Working out what kind of web hosting you need can present a bit of a hurdle when you’re starting out with your project. It’s something that you might not know much about or have really considered, but whilst it can seem confusing at first, it’s quite straightforward once you get into it.

One of the most common hosting options available to you is shared hosting. As a cheap, popular form of web hosting, shared hosting provides a quick and easy solution for businesses starting out online - particularly those who are on a budget.

The advantages of shared hosting

To explain shared hosting, we’ll use the analogy of a block of flats. In a shared hosting plan, you own a flat. That room is your space to do what you want with, and you’re not paying too much to be there. If you need somewhere to live on the cheap and aren’t too fussed about living in luxury, then that’s the option for you.

This is shared hosting. Your room is your space on the server, and whilst the server itself won’t be as fast or as technically advanced, it’s a lot cheaper. Shared hosting also removes your maintenance responsibility, and makes it easy for you to upgrade or downgrade the server, depending on your changing needs.

The disadvantages of shared hosting

However, sharing a block of flats with many other residents has its drawbacks. It might be cheap, but it's cheap for a reason. You don’t know who your neighbours are, and you have no control over who can move in and out. From 3am drummers to nosey intruders, you’re stuck with a load of other people who all share your building.

This is the case for shared hosting. You’re not alone on your server, and there will be several other unknown users in there competing with you. The projects you share your space with could be anyone and anything, from adult sites to scam sites, which have the potential to affect your rankings on search engines. Unwanted neighbours can also mean:

Reduced bandwidth

The more people using a server, the more strained the bandwidth becomes. A shared server means you are at the mercy of other sites usage rates

Poor support

In a shared hosting environment, you won’t receive the same level of care and attention from your host than you would from a dedicated server set up, which means you won’t be as supported if you run into technical issues.

Worse security

To put simply, if one website on a server get hacked, all the other sites are also vunerable. Do you want to be one of them?

Slower page speeds

Reduced bandwidth and limited resources means slower page speeds, and a sluggish user experience for you visitors.

Who is shared hosting for?

Shared hosting is the place to start. If you’re just getting going with a new project, and you’re generally new to it all, then a shared hosting plan will likely serve you best.

One example of a good use for shared hosting would be a public blog. In this case, there are fairly few security concerns, traffic will be moderate, and few technical specifications are required. So the affordability of shared hosting is a no brainer.

Shared hosting vs dedicated hosting

Let's return to our analogy - do you rent a flat, or buy the whole building? It’s a classic case of ‘are the extra benefits worth the extra money?’ So we’ll take a look at the key differences between shared hosting and dedicated hosting to help you answer that question.

What is dedicated hosting?

As you can probably gather from its name, dedicated hosting involves a physical server that’s entirely dedicated to you. Unlike shared hosting, you don’t share your dedicated server (or its resources) with other unknown users, which comes with several key advantages.

Faster speeds

Without dedicated hosting, your speeds are at the mercy of the other projects on your shared server. The higher their traffic, the more competition, meaning that your project will slow down during busy periods. A dedicated server removes this from the equation.

Better security

With no unwanted neighbours, you can rest assured that your site isn’t at risk of someone else on your server letting in an unwanted intruder due to lax security.

More customisation

Dedicated servers have more room for modification, so you can set it up in a way that is optimised for your business needs. You’re also more likely to get full root access with a dedicated server - as most suppliers of shared hosting don’t offer this.

What kind of hosting do I need?

What kind of web hosting you need comes down to the specific priorities and requirements of your project. Shared hosting does the job as a starting point. It allows you to get up and running quickly, and doesn’t break the bank. But if you’re seeing an increase in traffic and looking to grow with security and customisation in mind, then you may want to look into dedicated server hosting.

Still not sure which kind of hosting is right for you? Read our in-depth blog and learn more about the different types of web hosting and their core benefits. Or, if you'd like to chat about your options with one of our experts, talk to our sales team.