What is Shared Hosting

Anyone who wants to have a website has to consider the web hosting service he will use. Although we’ve already covered the topic of what is web hosting, we want to remind you of a few key points.

Every website is composed of a number of files and a database(s). Obviously, in order for the site to be accessible on the internet, these files ought to be located on a computer that has a constant connection to the internet with the network. It is, of course, possible for this computer to be your own personal one. Yet,  doing so hides risks. In the first place, there is the risk of someone hacking your personal computer, as it is constantly online and, via your website’s address, an ill-directed individual can easily find your personal IP address.

Also, in some countries, especially if your website generates a lot of traffic, your internet expenses might increase significantly.

On top of that, turning your personal computer into a server is not so easy task.

That is why web hosting services exist.

Although it might be clear already, a web hosting service is access to a specific type of computers, called servers. These servers are used for the customer of a web hosting provider to upload their website files and database(s). And by doing so, these websites will be accessible on the Internet, where everyone could visit them.

What is Shared Web Hosting

Simply put, shared hosting is a powerful server, divided among a number of users. Thus, each of the users of the service gets his or her own account with a separate control panel, built to manage the shared hosting account.

A lot of web hosts are using a specialized operational system in order to run this structure. The most common hosting environment OS is Linux. And AwardSpace is using a very popular Linux distribution, as well.  The latter allows us to strongly isolate the shared hosting accounts, their files, resources, and databases.

With AwardSpace’s control panel, you can effortlessly make changes to your account settings, such as choosing the PHP version that you prefer, managing your domains, creating an email account, and even setting an autoresponder for it.

Although we are about to explain this in more detail, it is important to mention that most of the company websites, as well as blogs, and small even e-commerce shops, have in fact, relatively low demands on the server.  A website with, say, from 500 to a few thousand visits a day could easily run perfectly on a shared web hosting. If your website gets traffic that fits in this range (500- 3-400 visits a day), you can be sure that shared hosting will work for you.

Who is it for?

Depending on what your needs are, the shared web hosting might be a perfect fit for you. In fact, most often than not, it is the best solution.

The web is enormous. It is truly mind-boggling. Yet, while there are a number of websites that most of us use, and almost every Internet user at least have heard of, the bigger part of the web consists of small to medium websites. That is websites like the one of your local cafeteria, your favorite boutique e-commerce shop, and the such.

The truth is, most websites will easily fit the somewhat limited resources of the shared web hosting, while fully benefiting from its advantages.

But how exactly can one determine whether the shared hosting is the solution for his or her project? This is a fairly simple task. Among other important factors, the purpose of your website will determine to a large extent whether you should choose a shared hosting plan, or simply go for a more powerful one, like the Semi-Dedicated, for example.

Say, you want to create a personal blog, with no intention of making it world-famous, or you might have an idea for a blog that you’ll strive to make popular but you are just starting, so you won’t need so many resources… as least for now. Both of those are examples of websites that will run perfectly on a shared hosting plan.

In fact, except in rare cases, where the website starts big, like an enormous e-commerce shop with hundreds or thousands of products, all sites can run with a shared plan. That is, of course, as far as the site hasn’t overgrown the resources at hand. But probably every web host (a company that offers web hosting service), will see to your smooth upgrade from any shared hosting plan to one that is more suitable for your growing website.

There are cases in which a website doesn’t a lot of hits on a daily basis. Yet, the hits it gets are more than enough to drain all the resources of the servers, due to the type of website. Say a heavy software website might need its own server from the start where a small or/and new website, based on WordPress, for example, won’t need that. In fact, getting a server for your WordPress website will leave the machine on stand by for the bigger portion of the time. Therefore, it is an absolutely unnecessary expense.

Benefits

The most obvious benefit of the shared web hosting service is its price. Sharing server resources among a number of customers, allows hosting companies to cut prices. And the more users there are on a server, the lower the cost for each of them. Thus, the lower the price of the service will be for the client. Yet, as we are about to cover in the limitations section of this article, too much customers (websites) on one server, could lead to malfunction for some or all of them.

That is exactly the reason why, our server administrators set the servers in such a way, that no more than 300 customers will be using the same server.

There are, of course, exceptions in which, if the server is more powerful – more users will be allowed to share its resources, and if it is weaker – fewer than 300 will be allowed.

These settings are making our 99.9% uptime possible. And even on our free hosting servers, our customers, and their website users will feel comfortable, as we are taking the same care for them, as for our premium users.

Cheap & Reliable Shared Hosting

Limitations

As most things, the shared web hosting services also have two faces. Where there is the low price of the service, there are, naturally, limitations.

Obivously, the limitations are rooted in the very and the name Shared hosting. Which, as we covered, means that the resources are shared among the users.

What exactly that means?

Well, here are the main limitations that you’ll face, if you are using shared hosting service.

(We want to remind you, that although these limitations sound like a big deal, most often not, that is not the case. As we mentioned – most of the websites on the internet don’t need more resoures than those, provided with a shared hosting service.)

CPU time

When you are trying to reach a web page, add a product to the cart, or take any other action on a website, a processor is working on your request. Although, usually the processing is taking some miliseconds, sometimes, depending on the task at hand, the time needed to be processed may reach seconds. 

An important fact is that the processors are only capable working on one task at a time, each following task will have to wait for the previous one to be completed. And as the processing time is a limited resource, and on top of that it is shared among all the users on the server, the CPU time of each of them is limited.

Depending on the types of servers (and server’s resources) that the hosting company is using, the plan, and the price, the CPU time may differ in amount. Still, with shared hosting, it is always shared among users.

Number of domains

Each and every domain name has to be configured. And although in most, if not all, hosting companies, newly bought domains are configured automatically, this operation costs resources. Yes, it is a really small amount of resoures, but it compounds with all the newly registered domain names, and all the other maintaining microoperations that we are not aware of.

Also, usually a new domain name, means a new website, which even if not used, is using valuable resources.

On top of it all, most web hostin clients, even those with medium to large business’ rarely need a lot of domains. That is why, in order for the shared resources to be kept, if you are using shared hosting service, most often than not, a restrictions on the number of domains will be at place

Disk Space

This one is pretty much obvious. The server has a limited amount of disk space on the HDD or SSD, which means that in order for all of the users to be able to upload their websites, and to continue growing them, it won’t be fair, for one of the them to get half the disk space on the server, leaving others to satisfy their needs with what is left.

Number of inodes (files and folders)

Pretty much like the disk space, the number of files and folders that are allowed on the servers are a limited resource. There is a limitations placed by the file system itself. And as the resource is limited, it is, once again, needed for a restriction to be made for all the users. Such restrictions that will not allow for one overly productive customer to take over the server and thus to furhter limit his fellow server users.

The limitations on the number of inodes is the same for all the users on a server, and thus distributes the resource evenly among everyone. Thus, your limitations is the guarantee for your neighbour (server-wise) that you won’t take any more space than he is able to. Similarly, his limitations are your guarantees that he won’t abuse the resources.

Although the number of inodes often looks huge, like 50, 000 or 100, 000, and you can’t even figure out how it is possible for any website to create so much files, once you start creating your website, you’ll see how fast the files are multipliyng.

Especially when you are using well optimized CMS’s. WordPress for example creates a number of files for each image that you upload.  It creates the so-called thumbnails, so the images will load faster on smaller screens.

Especially if you are building an e-commerce shop, with lots of products, it is absolutely possible to reach the inode limit.

Databases

One of the main loads in a shared hosting service is coming from the databases.  This is why, some limitations are added to the resources that the database could use. These limitations could be related to the number of the databases, the disk space provided for the database, but also limitations could be for the number of request for hour, day, and/or month, the number of the tables inside of a database, etc.

Usually the number of databases is determining the number of websites. That is, on average, one site is using one database. Of course, this is not always the case and some websites are using more databases but this is, obviously, related to more resources.

Some shared hosting plans are less restrictive database-wise. Yet, when it comes to database restrictions, it is important to know that when you optimize your database usage – making the minimal amount of requests, and to the minimal amount of databases, you are, of course, saving the resources for everyone else on the server. But what is more, this way your website will be faster, and people will be more likely to stay more time on it.

Thus, limiting your database usage, helps not only everyone on the server – leaving more resources to be shared, but helps your website performance. And the latter is crucial for online success.

Conclusion

Shared web hosting is just one type of web hosting service. For the time being, except for the free web hosting service, of course, the shared service is the cheapest one. Although for most people the resources of free service are more than enough, even a small website can benefit a lot from getting a premium hosting service.

On the other hand, there are a number of hosting services that not only have more resources to offer, but those resources are distributed to significantly fewer people and are optimized to run a lot smoother.

Still, for a simple website or a starting business, in most cases, there is no need for you to overpay for the hosting of your website. What is more, if your site gets popular and starts to hit the limitations of the shared web hosting, you can always upgrade the service smoothly.

Not only that but AwardSpace has three different shared hosting plans that respond to your website’s progress. Depending on your traffic and needs, you can choose the best fit. You can check them out here

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