Shared web hosting means that many websites can share space and resources on the same server. This is good for the hosting company because it makes managing and maintaining the server cheaper, and that’s a saving that’s reflected in the price when you sign up for a shared hosting service yourself.
On the downside, the more websites there are sharing the same resources, the more this can affect their performance. At peak times, sites that need more CPU cycles or RAM will draw these resources away from smaller accounts. Resources are allocated like this to make sure that the server always runs in the most efficient way possible.
Differences from other hosting types
Free website hosting is a type of shared hosting where many accounts reside on one server. Each server has limited features, and they’re all shared, which makes this a much cheaper option. It allows hosting providers to offer free accounts to their users in addition to their own services.
By comparison, Dedicated, Semi-Dedicated and VPS Hosting are much more capable and versatile web hosting services. They give users access to many more resources, and they can grow along with your site. If business success means that you suddenly need a very large and complex site, then the upgrade and performance improvements are there, ready and waiting for you.
At different tiers, accounts will share the server with anything from just a few too many other websites, or with dedicated hosting they may have their own server. Basically, the more resources your website has to itself, the more you have to pay for the privilege.
Dedicated and VPS hosting give the user greater independence and control over the hosting account, but with greater control comes greater responsibility. Particularly with VPS hosting, users will either need to already have the skills and experience to manage their server, or they will need to hire someone to take care of it for them.
Shared Web Hosting Management
Because shared servers host many accounts, administration is looked after by the hosting company. They will provide technical support, will install the service OS and other software, will handle updates, security and more. The beauty of this arrangement is that you don’t need to understand what goes on inside a server box. Maintenance is taking care of, and if anything goes wrong and needs troubleshooting then it’s somebody else’s problem. This frees you up to concentrate on what you signed up for, which is making your website a success.
If the idea of “looking under the hood” seems more like a welcome challenge than a cause for alarm, then many web hosting companies offer easy-to-use web-based Control Panels for you to do just that. These interfaces are designed to be intuitive and make it easy to manage all the essential hosting features. This might not appeal to advanced users who want to have full control of their accounts, but still, this isn’t usually necessary because standard shared hosting supports almost all web applications. It’s only when you come to develop certain specific platforms that the standard support might not be enough. But, for most sites and for most users, shared web hosting plans will do just fine.