Shared hosting is a basic, cheap kind of web hosting used by many companies
Shared hosting is good for publishing websites that don’t receive large amounts of traffic, and can be a cost-effective way to get your website online.
This article explains what shared hosting is, to help you understand whether it’s right for your business.
Shared hosting is named because your web hosting space is on a server shared by other people. It is most often used to host websites, and one single server can hold hundreds of websites. That may sound a lot, but it works because most of the websites don’t receive too many visitors, or use enough of the server’s resources to cause problems.
That’s why shared hosting packages tend to be cheap. Entry-level packages can start from as little as £1 - £2 a month, although these may have come with significant space restrictions or limited support.
Typically, a shared hosting package gives you access to a certain amount of disk space on the server, as well as a certain amount of website traffic each month. Most packages will also include lots of other features, like:
Shared hosting is generally regarded as the most basic form of web hosting. Many web hosting companies simply call their shared hosting service ‘web hosting’.
Shared hosting is a cheap, basic service. It’s mainly good for:
It takes relatively little technical knowledge to start using shared hosting. Packages usually come ready-to-go for most common uses, and if you’re hosting a website you simply need to follow the instructions to upload your files.
Very cheap web hosting packages can be a false economy. In order to keep costs down, some shared hosting companies cram as many customers as possible onto each server, meaning your website can become slow or completely unavailable.
And although you may see shared hosting packages advertised as having unlimited capacity, in reality such services will be unable to cope with large traffic spikes.
Overall, shared hosting is less resilient than other forms of hosting, and therefore not usually appropriate for busy, complex websites or important applications. The very fact that your data sits on a server along with data from lots of other people gives you less control – and potentially makes things less secure.
It’s better to purchase virtual server hosting, dedicated hosting or cloud hosting, as these services offer greater capacity and reliability – with better guarantees from the companies providing them.
Shared hosting and web hosting: other popular content
Find more articles, videos and tools in the Resources box.