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Shared Hosting

This is the most popular and common type of hosting that most website owners opt for. A shared hosting service is quite suitable for personal websites and also business websites of small and medium sizes. In a shared hosting environment, the hosting provider allows hosting multiple websites on one server - thus the server is shared, it’s operating system and all hardware resources on it are equally shared by several users running their own websites or web applications. All websites hosted on a shared server thus compete for the server resources and the connected network resources.

The costs of underlying hardware & software licensing are divided among all hosted customers on a pro rata basis, making shared hosting economical for each customer.

Shared hosting is quite a viable and practical proposition for most websites that have a fairly standardized software and hardware requirements that are commonly available on a shared server.

However, in order to maintain a stable environment and ensure fair share of server resources, specifically CPU time, memory usage and network bandwidth, good web hosts impose certain restrictions on their usage. They have policies in place to ensure that no single website completely hogs the server resources adversely affecting functioning of other hosted websites. This makes a shared hosting environment unsuitable for high traffic websites or websites that experience frequent traffic spikes.

Also, shared hosts have standard hardware and software installed and they do not entertain installing specific hardware or software to meet specific requirement of one customer. Therefore, shared hosting is not suitable for websites that require specialized applications to be installed on the server and customized settings to be done. They are also not suitable if you have a huge daily emailing requirement.

Some web hosts have a tendency to price their shared hosting plans too cheap and they oversell the available capacity to make profits. This risk is particularly there when you are buying cheap plans that claim to offer very high storage space (of the order of 100-500 GB or unlimited) and high bandwidth. They work on the law of averages as most website users would not consume all of the claimed allocation. So, they oversell, ignoring an important fact that having too many websites hosted on the same server would create a situation where several websites compete for the same CPU and memory space and frequent situations of resource starvation would occur causing the server to crash.

Yet another risk of shared servers is security. When several developers are installing and running their own web programs/applications on the same server, the integrity of all the programs on that server are compromised. A faulty program with a security leak, written by one developer may make all other user accounts vulnerable too. If your website stores or processes sensitive data such as credit card information, etc. it can be a great risk to host it on a shared server.

Businesses who can afford paying a higher price, therefore, usually prefer a semi-dedicated or a fully dedicated hosting service.

Pros & Cons of Shared Hosting


  1. Cost-effective, ideal for small-scale websites, personal websites and web apps that have little traffic, few technical requirements and limited performance or security requirements.
  2. Technical expertise is not required to host your website. A user-friendly control panel is provided to enable you to conveniently upload your website files, and do other setups such as database creation, email account creation, SSL installation, etc.
  3. Plan options are fairly standardized and in line with popular resource requirements. All you need to do is simply choose a plan whose specs meet your requirement.
  4. The hosting company takes care of all the nuances of the server, its maintenance, trouble-shooting and resolving issues, etc.. You do not have to be concerned about these technical stuff.
  5. Some hosting companies even take care of periodic backups so that they can restore from a recent backup in case you have messed up your website setup & files. This facility is normally not available in higher hosting environments such as a VPS or dedicated server.


  1. You have to accommodate your website’s functions so that it can run with the limitations of resource and software. For example, if your website incorporates a file upload feature in a form, your shared hosting plan may restrict you to upload a file of max 64 MB size. If your PHP program requires more than 30 seconds of CPU time at a stretch, you will be timed out.
  2. Performance and load on other websites hosted on the same shared environment can adversely affect performance of your website and make it sluggish.
  3. A goof up by a faulty program in any of the shared website can bring the entire server down making your website unavailable for a short period of time, until your host detects the same and does some clean-up to kill the faulty processes.

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About the Author
Rajeev Kumar
CEO, Computer Solutions
Jamshedpur, India

Rajeev Kumar is the primary author of How2Lab. He is a B.Tech. from IIT Kanpur with several years of experience in IT education and Software development. He has taught a wide spectrum of people including fresh young talents, students of premier engineering colleges & management institutes, and IT professionals.

Rajeev has founded Computer Solutions & Web Services Worldwide. He has hands-on experience of building variety of websites and business applications, that include - SaaS based erp & e-commerce systems, and cloud deployed operations management software for health-care, manufacturing and other industries.

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