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Is shared hosting really any good?

Shared hosting
(Image credit: Shutterstock/hywards)

Let’s face it, there is no real mystery around shared hosting. The clue is in the name, and this means of web hosting has long been the most economical option due to its overall cost of server maintenance being spread over many customers. 

To put it quite simply, choosing shared hosting means your website will share a physical server with one or more other websites. 

Such services typically offer basic web statistics support, email and webmail services, auto script installations, updated PHP and MySQL, basic after-sale technical support that is included with a monthly subscription.

While you may be grappling with all the web hosting options available out there and figuring out which one is right for you, this article will help you get a better understanding of exactly what shared hosting is, whether it's any good, and when it’s best to use it.

TechRadar Pro asked provider Hostinger to give us the lowdown on everything shared hosting related to help enable you to make a more informed decision on your hosting service choices.

What is shared hosting?

Shared hosting plans have multiple websites hosted on the same server, with all of them sharing the server resources between each other. Therefore, each user on the server has their own limited amount of resources they can use.

Due to its limitations, shared hosting is the most affordable, and therefore, the most popular type of hosting – perfect for small and medium-sized websites or businesses, as well as personal blogs and small online stores.

With shared hosting, you also don’t need to worry about server management, as that is taken care of by your hosting provider.

Is shared hosting any good?

Even though shared hosting is the cheapest option when it comes to hosting plans, that doesn’t make it a poor choice.

Due to its simplicity and affordability, picking up a shared hosting plan is a great way for beginners to start a website.

Of course, there are drawbacks. For example, if one website on the server suffers from a huge traffic spike, all websites hosted on the same server will be affected, potentially slowing your website down.

What’s the difference between shared hosting and dedicated hosting?

With shared hosting, one server can host multiple websites, dedicating a set amount of resources to each one.

On the other hand, when it comes to dedicated hosting, an entire server belongs to a single customer or business.

While you do get the most freedom with dedicated hosting, it is still the most expensive hosting option available and requires extensive technical knowledge to operate.

When shouldn't you use shared hosting?

If you expect lots of daily traffic or own a larger business, the amount of server resources that shared hosting plans provide might not be enough for you.

If that’s the case, a better idea would be to opt for a VPS or cloud hosting – two excellent solutions that don’t break the bank.

Do users need shared hosting?

Shared hosting is the most popular (and most affordable) choice among entry-level users. 

Due to its affordable prices, shared hosting is the best value deal for beginners, who are just starting their online journey. If you are establishing a small business, decide to start a blog or would like to go online with your portfolio/personal site - shared web hosting is the perfect solution.

Is there another type of hosting that is better than shared hosting?

Each hosting solution has its pros and cons, depending on the user and their needs. For example, WordPress hosting is specifically dedicated for users who are planning or already own a WordPress website. 

Sure, it is a bit more expensive but has more dedicated features and is optimized for the best possible performance. 

On the other hand, Cloud Hosting is the best for websites that experience volatile hikes and dips in traffic. As the user's site is stored on multiple servers, it allows scalable, reliable, and flexible type of hosting.

VPS hosting is an ideal option for users that are looking for amazing value and dedicated features but not ready to invest in dedicated hosting just yet. With flexible customizability, VPS hosting provides users with their own allocated bandwidth and storage, SSH and root access to their environment enabling incredible performance. 

How much storage is required for beginners searching for web hosting services?

Each beginner has different needs - whether they wish to create a small blog, an online store, or venture out with multiple sites for their business. 

The storage requirement may vary from 10GB to 100GB. We encourage new users to assess their monthly website visits and choose a hosting plan according to the traffic.  

What about an SSL certificate?

The only instance where users don’t need to worry about the importance of SSL is if their website is for private use. However, if the website is expecting visitors, it is critical to protect server-client communication. 

When dealing with sensitive visitor data, especially in the European Union, SSL helps to protect against attacks from ill-wishing hackers. If the user runs an online store and collects customer IDs, passwords and payments, the data transfer process must be safeguarded. No customer will hand over their credit card information to an unsecured site.

By using advanced encryption, SSL not only protects sensitive data, but also provides authentication and even better rankings on Google. A website with an SSL certificate enabled will have a URL that starts with https:// instead of http://, as s stands for secure.  

Abigail Opiah

Abigail is a B2B Editor that specialises in Web Hosting and Cloud Services news at TechRadar Pro. She has been a journalist for more than three years covering a wide range of topics in the technology sector. She is now interested in receiving the latest B2B news and updates on website builders, domains, e-commerce platforms and Web hosting.