Shared Hosting Definition & Meaning

Shared hosting is a web hosting model in which multiple sites occupy the same server. Each website is hosted privately and independently of another, meaning one webmaster does not know the other sites with whom they are sharing server resources. Sites that use a shared hosting model are usually smaller and easier to manage.

Shared hosting vs. dedicated hosting

Shared hosting is the opposite of dedicated hosting, where one server hosts one site. Shared hosting is usually less expensive, easier to scale up or down, and requires less networking knowledge and expertise. With shared hosting, it’s possible that the server can become overburdened by one of the sites it’s hosting, which can slow down the page loading speeds for the other sites sharing resources. There are also more security vulnerabilities associated with a shared hosting model, as the threats posed to one site are posed to all sites hosted on the same server.

Dedicated hosting, on the other hand, has no memory limits or file restrictions, offers greater configuration control, and can provide better security and overall performance. It can be significantly more expensive, though, and requires more technical maintenance. The greater flexibility and control also means users are required to have more advanced networking skills.

Is shared hosting good or bad?

As mentioned above, shared hosting can be beneficial in many circumstances, but less favorable in others. Many companies and publishers choose to start with shared hosting because of its affordability and ease of use and then graduate to a dedicated hosting model when their needs outgrow what shared hosting offers. In general, shared hosting is best suited for small businesses, personal websites, blogs, and portfolios. Dedicated hosting is ideal for large enterprises with complex sites, sensitive data, and/or large amounts of traffic.

Shared hosting examples

Examples of shared hosting platforms include:

  • DreamHost
  • HostGator
  • GoDaddy
  • BlueHost
  • InMotion
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Kaiti Norton
Kaiti Norton is a Nashville-based Content Writer for TechnologyAdvice, a full-service B2B media company. She is passionate about helping brands build genuine connections with their customers through relatable, research-based content. When she's not writing about technology, she's sharing her musings about fashion, cats, books, and skincare on her blog.

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