Shared web hosting is the most common way for users to get a website up and running on the Internet. Shared hosting is defined as a single server that divides up its available resources between numerous users. Because of the size and speed of today’s web server hardware, and the comparatively small amount of data that is required to operate a typical webpage, shared web hosting servers often have many websites on each physical server.
Shared hosting is the least expensive way to get a website up and running. All free webhosting services like those supplied by Google on their Blogspot service, or WordPress on their free site, aren’t exactly alternatives to paying for shared web hosting. They are, after all, shared webhosting services, operating at the back end in the same way as purchasing web hosting from a provider directly.
In order to work efficiently for all the users, shared web hosting providers must place limits on the services they offer their customers. If you shop around for shared web hosting, you’ll often see shared service being advertised as unlimited, but in practice unlimited really means that the limits are assumed to be higher than your average user would ever need. Every account on a shared web hosting server will have some kind of limits placed on the disk space, the amount of web traffic that visits the site on a monthly basis, the number of email accounts you can set up and administer, and the number and size of databases associated with the website.
In practice, almost no user will rub up against the limits placed on their accounts unless they’re running a very unusual website. The web hosting company is simply using upper caps on their services to keep customers from using their accounts as a mass storage device or some other use that isn’t really compatible with a shared webhosting contract.
While the resources on the physical machine are supposed to be apportioned equally to all the users with a shared hosting account, it’s not practical to divide up the performance resources like RAM and CPU cycles available to all the users. That means that if another user gets a significantly higher level of web traffic than the other users, they will slow down the response times for visitors to all the other web sites on the same physical server.
That’s why shared web hosting providers try hard to put users with the same general type of websites on the same servers. Users that require massive amounts of bandwidth, RAM, or storage space are steered toward more appropriate hosting plans like Virtual Private Servers or Dedicated Servers. This works out better for everyone involved. If a highly trafficked site is on a server with many small sites, it’s the most highly trafficked site that will suffer the greatest bottleneck to fast rendering of their webpages. They’re better off on a more capable server, and the smaller sites don’t have all the server resources used up by one neighbor on their shared disk.
Shared web hosting is by far the most economical way to put a website on the Internet. The cost of keeping the machine that hosts the website up and running is shared between many users, driving the cost down for all the users. As the cost of manufacturing the hardware for a web server has also come down, the costs for shared hosting has plummeted over the last ten years.
There’s a good reason why upwards of 90 percent of the web sites on the Internet are hosted on shared servers. The combination of low price and high performance that shared web hosting offers is almost unbeatable, at least for the average-sized website.
Another unbeatable feature for shared webhosting service is that users don’t need to perform any technical maintenance on their server in order to run their website. In fact, for most people, there is no need to have anything to do with server administration of any kind. Shared web hosting companies allow users to simply upload the data files for their websites directly through a Control Panel. Control Panels are almost all equipped with the ability to upload a copy of the most popular Content Management Systems like WordPress with one mouse click, so users rarely work directly on their files on their shared hosting server. That makes running a website using shared web hosting non-technical enough for almost anyone, and at a price that anyone can afford.