feature-rich web host like Bluehost.
Bluehost offers shared hosting that’s perfect for beginners who want to quickly get a new website online. Our shared hosting plans come with 24/7 customer support, automatic malware scans and seamless WordPress installation and customization with WonderSuite.
Contact us to learn how Bluehost can help you launch a truly impressive website today.