Shared hosting is an affordable and easy-to-manage hosting option for many websites. Here’s why it might be the best option for your small business.
After you’ve completed the first important step in building your website, it’s time to bring it online with a hosting service. For many, exploring shared web hosting can be an advantageous option. Shared server hosting is easily a small business’s best friend when it comes to looking at pricing, features, and more.
Overview: What is Shared Hosting?
Simply put, a shared hosting plan is when multiple websites use (or share) a single server as their host. This is an anonymous sharing, generally because you don’t know who your site neighbors are, and they don’t know who you are.
You only need to share the resources of one server to go online. Because multiple sites are hosted on a single server, there are often limitations on the total amount of resources a single site can use, such as traffic and bandwidth caps.
For most small businesses and small sites, these limits are within reason, and the economics of a shared plan make it well worth it as part of a site management strategy.
Advantages of using shared hosting
Shared hosting providers are a favorite choice for many business owners—and for good reason, as these plans offer many advantages (such as lower price points) for small businesses and their networking needs.
Shared domain hosting is by far the cheapest hosting option, as it uses fewer resources and runs from less than $1 per month to typically no more than $9.99.
easy to upgrade
You won’t be locked into a plan or shared hosting forever, as most servers have multiple levels of hosting available. You can start with shared hosting and upgrade as needed.
Great place to start learning
If you’re new to the world of website creation and hosting, shared hosting is a convenient way for you to dive in and learn more without having to deal with coding and other website management tasks yourself.
easy to use
Shared hosting plans often come with a built-in cPanel (control panel) that makes site management more intuitive.
You usually don’t need technical maintenance or knowledge as this is part of the shared hosting package.
Since many sites rely on a single server that stays online, shared hosting servers tend to have an excellent uptime track record.
Disadvantages of using shared hosting
Of course, while shared hosting has many benefits, it also has its own drawbacks to consider.
As your website receives more traffic or requires higher functionality, you may see performance and speed suffer as the host has to throttle resources to keep things fair.
slow loading time
Shared hosting typically has slower load times than dedicated plans as the server’s resources are spread across multiple sites.
Unknown sharing site
While most neighborhood sites are constantly evolving, you never know who your neighbors are, which could mean you may be adjacent to some potentially risky sites.
You simply won’t get the same amount of customization options as with dedicated hosting, which means you’ll always be limited by website optimization.
4 Tips To Decide If Shared Hosting Is Right For Your Business
Weighing the various pros and cons, is shared hosting right for your needs? Keep these questions in mind as you explore your options.
1. Figure out your budget
Many times, the first concern is your business budget and what you can afford.
As mentioned earlier, shared hosting is almost always significantly cheaper than other options (especially virtual private servers and dedicated servers) because you use less space and resources, which reduces costs.
Determining the maximum payout you can afford is important to know if you can even free up the cash to opt for anything other than a shared plan.
2. Determine which features and resources you need
Of course, the capabilities and features you need your website to have is an important consideration.
While shared plans are definitely cheaper, they also have more limited features than dedicated plans. If your site is small and needs less, you probably don’t need to worry about performance limitations.
However, if you expect a lot of traffic or custom functionality, shared hosting may not be the best option, as shared sites are limited, so the allocated resources (bandwidth, memory, data, etc.) are not all used by one client.
Some sharing plans have restrictions on the types of files that can be uploaded due to malware concerns. If you have unique needs, check to make sure no file restrictions apply.
The same security precautions extend to certain plugins and other site features, so be sure to carefully comb through what’s available and what’s forbidden.
3. Consider the size of your website
Since shared hosting websites are hosted on a single server, there are inherent physical size limitations.
If your website is too large, it will either not fit in or hit a huge ceiling on its loading and execution capabilities. In short, consider the amount of storage space allowed on a shared plan; if your website is larger than that, or you expect higher traffic, then shared hosting won’t be suitable.
The same line of thinking applies to the traffic levels of other sites. Their specific size and traffic levels can negatively impact your performance if they exceed shared parameters.
4. Consider your technical skills
One of the biggest concerns of small business owners creating websites revolves around technical skills.
While many of the backends of website building and hosting can get very complex and require developer knowledge, shared hosting plans really keep you simple; usually, the hosting service will handle the maintenance and management.
If you have no coding experience, are new to technology, or simply don’t have the time to devote to maintaining a server, shared hosting may be more appealing.
Shared hosting is often a good choice for small business websites
While it’s certainly not for everyone, the benefits and capabilities of shared hosting often make it a great choice for small business websites, portfolios, personal sites, and blogs.
Shared hosting keeps things simple thanks to its low cost in terms of time and money, so you can devote your resources elsewhere.
Despite certain caps and limitations, most smaller sites won’t be affected by those limitations for a long time, making shared hosting a great place to start.
At the end of the day, even in the site and server small business world, sharing is a concern.
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