A shared server, as the name implies is simply a server that is shared among several clients of a web host using the resources and features of the same server.
Of course these are different from what we use in our everyday lives. They have much more performance and they are optimized to handle certain tasks.
Cheap (affordable) Hosting – sharing is caring
Ever shared hosting account is operated by an environment where several, even hundreds of websites are located on the same server.
There is a dedicated place for every site on the server, but they all have to use the resources of the same server.
Every website has an IP address on the web. This is the servers unique identifier.
So, in the case where sites are hosted on shared servers, all of them have the same IP address, what’s more, they can use the same resources regarding bandwidth and storage space.
Since the resources are limited, providers have to perform checks in order to assure that there is no website, which uses more resources than allowed.
They have to do this because if a client breaks rules, this endangers the proper functioning of fellow websites hosted on the same server.
If this occurs, the web hosts take action, and the bad boy will get the penalty that it deserves.
Depending from how severe the activity was, the account can get canceled without any notice, or they just apply the right limits again.
Just like desktop computers, these servers can have different operating systems too, so depending from needs and budget a person has, there is the possibility to choose between Linux and Windows systems.
Usually, shared hosting servers run on Linux, the number of hosts who offer Windows hosting is not as large.
Generally we can say that Linux hosting is cheaper than Windows, as it is open source.
To find out what hosting would suit you the best, read the reviews found on our site. Almost all web hosts offer shared hosting, so a person who looks for this type of service can get confused.
Aspects to consider, advantages and negatives
A shared server is put out to a lot of performance demand, as it has to deal with the traffic coming from all websites hosted on it.
Servers get slower and slower as the traffic rises, so if you want to get rid of this, you should go for more advanced types of hosting, like VPS or dedicated.
Having your site on a shared server involves much more risks and responsibility than in the case of other hosting types, as other sites are affected by how you manage your site, and your site is affected by others too.
Because all the sites residing on the same server and they have the same IP address, so sometimes the “bad neighborhood” can have a really bad effect on your site’s reputation, often affecting even you search engine rankings.
So, the right way to choose a web host, involves much more than just going through the features they provide, one should investigate what kind of sites are hosted on the servers of the host.
None the less, this would be the best, it is not applicable, as there are several servers in the case of every web host, and you cannot know where your site will reside when you sign up.
Regarding the value of the service they provide, shared hosting is probably has the most value among web hosting types.
The price for this type of service can very low, like $1.99/mo.
Shared hosting is best for smaller sites, with not so much traffic.
In most cases it used by personal sites, small business websites, e-commerce sites and different blogs.
What to look for
When looking for a shared host, there a number of points to keep an eye on. First, check the features that a host provides. Always try to go with a provider that offers unlimited resources.
Some limited plans are a great deal too, but this is not the usual case.
The best shared web host offers the possibility to host unlimited domains on you account, without any extra fee.
Also, the uptime rates should be 99.9%, which assures that your site is online as much as possible.
It was kind of funny to read that no hosting provider can assure 100% uptime.
There is such a company, of course it is not shared hosting, but it is still possible ( Hostzilla (changed to 247Zilla) provides cloud hosting with 100% uptime from $4.49/month, so we cannot even say that it is more expensive than shared hosting).
Another important aspect is the support quality they provide. It is not a good feeling when your site is not functioning properly, and there is no proper support team to help you out.
The support service is not something you have to pay for, it must be included in the package.
There are quite many companies offering unlimited bandwidth and space, but in reality this is not the case and there are limits as we discussed this earlier in the more technical part of shared hosting.
Despite there are limits, web hosts don’t make this publicly available data. You will only know this, when you reach the limits, but be careful.
We already written about how to find the best web hosts on our main page, but here we will mention some additional points.
We would say, that the most crucial points when choosing an affordable web host is the CPU usage, the RAM and MySQL databases.
- CPU usage: this is important because this is the factor that content delivery depends on. The more information there is on a blog, or nay site, the more CPU performance it needs to deliver the content to the visitors.Additionally, you are hosted on a shared server, which slows down more the speed that your site will load. Using too much CPU resources is a quite frequent reason why suppliers cancel accounts.
- RAM: the amount of RAM you can have depend from the server your site sits on, and the number of sites that are also located on that server.You will not see data regarding RAM in the case of shared hosts, because there are always a number of sites residing on a server. RAM shortage can also be responsible for websites.
- MySQL databases are another cornerstone of site loading speeds, because websites are placed in these databases. When a visitor does a search, that is somehow linked to your site, the result will be displayed from the database.The load level of databases can affect the how fast or slow a site will function.
All these are important when searching for a shared web host, but there are some tools that can help a lot regarding site speeds.
Speed Up Your Shared Site
Shared web hosting offers a great advantage as it doesn’t require a lot of knowledge and it is cheap. But of course this comes with a disadvantage also, as a lot of times the resources they offer are not enough.
This can result in slow websites, especially with more resource driven sites. But there is hope.
There are online services, free and paid, that cache your site, and serve it to your visitors, so it will be faster and safer at the same time.
One of the most popular sites offering such services is Cloudflare. You can set up as many sites as you wish, and watch them become faster.
Also, uptime rates will be better to, as they spread you content around the globe, so you’ll be provided greater availability.
There is a free option, and a paid one too.
You can create an account independently from your hosting provider, or in some cases, hosting companies have partnered up with such a service provider, and you can add your sites from inside your web hosting control panel.
Let’s take an example when we have a WordPress powered site, which is probably the most popular content management system out there, so many people can benefit from this.
If you don’t know what WordPress is, just do a little research on Google, or search for articles in our blog.
If you are using this technology, then you have even more possibilities to speed up your site.
There are some applications, called plugins, which are freely accessible from the WordPress plugin directory, that you can install and add more functionality to your site.
Some plugins are created to speed up websites, such as W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache.
They do this by caching and compressing your site’s content and databases. All depends from the setting you deploy.
So, as we can see, there are a handful of points to keep an eye on in the race to create a website with shared hosting.
Our site will help you find it, so what I would advise you to do now is start browsing the web hosts featured on our site, and try to select the one suits your needs.
Five High Quality Shared Hosts
Almost all web hosting companies offer shared hosting, so the selection is really wide.
You can see the best hosts (including shared hosting) on our homepage, but to narrow things down, I’ll show you a top 5 here. Below these you can learn about shared hosting.
The company’s shared service is one of a kind.
It is advertised as business class hosting and you can find it under cheap hosting on their site too, but it is really above its competitors.
Of course the price is higher too, it start from $5.99/mo.
It includes all the standard features, what other shared web hosts offer, plus extras.
These include: 90 day money back guarantee instead of 30 days, Max Speed Zone, Data Backups, Room to Grow.
Also, this provider is unique because the reviews it get’s from customers – it is really hard to find bad reviews, they are really doing a great job.
This outstanding host’s shared plan comes with a top-notch technical support service.
Plus, you can get your hands on their solid state drives, which will result in a significant, up to 300% percent increase in website speed.
They have too shared plans, but only the more expensive offers SSD.
Ipage is one popular web host, I can tell you that. They have anytime money back guarantee, so you can be calm.
They have all the goodies that you need to create a solid base for your online presence. US-based support, free website security software, advertising credits and many more.
Fatcow has been one of my favorites for a long time, and if you want to know, I still host some sites with them, and for the most part I’m satisfied.
They have a great service structure, so you can upgrade your shared plan to a certain level (buying extensions for e-commerce or anything).
Bluehost is owned by the same guys as IPage or Fatcow and several other web hosting companies on the market, so you get the same benefits as with the above providers, some minor features might be different.
One important difference is that they have a state of the art data center, built by themselves.