Shared web hosting means exactly what it says – you share a server with other users who are running their own websites from that hardware. Every customer gets a portion of that physical server for their own use.
Best shared web hosting
The main strength here is that this is a cost-effective solution, and because you’re prepared to share hardware with other folks, you’ll naturally be playing less than the outlay for dedicated hosting.
By the same token, however, you’re also sharing resources with others, and that means that the performance you’ll get will likely be a fair bit slower (and indeed generally less consistent).
That might be fine for sites which don’t have a lot of traffic, but it could be a problem if your bandwidth needs are greater, or reliable and consistent performance is a priority for your website.
So, obviously bear all that in mind, but if you do want to go the shared hosting route in an effort to make some serious savings, which are the best providers to plump for? Read on and find out.
Feature-packed shared hosting from a professional firm
Don’t fret that this popular web host’s plans are marketed as ‘business’ products, because they’re applicable to individual users as well as companies. There’s a good range of choice here, and shared hosting starts from just $3.99 (£3.1) per month (2-year plan).
What’s also good to see here is that InMotion incorporates features into its shared hosting plans which other providers charge extra for – like hack and DDoS protection, a system of basic backups, and a WordPress-based website builder.
Another strong suit here is the way that this web host provides full details of all its services at-a-glance on the website, and makes it easy to compare features, and make your decision when taking the plunge with a subscription.
You also get cPanel and Softaculous-powered hosting, a sterling level of technical support, and in our testing, we found this provider delivered some impressive performance levels when it came to site loading speeds. All in all, there are lots of reasons to go with InMotion, and a 90-day money-back guarantee doesn’t hurt, either.
A good option for beginners
A popular provider, Hostinger has some really affordable plans, both for individual users and businesses. Starting at just $0.99 (£0.8) per month for a single website, 100GB bandwidth, 10GB disk space and $4.49 (£3.6) for unlimited everything, except disk space, which is limited to 30GB. The $4.49 plan also delivers 4X processing power and memory.
All plans also come with additional features. Free SSL certificate is included in all plans (you are notified in the shopping cart), and higher tier plans, like the Business plan, comes with daily backups, Cloudflare protection, free domain registration, SSH access and more.
Hostinger is definitely a capable provider, although some might be bothered by the disk space limitation when compared to some other providers. Nevertheless, you also get a 30-day money back guarantee, so you can always ask for a refund if you are not satisfied with the service.
Powerful hosting and fairly priced to boot
This is another web host which caters for the more budget-minded, and of course that’s never a bad thing. Although do note that you only get the really cheap prices when signing up for longer term lengths with HostGator, so something of a commitment is required for the best savings here.
For example, the cheapest shared hosting plan is $2.64 (£2) per month if you sign up for 36 months, but $4.48 (£3.38) per month if you sign up for one year.
The good news is that you get plenty for your money, and no annoying limitations, so even the basic plan allows for unlimited bandwidth, web space, email accounts and more. A 99.9% uptime guarantee is also good to see.
Customer support is generally pretty good – although it falls down in a few areas, for example the web help forums aren’t moderated by the company itself – and we found performance was better than average in terms of site loading times.
A budget shared web host that doesn’t cut corners
If you want to do web hosting on a budget, then as this provider’s name suggests, it aims to be inexpensive. You get some impressive value-for-money with Namecheap, particularly with an initial discount for the first year, and there are some heavyweight plans here.
However, note the starter ‘value’ plan only gives you 20GB of hard drive space and 30 email accounts, but you get that at the price of just $2.88 per month.
Namecheap offers a 99.9% connectivity guarantee, and is a very easy service to set up, with an initial welcome email that points you in the right direction for everything you might need (backed up by some impressive FAQs). It also plays host to an excellent searchable knowledgebase.
To round things off, testing proved that this company generally offers above average speeds compared to rivals, making this a great hosting provider for those who aren’t keen on doing too much damage to their wallet.
A user-friendly shared web host with plenty to offer
1&1 IONOS (in the late October 2018, 1&1 changed their name to 1&1 IONOS) is a big web hosting player, vying with GoDaddy for world domination, and is the biggest player in Europe. Located in Germany, it offers a bewildering array of services with prices starting from as little as $0.99 per month excluding VAT (although that rises to $7.99 after the first year).
On top of that, this shared hoster provides some smart freebies (a free domain, SSL certificates across all plans, free web design software (NetObjects Fusion 2013), 24/7 phone and email support, a graphics archive, a 30-day money-back guarantee, transparent replication (the company calls it geo-redundancy) and a whopping 300Gbps network connectivity. Also, you get a personal consultant, free of charge.
A good all-rounder hosting outfit
Based in London, bang in the middle of startup territory (Shoreditch), UK2 offers an impressively cheap starting shared hosting package at around $2.5 (£1.95) per month excluding VAT (although that rises to $7.8 (£5.95) a month on renewal). It also offers affordable unlimited packages with unlimited emails, bandwidth, a free SSL certificate (great for improved security and search visibility), a free domain and a dedicated IP.
Prospective customers will appreciate the lack of setup fees or hidden charges, the 30-day money-back guarantee, plus 24/7 UK-based phone support on a freephone number and UK-based data centres.
Web hosting designed to please the demanding user
SiteGround offers some low-end shared hosting plans which may cost a little bit more than some budget rivals you’ll find on this page, but the upside is that they include all the core features that you’ll likely need.
The firm’s StartUp account is $3.95 a month initially (with the cost rising when you renew), and with that you get unlimited traffic, email accounts and databases, not to mention one-click installation of apps like WordPress. It also bundles features that rival firms often charge for as extras like daily backups or CDN capabilities (Cloudflare).
Another nifty touch is the provider’s SuperCacher system which caches frequently-accessed data in RAM, aiming to improve site performance. This could certainly help busy websites.
Not everything is rosy here, though – for example the basic account limits you to 10GB of web space. Also, website support via the company’s knowledgebase is a rather shoddy experience, but there are other avenues of tech support which perform much better.
A great option for those looking to host multiple sites
This is a premium outfit with a well-featured ‘Essentials’ plan which offers a great deal of functionality, and is ideal for those looking to host multiple websites (or those who want plenty of room to grow).
With prices starting from as little as $1.99 per month for the shared hosting basic plan (via an offer at the time of writing), iPage gives you unlimited web space and bandwidth, unlimited email addresses, MySQL databases and even domains.
Not only that, iPage incorporates some very smart extras like a drag-and-drop page builder, with a basic shared SSL certificate thrown in for good measure. This provider also offers good quality tech support via live chat and email (although other support avenues aren’t as strong).
Performance levels seems solid, and this is certainly a web host to bear in mind for experienced users who are dealing with large numbers of sites.
UK-based host with temptingly low prices
One of the smaller web hosting outfits in this listing, PlanetHippo has managed to keep its prices at a lower level compared to most of the competition. Its One Account Linux shared hosting costs just $1.33 (£1) per month (excluding VAT), and it’s an appealing budget package. The firm’s Unlimited plan offers ‘unlimited everything’ for $8 (£5.99) per month (and that includes a free domain).
As with other web hosts, you get a 30-day warranty, 24/7 UK-based support (and it’s of a good quality – although there’s no option to use the phone) and all of PlanetHippo’s servers are based in the UK. Throw in a smartly designed hosting panel, and you won’t go far wrong with this particular provider.
Versatile provider with some low-cost plans
This is another UK-based provider, and Tsohost also plays the value card, with an entry-level Startup shared hosting plan which starts at $3.8(£2.92) per month (providing you sign up for two years – it’s $4.15(£3.16) per month if you commit for just one year). That plan limits you to 15GB storage and you do get unlimited bandwidth, Let’s Encrypt SSL and a hundred mailboxes.
Tsohost’s technical support may not be the fastest out there in terms of response times, at least in our experience, but it did provide clear and accurate answers to queries. Performance levels are also solid, and the company offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- And we consider the merits of shared hosting vs dedicated hosting here
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