If you’re investigating hosting for the first time, all the different options are probably enough to make you dizzy. Between VPN hosting, cloud hosting, shared hosting, and all the other potential hosting types, how do you pick which is best for you? To help you determine the best fit for your needs, we’ve written a fairly succinct primer on the top shared hosting pros and cons.
Pros of Shared Hosting
Shared hosting is typically substantially cheaper than dedicated hosting, a fact which contributes to it also being among the most common type of hosting purchased today. Especially for those building a straightforward, simple website which isn’t resource-intensive, those lower costs are incredibly attractive. If you’re not going to be using the resources of a more expensive option, why pay for it?
Shared hosting is also the best option for individuals who are not terribly technically inclined. Since the hosting provider maintains the server, and provides an easy interface for you to interact with your hosting space, you don’t really need the technical skills to be interfacing directly with a server… or to spend the money to hire staff to do it for you. For many people, easy access to your hosting provider’s support staff is as close as you need to come to hiring an IT department.
So, in short: the pros include low cost, ease, and convenience to the majority of consumers.
The Most Common Cons With Shared Hosting
The most significant shared hosting cons include having limited resources and space, an inability to modify the server you’re hosted on, and cybersecurity concerns. Since most average hosting users are likely to be most concerned about cybersecurity, we’ll tackle that issue first.
Shared hosting connects multiple user accounts, websites, and databases on a shared piece of hardware: the server. The vast majority of shared hosting accounts have all been built with small-to-medium websites in mind, and the owners of these websites effectively cost-share the space on the server. It’s an easy and straightforward way to make hosting more accessible and less cost prohibitive.
The most common concerns with shared hosting include the following:
- Perl and PHP shell account access.
- External Denial of Service attacks. If a malicious hacker engages in a Denial of Service attack on any website on your server’s IP, your website will also be affected.
- If any website or user on your server, even if they’re unrelated to you and your website, have their IP placed on a spam blacklist… your IP will also be affected.
- Harmful malware uploaded to other websites which utilize your server in a shared hosting is likely to be able to affect your website as well. Oftentimes, these are used to steal data, like customer or visitor identities or payment information.
- Some DDoS attacks might be used to attack your server, and then allow malicious hackers to gain control of the entire server.
But as for the other major cons? The size of shared hosting plans (which are typically quite small) is often far too small for the purposes of a large or traffic-heavy website. So if you anticipate that your website will grow quickly, or might need additional space, that’s certainly something significant to factor in.
But You Can Minimize The Risks
There’s no such thing as failproof cybersecurity, and it’s important to realize that fact. If security is your biggest concern with shared hosting, know that there are simple steps you can take to minimize those risks.
- Use a well-rated hosting company which works to verify the identity of new clients.
- Limit any access to executable commands.
- Maintain malware monitoring software on the server.
- Ensure that your hosting company has a plan of action for quickly quarantining or suspending websites which become infected.
The Bottom Line
Shared hosting is significantly cheaper than dedicated hosting, and has several other perks for novice users… but also comes with a few cons. For plenty of traditional website builders, the advantages of the low costs are well worth the negatives.
In all cases, however, make a point of doing your due diligence! Undertake to complete a shared hosting comparison, to gauge the cost and benefits of shared hosting plans and companies against other options. If shared hosting stacks up as the best of your options, make certain that you opt to pick a hosting company which works aggressively to safeguard its servers and clients’ websites.