Since it is not cost effective for most people to host their own website (housing servers, securing an adequate network connection, and so on), the most feasible alternative is to utilize shared web hosting.
Simply put, this means paying for a service that will host your website along with many others so that all can pay less collectively to cover the high cost of supporting the servers and the bandwidth required for web hosting. But although you may have only limited options when it comes to bringing your website to the online arena, you should take a moment to consider your needs and how to best provide for them.
So here are just a few pros and cons of hitching your wagon to a shared web hosting service.
Pros and Cons of Shared Hosting
Pros of Shared Hosting
The main advantage that comes with shared hosting is that there is relatively little cost to the individual user (as compared to running your own servers). You can even find free web hosting services (although you may have to deal with ads on your site as a byproduct). And while you can definitely spend more on some services, especially if you have extensive needs, it will almost certainly save you money in the long run to share.
Servers require quite a bit of upkeep to remain in service, including a temperature-controlled environment, observation to ensure that no issues arise that would interrupt service, and of course, maintenance to hardware and programming on a regular schedule (or when something does go wrong). Web hosts see to all of the maintenance needs for their servers so you don’t have to worry about it.
Since most people managing websites these days don’t want to take the time to learn programming languages in order to keep their online ventures up and running, it pays to have pre-programmed administration tools at your disposal. Whether you’re new to the game or you’ve been running multiple sites for years, you can probably agree that reinventing the wheel is unnecessary when a web host can offer you all of the tools you need for success with minimal expenditure of time and money on your part.
Cons of Shared Hosting
While the majority of shared web hosts arrange to provide adequate or even exceptional service to their customers, they are trying to run a business, which means they will necessarily have to impose limits on the resources they dole out. Because they have one vast pool of resources (bandwidth, storage space, etc.) that everyone dips into, you may find yourself on the hook for additional expenses should you exceed the set limitations that come with your contract.
When hosting your own website there are really no restrictions on what you can do. If you want to run certain programs, modules, and scripts on your site and you have the ability to do so, there’s nothing to stop you. But because your web host will handle most of the administration needs for your site, you may suffer from issues regarding a limited ability to effect changes.
This is a major gripe for many who are at the mercy of shared web hosting. Although most service providers take steps to ensure that the sites they host are safe from hackers, malicious software, and other threats, it’s not like they’re going to pay for state-of-the-art security. So if you’re concerned about the safety of data on your site (including sensitive customer information) perhaps you should look into other options.