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If you’re planning on starting your first website, then you’ve probably been told you need shared hosting. But what does shared hosting mean?

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 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.

What is shared hosting?

Bluehost’s shared hosting landing page.

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.

How does shared hosting work?

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 if 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

Shared hosting offers numerous advantages for new and established website owners.

While shared hosting sometimes gets a bad rap for being slow and unreliable, modern web hosts like Bluehost have implemented better servers, increased security features, 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.

Shared hosting is affordable

Bluehost shared web hosting plans.

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.

Shared hosting is accessible

Bluehost control panel makes it easy to update WordPress themes and plugins.

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 is easy to use

Bluehost WonderSuite for shared hosting plans

Shared hosting plans are managed, meaning the web host handles technical maintenance and server administration. Running your own server is no easy task, but a shared hosting package 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.

Shard hosting is User-Friendly 

Shared hosting plans are incredibly user-friendly. You don’t need to worry about the technical intricacies of managing a server because the web host takes care of it all. 

This means tasks like server setup, software installation, server updates, and hardware upgrades are completely handled by the hosting provider. 

With shared hosting, you can focus your energy on what truly matters – growing your website and attracting more visitors.

Shared hosting enables multiple domains 

Shared hosting allows you to host multiple domains under a single hosting account. 

This feature is particularly advantageous if you have multiple websites or projects. 

You can manage all your domains from one central control panel, simplifying the administration process and saving you time and effort.

Shared hosting provides security 

Security is a top priority for any website owner, and shared hosting doesn’t fall short in this regard. 

Hosting providers invest in robust security measures to protect their shared hosting servers. They often implement firewalls, regular security updates, and malware scanning to ensure your website remains safe and secure.

Additionally, the shared hosting environment is monitored for any suspicious activities, helping to prevent security breaches.

Disadvantages of shared hosting

Shared hosting does have some drawbacks.

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.

Technical restrictions

Disallowed plugins on Bluehost.

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

Shared hosting can be safe and perform well.

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 would 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.

Minimal scalability

Hosting plans that go beyond shared hosting.

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 company and 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 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.

Decreases site speed

Shared hosting means you’re sharing server resources, including CPU, RAM, and bandwidth, with other websites hosted on the same server. 

As a result, during peak traffic periods or if neighboring websites experience high levels of activity, your site’s loading speed may decrease.

This can lead to a less-than-optimal user experience, especially if your website depends on quick load times.

Potential server crashes

Shared hosting servers can occasionally experience downtime or crashes due to various reasons. 

If one website on the shared server experiences a sudden surge in traffic, it can impact the overall server performance and potentially lead to server crashes. 

While hosting providers strive to minimize such occurrences, they are a possibility in shared hosting environments.

What should you look for in shared hosting?

When selecting a shared hosting provider, it’s crucial to consider several key factors to ensure you get the best value and performance for your website. Here are the essential elements to look for in shared hosting:

  1. Storage Space: Assess your website’s storage needs. Shared hosting plans typically offer varying levels of storage space. Ensure that the hosting provider offers enough storage to accommodate your current website’s content and any anticipated growth. Consider factors like images, videos, and additional files when determining your storage requirements.
  2. Bandwidth: Bandwidth refers to the amount of data that can be transferred between your website and its visitors. Choose a shared hosting plan with sufficient bandwidth to handle your expected website traffic. It’s essential to avoid plans with bandwidth limitations that could lead to slow loading times or overage charges if you exceed the allocated bandwidth.
  3. Easy-to-Use Dashboard: A user-friendly control panel or dashboard is essential for managing your website, domains, email accounts, and other hosting features. Popular control panels like cPanel or Plesk are often included with shared hosting plans and make it easier to set up and maintain your website without advanced technical knowledge.
  4. Database and Programming Language Support: Check if the hosting provider supports the specific database systems and programming languages your website requires. For example, if your website is built with WordPress, ensure that the host supports PHP and MySQL. Verify compatibility with any other web applications or frameworks you intend to use.

Who should use shared hosting?

  1. Beginners and small Businesses: Shared hosting is an excellent choice for individuals who are new to website hosting and management. It’s user-friendly and doesn’t require extensive technical knowledge. Small businesses, startups, and personal websites with limited budgets can benefit from the cost-effectiveness of shared hosting.
  2. Low to moderate traffic websites: If your website receives low to moderate levels of traffic, shared hosting can adequately handle the load. This includes personal blogs, portfolio websites, informational sites, and small online businesses. Shared hosting provides enough resources to serve these types of websites efficiently.
  3. Budget-conscious individuals: Shared hosting plans are typically the most affordable hosting option available. If you’re on a tight budget and don’t require advanced features or extensive server resources, shared hosting allows you to establish an online presence without breaking the bank.
  4. Non-technical users: Shared hosting is designed for users who may not have advanced technical skills. Many hosting providers offer user-friendly control panels like cPanel or Plesk, making it easy to set up and manage websites, domains, and email accounts without the need for coding or server administration expertise.
  5. Static or light dynamic websites: If your website primarily consists of static content, like text and images, or utilizes lightweight dynamic elements, shared hosting is suitable. Websites with complex, resource-intensive applications may benefit from higher-tier hosting options like VPS or dedicated servers.

Is shared hosting right for you?

If you’re unsure of choosing the best shared hosting providers, then here’s a list of factors to consider.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 must 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.

Common questions about shared hosting

How does Shared Hosting differ from other hosting types?

Shared Hosting offers cost-efficient, user-friendly hosting by allocating resources across multiple websites, ensuring affordability without sacrificing quality.

Can I upgrade from Shared Hosting to another hosting type later?

With Bluehost, the answer is yes! As your website grows, seamlessly upgrade to more robust hosting solutions, ensuring uninterrupted scaling.

Is Shared Hosting Good for Blogging?

Shared Hosting is ideal for bloggers! Enjoy swift load times, easy installation, and robust tools to bring your content alive.

Final thoughts: What is shared hosting? Pros and cons explained

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.

  • Tiffani Anderson

    Tiffani is a Content and SEO Manager for the Bluehost brand. With over 10 years experience across all facets of content and brand marketing, she strives to combine concepts from brand marketing with engaging content through the lens of SEO.

    University of North Texas
    Previous Experience
    Content Marketing, SEO, Social Media
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  1. IndoWebsite Reply

    Great explanation, I need to share this, thank’s you 🙂

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