Advice for anyone planning to set up a new website always begins with the recommendation to get a hosting package. But what kind? A new website owner must choose between options such as shared, dedicated, or VPS hosting plans. And, while all of these can provide an online home for that new site, they offer very different services that aren’t appropriate for every website.
For new and smaller sites, shared hosting can be the least expensive and most accessible of these options – but it also comes with some significant limitations.
How Does Shared Hosting Work?
Shared web hosting packages are offered by just about every hosting provider. Just as the name implies, multiple websites, often thousands of them, are hosted on a single server maintained by the hosting service. Each user on a shared server gets an allotment of the server’s total available bandwidth, power and memory, and users can set up multiple sites under a single user account.
What’s in a Shared Hosting Plan?
A shared hosting plan provides the user with space on the host’s shared server for a monthly fee. Users are responsible for setting up and running their own sites, and a single account can include multiple sites, as long as the total package doesn’t exceed the allotted space on the server.
The hosting provider is responsible for providing customer support, maintaining server hardware and software, including security protocols and updates, and safeguarding against crashes and downtime. These provisions are set out in the hosting contract, which establishes what users can and can’t do with respect to their sites, and under what circumstances the host can suspend or terminate a user’s account.
Shared hosting isn’t for everyone, but this kind of inexpensive hosting can help new businesses, entrepreneurs and independent creatives get a web presence quickly – even if funding is tight.
Shared Hosting is User-Friendly
Shared hosting setups can be easy to use, even for a website owner with no experience in website design or development. These plans typically come with basic customer support from the hosting service, and offer options for “one-click” website installs like WordPress, which can create a live site in minutes, while also allowing for some customization.
Each site on an account has its own control panel, which provides tools for webmasters to manage their content and basic look.
Although shared hosting allows new users to create a website on a shoestring budget with most basic features essential to running the site, this kind of bare bones service does have drawbacks.