To start a site, you need a host or server to store and make the site available. By searching your site’s address in the browser, the storage location of your site is determined. The browser requests information related to the site from the server, and you will see the web page in the browser by providing data from the server. So users interact with your site by scrolling, spending time on your site pages, and clicking on links.
Hosting is one of the most important aspects of running your website, so to make the best hosting decision, you need to be familiar with the different hosting options available. Not only do you need to decide which hosting provider to choose, but you also need to determine the ideal hosting service for your needs.
Although understanding the difference between hosts can be confusing and incomprehensible for many users, it is not that difficult. With a bit of research, you can get to know the types of hosting and make the right choice for hosting your work sites.
Beginner website owners often choose shared hosting as their primary hosting solution because of its reasonable cost.
Shared hosting, which is one of the most popular hosting services, will be the subject of this post. If you want to decide whether shared hosting is right for you or not, read this post until the end to get the answer; because, in this article, we are going to define shared hosting and analyze its advantages and disadvantages in every way. So accompany us.
Definition of web hosting services
For the sharing and availability of the website through the Internet, people and organizations need to receive services and information storage space, which are known as web hosting services. For example, if you consider the site as an apartment, the host is the land and infrastructure of the apartment in which it is located.
Connecting any computer to the network can be used as a server, but providing equipment, high bandwidth, sufficient software, and support force for website owners requires a lot of money, which is not economical. Therefore, the service provider companies are responsible for providing these facilities, and a large part of the server resources, such as the hard disk space of the servers and even the space of the data center for other servers, are provided to applicants for rent; it should be noted that the companies that provide these services are called hosting.
What is shared hosting?
Shared hosting is limited space with specific features on the server and is a site hosting service that shares the resources of a server such as hard disk, RAM, CPU, and bandwidth among several different users with different sites. It means that, in Shared hosting, the information of several sites is collected on one server, which is also provided to the relevant sites when needed and requested.
As a result, the cost of shared hosting is cheaper than other hosting services, and for this reason, it is the choice of most users. As we have explained, users need a server to launch the sites, and the server is a powerful and always available computer that has more power than hosting only one site; in this case, the server’s resources can be provided to more than one site, and The contents of different sites should be placed on the same host, in other words, users should benefit from common (and of course limited) resources for their activities. Also, shared hosting is the most cost-effective way to set up an online site, as the cost of maintaining a server is shared among all users.
The capacity of a shared hosting service is usually determined by the hardware and software configuration of the server. While some servers can host only one site, others can handle hundreds or even thousands of users simultaneously.
Although users can use resources according to their needs and have some control over the resources consumed, sites that use shared hosting are limited in the use of resources and what they can do. This limit prevents a site from using server resources beyond the limit, which is called Dedicated Application Pool. These limits are considered a server feature because it is determined to fairly distribute server resources among hosted websites while maintaining a high level of service quality. If a website’s needs exceed the resources provided by shared hosting, it should consider other options such as buying a VPS or a dedicated server.
Most users choose a virtual server if their needs are not met with shared hosting because it is the ideal option for businesses that want to launch a growing site with less capital. A virtual server is an option, by choosing it, you can have the same performance as a dedicated server but at a more reasonable price.
Note that dedicated servers are the opposite of shared hosting. By purchasing a dedicated server, the complete resources of a server are available to a website. As a result, providing a dedicated server naturally has a much higher price than shared hosting.
In shared hosting, users will only be able to manage and access their sites through the control panel provided by the service provider, but they have no direct access to the main server files or server configuration settings (Root Access), and the hosting company is responsible for maintaining and managing the server.
Web hosting services can be divided into subsets according to the server’s operating system and, by extension, the programs and files that can be stored and accessed on that server, like Linux host and Windows host.
Shared hosting is the best option for smaller and medium-sized websites that don’t get a lot of visitors regularly, don’t generate a lot of data, don’t need a lot of server resources, or don’t have the expertise and opportunity to manage a server.
Advantages of shared hosting
Shared hosting has significant advantages that have attracted many users; in the following, we will discuss some of the benefits of shared hosting:
Cheap and affordable
As we have already mentioned, these features of shared hosting, the cheap cost of shared hosting compared to a dedicated server, and cloud hosting is the reason for choosing and using it for many beginner users who want to start a website for the first time.
This price difference is remarkable, and the main reason for this cheapness is the sharing of server maintenance costs between subscribers. It is exactly like this example that in an apartment, due to the shared use of resources, the cost of maintenance is divided among the residents of the units; In contrast, in a villa, because it is entirely at your disposal, and you do not have a partner in using the resources, one person will bear all the costs of maintaining the villa.
Also, by providing shared hosting, there is no need to pay a separate fee for the license of some software installed on the host server.
Suitable for new and small sites
Due to its cost-effectiveness, shared hosting is a suitable option for users who are new to work and have a small budget and who want to set up a site for the first time and do not need dedicated resources; one of its features is that you can launch your site quickly after getting a shared hosting.
Shared hosting providers offer different levels of hosting for more choices to users, which allows you to upgrade your hosting plan over time and as site traffic grows; This factor makes shared hosting an excellent option for beginners.
Easy management and no experience required
If you want to start a site for the first time, server management may seem like a big obstacle and a technical challenge. The company providing shared hosting services makes managing your site easier by providing special control panels such as cPanel and Direct Admin to control resources and access to hosting. most shared hosting packages have features and tools that are very easy to use and useful, such as management panels that allow you to easily upload your website files, create email accounts, and add databases for the services you need.
Also, the hosting company’s responsibility is 24-hour server hardware and software management. As a result, you do not need to master technical skills and expertise for server settings, technical maintenance, and repairs in shared hosting management.
Many professionals consider shared hosting a ” beginner service, ” but in reality, it is sufficient for most sites and even exceeds their needs. . In fact, maintenance of the server is part of the package that you have prepared and paid for.
On the other hand, this feature allows your server to be professionally managed and maintained by experts, and you don’t have to worry about web hosting. Also, with shared hosting, you can benefit from the support of a professional technical team for hardware updates and maintenance, software updates, DDoS attacks, network outages, etc.
The possibility of hosting dynamic sites
First, we explain what dynamic sites are; these sites change their appearance according to visitors and are seen differently according to the characteristics of a person’s profile, and it also consists of several HTML pages.
Most news, educational sites, online stores, etc., are dynamic websites. For example, Facebook, Quora, Twitter, or CMSs like WordPress and Joomla that support PHP, Python, and Perl languages are dynamic; Shared hosting is also used for such sites.
Hosting of multiple domains
It is possible to run different websites with multiple domains in the shared hosting space, but you need to ensure that the domains you buy are connected. For example, a person can have different domains for their personal website, hobby blog, and business site, for which shared hosting is a great option.
Disadvantages of shared hosting
Shared hosting brings problems and risks due to sharing space and resources between different users, which we will mention a few of:
Decreased site loading speed
Since the shared hosting resources are shared, the site loading speed, i.e., the time it takes for the site pages to load after the browser request, is significantly reduced.
Poor performance under the influence of other users
When other users have a lot of traffic, their site is violated, their activities are associated with risks, or they put pressure on the server with their actions, they will inevitably hurt the efficiency and performance of your site. You may also encounter problems that affect your performance, for example, your website’s speed will decrease, or you will have to wait in line for a long time to receive a response from support.
Disruption when traffic increases
As we explained, shared hosting is suitable for owners of small and new sites with low traffic because, over time, with the increase in traffic, you will face problems such as slow loading and uploading speeds, and since users, if they encounter a delay in a site, will leave that site immediately; so, such problems will bring unpleasant consequences.
Limits on personalization
Shared hosting is impossible to customize, and you cannot change the hosting according to your needs because this service is used in a shared manner. The meaning of customization is not only in connection with the user interface and design but also in the field of data backup, setting, and in programs to reduce DDoS, you are not able to change; so considering this issue, you cannot get the performance you expect from your hosting.
compromising your site and information through partners
In shared hosting, different users with different sites share with you the use of server resources and you have no idea who the owners of these sites are or with which sites your server resources are shared. In this case, if the owner of the site that is a partner in using resources with you is a hacker, by accessing the server and disrupting the server services, the security of your site will also be at risk, or if a hacker can access the server through a neighboring site; as a result, it can affect other sites and invade your privacy. Also, when a hacker attacks a website and hosting service, all websites that use the same IP address are accessible and affected. As a result, sites that are your partners in shared hosting and operate simultaneously on the same server can be a threat to your website.
It can be better if hosting companies regularly check the activity of sites and remove that suspicious site by observing the suspicious activity of a site or spam-like activity to prevent possible security risks for other sites.
Site security in shared hosting
In shared hosting, the security of your site depends on the smallest weakness in the connection to the server. In other words, due to the nature of shared hosting, an attacker can access all the hosted domains through the shared root directory if the web server’s security is compromised. If a hacker breaches a website, he can easily access other sites hosted on that server and disrupt the security of other sites connected to the server, which is called Cross-site Contamination.
To access all the files in the shared directory, an attacker only needs to find an upload section on one of the shared websites, upload a PHP Reverse Shell or Perl script, and execute it. He may also check the CMS (Content Management System) and run a Joomla scan or a WP scan depending on the type of website (for WordPress websites).
This problem is mainly seen in WordPress sites because most hackers are familiar with the core of content management systems and directly penetrate the wp-config.php file containing data bank information, in which case disaster occurs. To avoid such security risks, you can make such files unreadable by everyone except the web server administrator and site administrator and disconnect the external IP connection to the wp-config.php file.
As a result, in shared hosting, a server may be responsible for hosting thousands of sites, among which there is a site that is vulnerable in terms of security and is considered a good gateway for hackers to enter. If a website on shared hosting is the target of a hacker’s detection efforts, the hacker can use a reverse IP lookup to discover other websites on the server and exploit them.
Security threats in shared hosting and ways to reduce security risks
Despite all these disadvantages, it can still be claimed that shared hosting is the best choice for beginners. But in the area of security, which is the most sensitive issue, site owners should take measures to improve and increase safety in cooperation with hosting service providers, and the following actions can be effective in reducing the impact of security attacks:
- To prevent users from uploading malicious scripts through the upload section, it is essential to enable validation of user input as text or Upload any document.
- In the case of Apache servers, a hacker usually chooses a symlink path to bypass authentication. As a result, the hosting company is responsible for installing security updates such as Rack911 Patch, Bluehost Patch, etc.
- Host companies must verify the identity of their new customers in various ways.
- Avoid malicious traffic, DDoS attack vectors, and more with the help of software like Astra Website Security.
- Regularly check malicious code uploads on websites.
- Choose a hosting service provider based on reputation and check their feedback to ensure they use proper hosting security measures.
Varieties of Web Hosting
Shared hosting is one of the most common methods for web hosting and setting up small websites, but you need to get to know other types of web hosting.
Virtual Private Server (VPS): A virtual server is a good option between a dedicated server and shared hosting, which consists of dividing a dedicated server into smaller parts by virtualization. A virtual server offers the same features as a dedicated server at a lower cost and creates the impression that each website is hosted on its own dedicated server. The virtual server creates a good user experience by providing root access and a secure hosting environment. (If you want to learn more about virtual servers, you can read the full and detailed article titled What is a VPS server? All you need to know about VPS.)
Dedicated hosting: This type of hosting allows you to rent the entire server exclusively for business or personal use for the user. In this way, you will directly control and monitor the server’s performance, improving the website’s performance.
Dedicated hosting is the ideal option for sites that require more resources and manages and hosts any site in the best possible way without reducing performance. It goes without saying that the features that a dedicated server offers can be the reason why it is expensive compared to other hosting services.
Cloud hosting: Cloud hosting is not a single service in itself but refers to the use of multiple servers (“the cloud”) in combination to host a large number of websites. One of the unique advantages of the cloud server is its flexibility and scalability, which you pay according to your consumption. If there is a sudden increase in traffic, you can upgrade your resources, bandwidth, and other capabilities.
Managed Hosting: Some hosting providers, known as managed hosting providers, take care of the day-to-day operations of your server’s hardware, operating system, and commonly used software. You can focus on content creation without worrying about technical issues such as software installation, configuration, management, updating, monitoring, and technical support. (It should be noted that the hosting server usually focuses on the optimal implementation of WordPress sites.)
Alternatives to shared hosting
There is no option to find an alternative for shared hosting that is as cheap as shared hosting, but if you want your site to grow and develop without facing problems such as loading delays and security issues, you should consider an ideal alternative to shared hosting. Although other services are more expensive than shared hosting, you are guaranteed security, and you get access to a broader set of customization Possibilities.
You should make the right choice between the VPS and dedicated server and other semi-dedicated hosting options according to the purpose and needs of your website. Many users are confused when choosing between a virtual server and a dedicated server and do not know which one is better for them. Reading the article VPS Or Dedicated Server, Which Is Better can guide you in this field.
But we repeat again, shared hosting is ideal for low-traffic sites just starting.
Which factors are important in providing shared hosting?
Now that you are familiar with shared hosting, we will examine the critical criteria when purchasing shared hosting. One of the important factors when getting shared hosting is the hosting company that your site traffic, data security, and website performance depend on. In the following, we examine some of these criteria.
The meaning of storage space is the physical space and available hard disk that the provider company provides to the users. If you plan to put high-volume audio and video files on your site, or if the purpose of your activity on the site is video training, you should check the disk space used or the amount of bandwidth required and make sure the service you receive because if the hosting service cannot meet your needs, you will face serious problems.
The amount of data visitors can download or upload to a site is determined by bandwidth. You may need to pay more to get more bandwidth. Although most hosting companies offer unlimited bandwidth, the data transfer speed can be reduced if you don’t have the necessary equipment.
The availability of your website for users is known as “Uptime.” As a result, it is important to ensure server Uptime is at least 99%. Although most service providers promise 99.9% availability, you should aim for 99.9%+ at best, and Time monitoring can also be used to confirm this.
If you are new to web hosting and don’t have much experience with hosting and servers, customer support may be your top priority. Today’s hosts usually offer 24/7 customer support. As a result, hosting companies that provide strong support around the clock, even on holidays, through communication tools such as phone, email, or live chat, are an advantage for beginner users.
Confidentiality of information and data security is essential for every user. Therefore, the provider companies should monitor the sites’ security issues and try to increase safety by regularly updating and installing software that improves security features.
Ensure your hosting service has a control panel, which is a web-based interface that allows users to easily manage their server settings through their web admin panel. Also, e-commerce Ability and pre-installed apps can be excellent in facilitating tasks. therefore, pay attention to the hosting dashboard to see if they offer helpful and practical programs related to your website or not.
Programming language and database
The server must be able to accommodate various databases (such as MySQL) and programming languages (PHP). This will be useful if you decide to change the language or upgrade your current equipment.
Although it will not be possible to predict the site’s traffic accurately, if you know that your site will be associated with the growth of incoming traffic in the not-too-distant future, you should first decide whether shared hosting will be a reasonable option or be careful in choosing hosting service packages. Also, choose a hosting company that offers you the possibility to upgrade the hosting service if needed.
Domain name service is an optional extra that can be purchased from some hosting companies. This is an attractive option if you want to start the website and run it from a central location.
The limitations you face in shared hosting
Usually, hosting service providers define limits for fair distribution of resources between different sites. These restrictions may be primarily inconvenient for users, but on the other hand, they are intended to help users. Also, these limitations can become a problem for those who have considered this matter less important when preparing shared hosting and are unaware of the needs of their site.
Therefore, for your users to be more aware of the limitations defined in shared hosting, we will examine them more closely:
1. Memory limitations: Most hosting companies impose a limit on the use of resources such as bandwidth, processor usage, external memory, data storage space, and monthly traffic for sites. As a result, if a site grows enough to exceed its resource consumption, you need to think about upgrading or changing the hosting service.
2. File Limit: The biggest problem with shared hosting is its security vulnerability. If malware infects a website on one server, it has the potential to spread to every website hosted there. Some hosting prevents this by limiting the files you can use for your site’s content.
3. Spam and Hacker Intrusion: Sharing a server with other people requires careful monitoring by many web hosts for security and performance reasons. If your hosting company detects signs of spam or hacker activity on your site, it may disable it temporarily or permanently.
Also, in shared hosting, website owners cannot install the desired software on the server, and they do not have access to the server at the management level of operating systems, and users can manage the website through the control panel provided by the hosting company. Such restrictions may prevent you from downloading a particular plugin or sending an email directly from your server without using an intermediary service. Shared hosting has its limitations, but if your site meets these requirements, you shouldn’t have too much to worry about.
Is shared hosting right for me?
We have always said, and we say, that to avoid some problems and financial loss, it is better to first carefully check the types of hosting and the needs and wants of your site, and then start buying to host. For this, it is better to ask and answer some questions.
How much capital have you budgeted for hosting the site? And what features are important to you?
As we mentioned, shared hosting is the cheapest hosting option that can meet your needs if you are in financial trouble. But remember that shared hosting comes with limited features. Finally, you should know your site’s needs and check the shared hosting facilities.
To what extent do you have skills and technical knowledge in server management?
If your technical knowledge regarding server settings and management is limited and you are experiencing hosting and setting up a site for the first time, or you prefer to focus all your energy on-site maintenance, shared hosting is the ideal offer because hosting companies are responsible for setting up, updating, maintaining, and repairing the server and responding to possible problems.
Also, you use the control panel provided by the hosting company to manage the site, perform troubleshooting, upgrade the plan, and perform other essential tasks, so it is necessary to be familiar with that control panel and know the features and capabilities of your control panel. Especially the ease of upgrading control panels is one of the most valuable features of a control panel, which is very important for beginners.
How much resources does your site need?
Shared hosting is not recommended for large sites with high traffic because all the resources and server power are not provided to one site but are divided between several sites. Also, hosting companies provide users with a limited amount of resources. And in addition, as other sites grow and take up storage space, a sudden influx of visitors to your partner site can also make your site temporarily unavailable. Finally, your website’s performance can be affected by websites hosted on the same server as yours. Even with optimized pages on your site, traffic volume from other sites may cause your pages to load slowly for visitors.
To that end, keep in mind that shared hosting is ideal for:
- Low traffic and small business sites
- Personal sites
- Database-based sites
- Work samples
• Ability to quickly launch the site after purchase
• It is very economical to set up small and medium websites
• 24-hour server hardware and software management is the responsibility of the hosting company
• There is no need to pay a separate fee for the license of some software installed on the host server
- The consumption of the processor, external memory, data storage space, monthly traffic, etc., is limited and is in the framework of the plan that you purchased.
- Website management is done only through the control panel provided by the hosting service provider
- It is not possible to install any desired software on the server by any of the website owners
- Lack of access to the server at the management levels of the operating system
You should consider shared hosting for your site if you have any of the following Conditions.
• Be inexperienced in web hosting services
• Seek to keep costs down
• Looking to design a small business website
• when you don't need extensive web programming
• when you are studying and learning programs like Joomla or WordPress
• You are in the early stages of a new small business(Startup)
• when you are experiencing and testing in the field of web design and programming
If you just launched your site, you probably won't be able to get a lot of traffic unless you plan to launch a big marketing campaign. So, it is unlikely that a new site will need much bandwidth. Therefore, shared hosting is the best option for such uses.
Shared hosting is a hosting solution that allows multiple websites to use the same server and share server resources. This type of hosting is an economical and reasonable solution for beginners, but with all its features, it is not recommended for large and popular sites and should be chosen with the necessary knowledge in the security field.
Easy management, low cost, and no need for previous experience are among the most obvious advantages of shared hosting. You can easily manage your budget and hosting service by choosing shared hosting.
We hope you now thoroughly understand shared hosting and its benefits, drawbacks, limitations, and viability. If you still have a question about shared hosting, ask us in the comments section.
Thank you for your support.