If you do an online search for a hosting plan, then chances are you will be inundated with “cheap” shared hosting options from a considerable number of companies. For first-time website owners are looking to dip their big toe into the internet pool, and these aren’t bad plans to have.
However, as with anything, there are some downsides to using shared hosting.
Let’s look at the limitations of a shared plan so that you can make an educated choice on whether it will work for you or if you need to step up to a better plan.
What is Shared Hosting and what are the drawbacks?
With shared hosting, your website is placed on a common server with many other websites (usually more than one hundred). There is nothing separating these websites from each other like on a virtual private server. This leads us to the four main limitations for this hosting plan:
- Shared Resources—The first major limitation is with the shared resources that you have on your server. If only ten percent (maybe a dozen or so) of the websites on your server have a daily traffic spike, then they can significantly lower the speed of your website. This is because all of the memory and other resources (such as storage and bandwidth) are shared amongst all of the sites. This doesn’t mean that everyone gets the same cut of one big pie. If one site needs more resources, then it will simply take it without you having any say in the matter. As a result, it can decrease your access to these resources.
- Security—Another major drawback concerns security. First, you will not be able to load your own software onto the server. This means that you won’t be able to put your own anti-virus programs on the website to protect your site. Also, if a website (or multiple sites) on the server is installing malware or spreading viruses, then your website could very easily become infected (as could, conceivably, every site on that server). Ultimately, your site’s safety is left in the hands of people you don’t even know.
- Customization—You will be able to install your Content Management System (CMS) such as WordPress or any one of the other hundred or so options that are out there. However, once you install the CMS, you will only be allowed to use the default configuration for it. You won’t be able to tweak the system to meet any of your specific needs. This means that you will basically have a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all configuration for your website. Add to this the fact that you will not be able to do updates that require you to restart the server. (You can’t shut down all those other sites just so you can run an update.)
- Control—If you choose to go with a cheap hosting option, be sure that you read the fine print. First off, you are generally taking this cheap price in exchange for automatic renewals at a higher rate. This also means that once the promotional cost runs out, you will be locked in at the new rate for a set time, generally one year. You also need to see exactly what limitations on bandwidth and storage the host is putting into place. Once exceeded, your website will generally be shut down for a specific time period.
The bottom line is that shared hosting is a great plan, but only if you are new to the internet and don’t require much from your hosting plan. If you need something faster or more secure, then you may wish to step up to a Virtual Private Server (VPS). Regardless of which option is best for you, InMotion Hosting has a multitude of server options that will help fulfill your individual website needs.