The online business space is growing fast. Any entrepreneur looking to start generating some income online will need a website (and shared web hosting is the best way to start).
Whether you’re looking to start a blog as a side hustle or create a profitable online store, having a website is the first step to building your online income.
A staggering 1.79 billion people shopped online last year. That means as an online business you could be losing out thousands of dollars simply because you don’t have a website. A surprising 26% of small businesses don’t have a website because of cost.
Web hosting solves this problem. It allows you to make your website accessible to anyone who is on the web.
But sometimes web hosting can be pretty expensive especially for a start-up. This is where shared web hosting comes in handy.
Shared hosting provides the best kind of value for money in terms of web hosting. It’s the cheapest kind of hosting and the easiest to manage. Plus, it provides just as much power and features for your website.
The best shared hosting is competitive with other advanced kinds of hosting. You’ll get just as much uptime, speed, support and even security that it’s easy to forget other websites are sharing the server with you.
But not all shared hosting is created equal. This guide will help you choose the best shared web hosting service based on features, pricing and value for your new or existing online business.
Let’s get started!
Whether your site is new, old or you’re simply looking for a new web hosting provider, there are shared web hosting providers whose features will fully support your business.
The best shared web hosts provide you with a high uptime guarantee, meaning your website will almost never go offline. They also offer high security, unlimited resources like bandwidth and storage and fast site loading times all at budget-friendly prices.
Below, we’ll take a look at some of the top shared web hosting providers and their features.
Best All-Round Choice for Affordable Hosting Plans and Add-on Features.
Bluehost has a longstanding reputation of providing excellent web hosting services since 1996.
It’s a favorite amongst bloggers, start-ups and veteran online entrepreneurs alike. Its shared web hosting services are among the most competitive on the market, with good reason.
The company is known for its super-low shared hosting prices, almost 99.9% uptime guarantee and unlimited storage and bandwidth depending on the plan you choose. You’ll have a choice of four shared web hosting plans, which is unlike what most providers give.
Each plan will give you a few extra added features and flexibility for a couple of extra dollars in annual subscription fees.
Bluehost’s Basic Shared Hosting is ideal if you’ve never owned a website before. It gives you
- 1 website
- Unmetered bandwidth
- 50 GB of SSD storage
- 1 domain plus 25 subdomains included
- And bills at $3.95 per month for a 36 month subscription and renews at $7.99 monthly
- Free domain name for a year
- Free SSL certificate for extra security.
The next plan, the Plus plan is great if you’re completely new, have owned or intend to own multiple websites. It comes with
- Unlimited websites
- Unmetered bandwidth
- Unlimited SSD storage
- Unlimited domains
- Spam protection
- Office 365 Mailbox (free for 30 days)
- Billing starts at $5.95 per month(billed for 36 months) and renews at $10.99/per month.
- Custom themes
The Choice Plus plan gives you
- Unlimited websites
- Unmetered bandwidth
- Unlimited SSD storage
- Unlimited domains
- Spam protection
- Domain privacy
- Automated site backups
- Billing starts at $6.95 per month(billed for 36 months) and renews at $14.99/per month.
And finally for experienced websites or websites that have outgrown basic shared hosting and have sizeable traffic, the Pro plan gives
- Unlimited websites
- Unmetered bandwidth
- Unlimited SSD storage
- Unlimited domains
- Optimized CPU resources
- Double spam protection
- Domain privacy
- Site backup
- Dedicated IP address
- Billing starts at $13.95 per month(billed for a 36 month term) and renews at $23.99 per month.
Depending on where your business is in its growth journey, you may benefit more from paying a little extra for the Plus plan since it’s almost identical to the more advanced Choice plus plan.
It also allows you to jumpstart your business more readily especially if you’re looking to own many sites/domains. Bluehost also makes it easy to switch between plans, whether you need to upgrade or downgrade.
So if your site is brand new and you’re not planning to aggressively boost traffic for a couple of years, then you can definitely make do with the Basic plan for the time being. Another key aspect of web hosting plans is the renewal fees.
While some companies have sneaky renewal fees that exceed 50% of their initial sign up fee, Bluehost’s pricing is very much clear cut. Any additional pricing will come from add-on features like their Site Lock essentials or SEO tools.
For maximum savings, it’s best to sign up for a 36-month term so you get the lowest subscription fees.
If you can afford it, go with the Plus or Choice Plus plan instead of the basic plan, as you get more resources for websites especially when it picks up steam for just $30 extra a month.
Hostgator is one of the oldest known web hosting providers in the industry. It serves some 1.3 million websites and offers reliable shared hosting with great customer support. If you have an existing website, they’ll help you migrate it to their platform for free.
The back end of your hostgator account is simple and intuitive, making it easy to manage your site. They also have their own native website builder called Gator, which takes the hassle out of building a website, especially for those not looking to hire web developers.
Hostgator offers powerful features on all their shared hosting plans including unmetered bandwidth, free SSL certificates, unlimited storage, one-click WordPress installs and a free domain for a year.
Hostgator has three different shared hosting plans with different prices.
- Hatchling Plan — Starting at $2.75 per month for a 36-month term and renews at $6.95/month billed annually.
- Baby Plan — Starting at $3.95 per month for 36-months and renews at $9.95 billed annually.
- Business Plan — Starting at $5.95 per month for 36-months and renews at $14.95 per month for 12 months.
If you intend to start or have only one website, the Hatchling plan will work just fine.
But for those looking to own more than one website, both the Baby and Business plans give you unlimited domains so you can grow multiple websites at a time.
For experienced site owners, the business plan gives you advanced features including a dedicated IP address, free SEO tools and an upgraded version of SSL encryption.
Like most of its competitors, Hostgator gives you the lowest rates for the first three years. After which it reverts to its regular billing price. Upgrading your hosting package is as simple as reaching out to their customer support team and it’ll be done in a few moments.
What makes Hostgator’s introductory offer unique is that you get an additional $100 in Google Adwords and Bing Ads credits on all shared hosting plans. This is great if you’re considering experimenting with paid advertising.
Given the features on Hostgator’s plans, their Business plan offers the best value even for beginners. The add-ons they offer on their Business plan will cost you less than $15 extra per month after renewal,yet they will serve your business growth in the long term.
Aside from getting lots of high-end benefits for less, Hostgator also has a large video tutorial and article library to help you learn how to do almost everything by yourself. Add that to their responsive 24/7 live chat and phone support and you have a pretty solid hosting service.
Founded in 2010, Hostwinds is quickly catching up to its bigger and more established peers thanks to a winning combo of pocket-friendly prices, customer-centred service, and generous features.
In fact, many features that you would have paid for with other service providers are free with Hostwinds. Moreover, the company’s uptime and lightning-fast loading times help it stand out even more from the competition.
They are a great web hosting provider that allows you to build professional-looking and fully-functional websites, even if you’re a complete novice. It offers different kinds of web hosting plans but its shared web hosting plans are particularly unique.
Unlike other shared hosting providers, Hostwinds offers plans specially made for Linux-based servers that are budget-friendly. They also offer steep discounts if you subscribe for many months at a go.
In terms of plans, you’ll have three options with Hostwinds.
- Basic Plan – starts at $3.29 per month and gives you; unlimited data transfers, storage, dedicated IP (which you usually don’t find on most basic shared hosting plans), free weebly site builder, free SSL certificates, instant setup and free website transfer and one domain.
- Advanced Plan – $4.23/month and gives you everything in the basic plan plus 4 domains.
- Ultimate Plan – $5.17/month and gives you everything in both the basic and advanced plans plus unlimited domains.
If you intend to own more than one website, we recommend opting for either their advanced or ultimate plans so you have more room to own other domains and grow your business.
You’ll be covered by their 60-day money back guarantee in case you’re not satisfied with their service.
Get started with Hostwinds shared hosting now.
4. A2 Hosting.
A2 Hosting is a multiple -award winning hosting provider that consistently ranks high on reviews and best web hosting lists. You’re guaranteed 99.9% uptime on all their servers even if you’re paying a few dollars for a shared hosting plan.
The company is known for its fast-loading site times, calling its SSDs “Turbo Servers” that can load pages up to 20 times faster than regular servers. This has earned it a reputation of being a reliable and speedy service provider for businesses of all sizes.
A2 gets its speed by giving users more resources and having less users per server. If you pair that with the enhanced server performance, you get blazing fast shared hosting speeds.
In terms of shared web hosting, A2 has some of the most competitive packages both in terms of price, benefits and performance on the market. There are three different packages to choose from .
- Startup Plan – the ideal plan for small single website owners or anyone who is just getting their feet wet with creating a website. It offers 100GB storage, unlimited emails, free SSL certificates and unlimited transfers. The introductory offer is $2.99 per month (billed together for $36/months) but regular renewal costs $8.99/per month.
- The Drive Plan – gives you everything in the Start-up plan plus 2x more resources, unlimited websites, unlimited storage, free back-ups and free traffic spike protection. The plan starts at $4.99/month billed triennially after which renewal is at $11.99.
- The Turbo Boost plan – which is one of their most popular plans which offers up to 20X speed, 2x faster to first byte, more 4x more CPU and resources and handles 9x more traffic. Plan starts at $9.99 billed for 36 months but renews at $19.99 per month.
- The Turbo Max Plan – their top tiered plan which gives you 5x more resources plus everything else in their other plans at $14.99 billed triennially the first time. Plan renews at $24.99 per month after.
Even if you’re just getting started, the Drive plan is better than the start-up plan, because you get double resources and speed for an additional $24 per year giving your website room to grow.
If you’re looking for extra speed, it’s worth investing in the Turbo plan for 20x more site speed and 4x more CPU resources.
HostPapa is an independently-owned Canadian web hosting company. It seeks to stand out of the crowd by emphasizing sustainable business practices and eco-friendly web hosting.
What makes HostPapa’s pricing plans a little different from the others is that even on their most basic plan, you still get two websites which is rare. Most other providers give you hosting for just one website on the basic plan.
You get to choose from three plans; Starter, Business and Business Pro. Like the industry norm, you’ll pay less if you subscribe for more than 12 months on your introductory offer. All plans come with unmetered bandwidth, free domain registration and a website builder with at least two pages.
The Starter Plan gives you 100GB storage, free website transfer, free SSL encryption, free one-on-one training and a 30-day money back guarantee at $3.95 a month over the first three years, $7.95 on renewal.
The Business Plan gives you everything in the starter plan plus unlimited websites, storage, add-on domains, email accounts, dedicated IP address and 2x more CPU resources billed at also $3.95 a month on the three-year plan, $12.99 on renewal.
The Business Pro Plan includes everything in the starter and business plans plus a business website builder, domain privacy, automated backups and premium SSL encryption at $12.95 a month initially for 36 months but switches to $19.99/per month on renewal.
6. GoDaddy Hosting.
GoDaddy is a veteran in the domain registration space compared to web hosting space. And it has built its brand presence using not-so-subtle advertising campaigns. Nonetheless, their reputation for providing excellent shared web hosting services precedes them.
You can expect lightning speed site loading times and 99.9% uptime guarantees if you choose to host with GoDaddy which will help make sure your site gets more traffic and visibility. While their shared hosting plans aren’t the cheapest out there, they are definitely competitive.
The most impressive part is that you get four pricing plans to choose from. Each plan is designed for a specific kind of website or website owner.
All plans have a free business email for a year and unmetered bandwidth. You also get a free domain if you choose the annual plan.
- Economy — Best for basic starter websites. Starts at $5.99 per month (renews at $8.99).
- Deluxe — Offers more space for multiple sites. Starts at $7.99 per month (renews at $11.99).
- Ultimate — Best for sites with lots of traffic. Starts at $12.99 per month (renews at $16.99).
- Maximum — Best for complex sites with lots of high-resolution images and videos. Starts at $19.99 (renews at $24.99).
GoDaddy is known for being a domain registration service, but we’d recommend Bluehost as a better option if you’re truly looking for an excellent combination of service and free domain registration. Check out our guide on how to register a domain name for free for more insight on this.
Apart from that, their plans are cheap, fit every budget and meet almost every type of need. For example, a new blogger can make do with the Economy plan while small business owners or online stores with lots of traffic will do better on the Ultimate plan.
Upgrading when you need more resources is easy to do from the backend. Plus, GoDaddy will actually send you an alert if you’re getting close to exceeding your resource allocations for memory or CPU so you can avoid overage fees.
InMotion is a well-known, US-based web hosting provider with a plan for just about every kind of user: shared hosting for beginners, managed WordPress,cloud and VPS, reseller plans as well as high-end enterprise products to serve enterprise level businesses.
It may not be as popular as some of its counterparts, but InMotion offers feature-rich shared hosting plans at affordable prices for blogs and new businesses alike.
InMotion also has the option of WordPress Hosting is designed specially for bloggers and supports growth.
InMotion offers three Linux-based shared web hosting plans. All plans come with free domain, unlimited bandwidth, free SSL, a full security suite complete with DDoS protection and automatic site back-ups and marketing tools including free ad credits.
The most basic, Launch Plan gives you two websites, 50GB storage, 3x performance and speed and 10 email addresses at $5.99/per month for the first two years after which the plan renews at $10.99 per month.
Their mid-tier Power Plan comes with up to 50 websites, 100GB of storage, 50 email addresses and 4x more resources for better performance and speed at $8.99 for 48 months. The plan renews at $14.99 per month.
And finally the Pro Plan $15.99 per month with an annual subscription) offers up to 100 websites, unlimited emails, 200GB storage and 6x more speed and site loading times.
Inmotion gives you a shorter period of time to enjoy their discounts, which may appeal to those who feel 3 years is a long time to subscribe just to enjoy a discount. But make no mistake, their service offers just as much value.
The best choice even if you’re starting out, is to choose between the Power and Pro plan because they both allow your website to get for a few more dollars. Aside from that, if you’re looking to own multiple websites or domains, both plans make room for that.
Dreamhost may not be in the spotlight as much as its competitors, but it’s a pretty well-known brand among developers, designers and digital marketers. They’ve been around since 1996 and currently host a staggering 1.5 million websites with 400,000+ clients!
As a web hosting provider, their reputation precedes them and you can confidently recommend them to everyone. They’re even endorsed by WordPress too.
Something worth mentioning in relation to their 100% uptime guarantee is if they fail to meet that promise, you’ll receive compensation for every hour of downtime, which can be up to 10% of your next pre-paid renewal fee. This is unique to Dreamhost only.
DreamHost gives you affordable shared hosting with a premium performance. Their hosting plans are pretty straightforward too. You have two plans to choose from, the Shared Starter and Shared Unlimited plans.
The Shared Starter plan comes with
- 1 website
- 5 subdomains
- Email starting at $1.67 per month
- 50 GB of site storage
- Introductory offer bills at $2.59/month over 36 months
The Shared Unlimited Plan includes
- Introductory offer of $5.95 per month for 36 months
- Hosting for unlimited websites
- Unlimited subdomains
- Email included
- Unlimited site storage
All plans come with free SSL, unlimited traffic and WordPress pre-installed. Also unlike other web hosting service providers, you have the option to pay monthly even as a new subscriber, which means less cash upfront.
You also have a 97- day money back guarantee, in case you’re not satisfied with their services, which is much higher than the industry standard of 30-days.
The Shared Starter plan is the best option for brand new websites especially if you’re not looking to manage many at a go.
The only catch is you’ll have to pay extra for a business email. If you own multiple websites or are looking to scale and grow fast, the Shared Unlimited plan is for you.
A Cheap Web Host for Managing Multiple Websites.
Better known as a domain management company, Namecheap has been around since 2000. They initially started by offering domain registration services but quickly moved to add cheap web hosting. Now they manage over 2 million clients and 10 million plus domains.
The company’s goal is to make creating an online presence easy, affordable and accessible to everyone. Thus they have some of the most affordable shared, VPS and cloud hosting plans on the market.
Their EasyWP WordPress hosting will have your WordPress site up and running in as little as 30 seconds. If you need to build a new site, you can easily do so using one of Namecheap’s many site-building apps including Weebly and Canvas.
With a 100% uptime guarantee backed by a refund in credits if they fail to deliver you’re sure your site will always be online.
You’ll have two options of shared hosting with Namecheap, the Stellar Plan and the Stellar Plus Plan.
All of Namecheap’s shared hosting plans come with; unmetered bandwidth, domain privacy/ protection, free SSL installation and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
The Stellar Plan gives you 20GB storage and three websites which is above what most providers offer on their basic plans billed at $1.58/month for the first year which totals a little over about $18 for the first year. Renewal costs $33.88 per year after.
The Stellar Plus plan gives you unlimited websites, unlimited storage and automatic site backups.The introductory offer starts from $2.68 per month for the first year and renews at $4.88 monthly after.
Namecheap’s Stellar plan is arguably one of the cheapest starter plans on the market, especially because it’s only for a year. Thus you’ll need less cash upfront to subscribe.
However it’s worth investing in getting the Stellar Plus plan especially if you plan to launch multiple sites at a go.
1&1 Ionos web hosting is one of the oldest web hosting companies around and few providers on our list based in Europe. The German-based firm has been in existence since 1988 and houses a whopping 12 million plus domains worldwide.
Another unique feature is their ecommerce Website Builder plan. This plan is especially designed to combine the company’s regular shared hosting with PrestaShop pre-installed.
The company offers shared hosting plans with clear specifications on what exactly you’re getting.
Other service providers throw around vague terms like 4x CPU and resources, it’s refreshing to see 1&1 Ionos clearly state what their CPU resources mean on each plan.
1&1 Ionos has three shared hosting plans; the Essential, Business and Expert plans. All plans come with free SSL encryption and a free domain for a year.
The Essential Plan gives you only 10GB of storage but allows you to have up to 10 business emails, Basic CPU and memory resources. This means yourwebsite can handle up to 50 visitors per minute. If you’re just starting out with one website, this plan is ideal.
The plan starts at $4/month for the first year after which renewal is at $6/month.
The Business Plan gives you unlimited websites, storage and databases with up to 50 email accounts. CPU and memory resources here let your website handle up to 200 visitors per minute on all your websites. This plan bills at $1/month for the first 12 months after which renewal is $10/month.
Finally, the Expert Plan is designed for pro website owners, offering unlimited websites, storage, databases, 100 emails, sitescan protection from malware and other online threats. The introductory offer for this plan is $8/month for the first year after which it renews at $16/month.
You also get their premium content delivery network (CDN) which boosts your site’s speed by reducing your site’s data and letting visitors get content from the server closest to them. CPU and resources allow your site to handle up to 500 visitors per minute on all your sites.
Ionos shared hosting offers are pretty simple and easy to subscribe to. You don’t need to be stuck with a plan for years since their introductory offer is for just a year. Their renewal hosting fees are also charged on a month to month basis making it easy to simple cancel at any time.
11. Accu Web Hosting.
Established in 2003, Accu Web offers comprehensive web hosting plans and services designed to meet almost every kind of online need. They offer everything from shared to cloud, reseller to VPS and dedicated server hosting.
What makes their service unique is the fact they offer both Windows and Linux-based hosting plans and have built a strong reputation for being good at it. So if you’re not a Linux fan, you have the option to get the Windows version.
You also get to choose your shared hosting server’s location which can be useful in boosting your site’s speed if you know where most of your traffic comes from.
Server locations include US, Europe, Singapore, South Africa, India and Australia. VPS and dedicated plans add more options including Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, South Korea, Japan and more.
Unlike its counterparts, Accu Web doesn’t market its plans to have unlimited bandwidth or storage, but you’ll find that isn’t really a problem.
Each plan’s limits are set high enough to accommodate all your needs whether your site is for personal or business use.
For example, their cheapest plan, the Personal Hosting Plan comes with
- 10GB storage.
- 500GB bandwidth which exceeds what most blogs and online stores will ever need.
- Unlimited websites which is not common on other basic plans.
- Free website migration
- 150 free email accounts
The best part is you can choose to sign up for 6 months at $3.25/month, 1 year at $3.24/month, 2 years at $3.19/month or 3 years at $3.09/month. This means you don’t have to subscribe for 36 months to get a great deal.
The second tier plan, Small Business Web Hosting offers everything in the basic plan plus 30GB storage, 750GB bandwidth, 500 email accounts and free domain name registration at $5.09/month for 36 months. The 6 month offer is billed at $5.65/month.
Finally, the Enterprise Web Hosting Plan offers an upgrade to their second tier plan by giving you 50GB storage, 1 TB bandwidth, 1000 business emails and a dedicated IP address. Price starts at $9.99/month for 36 months or $13.02/month for a 3 month subscription.
While Accu Web’s pricing may seem a tad bit higher than the almost rock-bottom prices of their competitors, keep in mind their prices aren’t introductory offers.
So what you pay to sign up is what you keep paying to renew so you don’t have to worry about double-priced renewal fees.
Domain.com is more popular as the place to register your domain name than it is as a web hosting provider, but in recent times it has added a small but efficient range of shared and WordPress hosting options for its patrons.
Some may find their range of plans severely limited especially since they don’t offer VPS, cloud or dedicated server hosting.
However, if you’re just starting out with your blog, business website or podcast website, their shared hosting plans should be good enough.
They describe their bandwidth as ‘scalable’ regardless of the plan you choose, meaning if your website’s needs outgrow the plan it’s on, they’ll help you move to more advanced hosting solutions. Domain.com boasts of being able to support 99.5% of its clients using this model.
Like most other hosting companies, Domain.com has three shared hosting plans. The Basic, Deluxe and Ultra hosting plans. All plans come with unlimited storage, scalable bandwidth and free SSL encryption .
The Basic Plan allows you to have just one website or domain, 10 databases and 5 FTP transfers. Plan pricing is $3.75/month regardless of how long you choose to subscribe for with the minimum subscription period being 12 months.
The Deluxe Plan gives you unlimited websites, 25 databases and 25 FTP logins at $6.75/month billed annually and finally the Ultra Plan gives you unlimited databases and logins for $13.75/month billed annually.
You also have the option to pay for add-on features like domain privacy and protection for $8.99/ year. Domain.com’s plan prices may be on the high side but that’s simply because they don’t offer steep introductory prices so what you pay today is the same you pay to renew with them.
13. FatCow Hosting.
FatCow has been around for at least 20 years (since 1998) and is owned by Endurance International. They run out of the same datacenter in Massachusetts as iPage, which happens to be one of their other brands.
The company’s shared hosting plan is very simple and easy to understand compared to most of the other providers on the list. But make no mistake, the company also offers everything else related to web hosting from branded domains to VPS hosting.
Because FatCow’s focus is to support beginners, creatives and personal project site owners, everything about their brand speaks to being fun, friendly and easy-to-understand.
Something which is a nice change from the hardcore tech branding of most other hosting providers.
In line with being streamlined and clear, FatCow offers a single, shared web hosting plan with everything you’d be looking out for and need to grow a new website(or websites) from scratch.
Notable amongst its shared hosting plan features
- Unlimited disk space
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Unlimited emails
- Unlimited websites
- Free Google Ads and Bing Search marketing credits
- Free SSL
- Easy website builder tools
Because they offer a single plan with everything you’ll need, it makes it less confusing because the plan is a one-stop shop. On top of that, they offer short-term pricing so you can choose to pay on a monthly, yearly, biennial or triennial basis.
As is the case with most shared hosting plans, their renewal fees are a bit on the higher side. Their introductory offer starts from $4.08/month or $49/year but can renew at as much as $14.95/month or $179.40 per year. Given how much value you’re getting, it is well worth it.
Before we look at what shared web hosting is, you’ll need to understand what web hosting itself is.
If you want your website to be accessed on the internet, you’ll need it to be stored and made available by a web hosting service provider.
Web hosting providers simply provide the tools and technologies that make your website accessible on the web. Before your website can go live, it needs to be stored on unique computers called servers.
When someone wants to access your website, they first have to enter your website address into their browser. Their computer will then connect to the web host’s server and your website’s content will be delivered to them through the browser.
There are different kinds of servers and server capacities for web hosting and each comes with a different price tag. Ideally, you’d have to rent a whole server in order to get your website online (called dedicated server hosting).
This option however can be expensive and needs some tech-know in order to manage and maintain the server, making it an unpopular choice for startups, personal online website owners, or even bloggers. This is where shared web hosting becomes a better option.
Shared web hosting simply means your website is housed on the same server with several other websites. It’s almost as if you’re sharing a dormitory with other students. You all split and pay for the cost of the room, but you each have your own bed in that space.
Likewise, you split the bill needed to maintain that server, making shared web hosting the cheapest and most affordable kind of hosting, especially for start-ups and new website owners.
Using shared web hosting is like you’re splitting the costs of rent and utilities with a roommate or housemate. Depending on where you are in your online business journey, this may either be ideal or not.
While it does save you a few couple of dollars too, it doesn’t come without its drawbacks.
The most important thing is to keep your business needs in mind at any point in time so you can choose what works best for your business.
Let’s first examine what the major perks of shared hosting are.
The most obvious benefit of shared web hosting is that it saves you money. This is why it is the most preferred kind of web hosting for beginners or new website owners as well as small businesses.
It can take a while before your website becomes profitable whether it is an online store, a personal blog, or an agency website. Your web hosting subscription is one of the first investments you make into your online business.
Thus it makes sense to choose shared web hosting if you want to stay on a budget so your business can become profitable faster.
Once your online business begins to generate consistent revenue, you can switch your web hosting based on what your website demands.
It’s easy to assume that since you’re sharing resources with hundreds or thousands of other websites, your server may not provide an efficient service.
But that is far from the truth. How well your website runs depends on major factors like disk space (storage) and bandwidth.
Because online business and entrepreneurship is experiencing a considerable growth boost now, it’s made shared web hosting services very competitive.
This is good for consumers because now you can get premium features like more storage and bandwidth at cheap rates.
On top of that, you don’t need to have a tech team to help you with such upgrades as most service providers either handle these things themselves or make it easy for you to do it yourself from your control panel.
For example, on Bluehost’s shared hosting plans, you can get unlimited storage and websites for just $24 extra per year.
3. Better Customization
An important part of owning a website is being able to make it look and run exactly the way you want.
A lot of people believe shared hosting may limit how much flexibility you get with website customization, but interestingly quite the opposite is true.
Shared hosting saves you money and saves you from needing to hire extra tech support just to keep your website up.
Most web hosting providers give you a control panel that lets you customize and install content management systems like WordPress with just one-click.
You can also create business emails and add other apps to boost how your website operates.
Shared hosting is a practical solution for many small businesses and brands. But one of the major concerns some people raise is security and the risk of performance issues because of the shared resources.
Just like in a dormitory, if someone damages furniture or a part of the room, everyone suffers. Likewise, sometimes with shared web hosting comes with similar issues. Here are some of the downsides of shared hosting.
4. Limited Server Resources
Lots of websites and their associated traffic are using the server’s resources in shared hosting.
This means that at any point in time, a particular website’s demand may directly affect the performance of everyone else who is using that server.
Your web hosting provider may try to counter this by limiting how much resources are given to each user in terms of bandwidth and storage.
They may also provide an over usage warning or bill users for exceeding their allocation in order to stop this from happening.
But it is still a big possibility and if it happens, it could lead to your website being terribly slow or crashing altogether.
So if your website gets a lot of traffic or needs to be always online, it’s better to subscribe to a higher-tier plan with more resources.
5. No Dedicated IP.
Websites that share a web hosting server often use the same IP address. An IP address is simply your website’s marked address on the web.
Usually, you wouldn’t need to remember your IP address since your domain name does the same job and is easier to recall.
But in the unfortunate case where something goes wrong with your domain name, you’ll need to type in your IP address, and this where it gets tricky.
Because you’re on a shared server, typing in the IP address of that server would confuse the server and it won’t know which website to bring up.
6. Security Concerns.
Another concern amongst shared web hosting users is security. Since the server is being used by multiple people, it may make it prone to malicious attacks and suspicious activity even if just one of the users on the server is vulnerable.
You may also not be able to install a firewall or antivirus yourself on your website because the server isn’t yours, you just have access to a platform on the server to host your site.
There’s also the issue of not being able to have a dedicated SSL (a secure encryption) since you don’t have a dedicated IP address. A secure encryption helps you protect your website visitor information from hackers.
That’s why it helps to use a premium shared hosting provider with a longstanding reputation like Bluehost. A good hosting provider will put in place enough security protocols including SSL protection, to protect your website’s data.
While this guide focuses on shared web hosting, there are three other types of web hosting services available. VPS hosting, Dedicated server hosting and cloud hosting. Our web hosting guide explains the basics of how each of them works in more detail.
Each one is progressively more advanced and offers more powerful features for growing businesses based on their traffic, security and flexibility needs.
From shared web hosting, the next kind of hosting is VPS hosting. VPS here means Virtual Private Server. We already know that shared hosting means your website is housed on a server with other websites where you share resources.
If you’re not sure shared web hosting is for you, you may be interested in trying out VPS hosting. VPS hosting is a step above shared hosting because rather than sharing resources with other websites on one server, you get a virtual server of your own.
VPS hosting gives you the environment you’d get if you had your own server virtually(where all its resources are for you alone) but within a shared hosting environment.
Think of it as an upgrade from a dormitory where all you have is just your little bed and the little space around it. Now you own an apartment with two or more rooms within an apartment complex. That means more space, more privacy and better security.
Whereas in shared hosting one website’s vulnerability puts every other website on the same server at risk, this is less likely to happen with VPS hosting. Everyone on VPS hosting has higher security, plus you can install additional programs to protect your website.
The next major difference is resources. Shared hosting is like sharing a big family meal one one plate with others. If one person eats more than everyone else, it means you’ll not get enough food.
The same analogy applies to resources like bandwidth and storage which all directly influence your site’s speed.
VPS hosting is like ordering an a la carte meal in a restaurant. Once you choose what you’d like to eat, the entire plate is yours. You’ll be able to eat to your heart’s content, even though it will be just one dish.
In the same way, with VPS hosting gives you more control over resources and what you get to use. It is much less limited compared to shared hosting. You are given a larger portion of the server’s hardware so you can do more.
You also get root access to the server environment, like how you can run command prompt on your PC. This allows you to add, remove or edit any file or software on the server.
With VPS hosting you owned an apartment in an apartment complex, but with dedicated server hosting you move another step higher.
Think of it as owning a semi-detached house within an estate or gated community.
It’s your house, designed to your specifications and with complete ownership. A dedicated server is exactly the same thing, but for your website.
It’s a physical server that houses only your website (or websites). It is meant only for your use.
With dedicated server hosting, nothing is shared, just like your home. You have full rights and use of your servers resources. In terms of customizing and configuring your server, you get full control too.
Compared to shared hosting, dedicated server hosting is generally more expensive. It’s more on the advanced end of web hosting service. But you equally get super fast sites speeds and a high performing website and security.
On the flip side, dedicated server hosting also comes with more responsibility in terms of managing the technical side of your server. Unlike shared hosting or managed hosting, you’re entirely in charge of your server, much like your house.
If something goes wrong with your server, you will need to fix it yourself or have a tech team on hand to do so. Likewise, you’ll be responsible for keeping it updated, backing up data and fixing any bugs that affect your site.
Dedicated Hosting is ideal for high traffic websites or online stores. So if your business has high volumes of visitors daily and weekly or handles multiple online purchases at a time, dedicated hosting may be for you.
Shared hosting is generally the first, most beginner-friendly kind of web hosting anyone can get.
If however your website is built on WordPress, you may want to consider WordPress hosting. WordPress hosting is basically shared web hosting designed to optimize your WordPress site.
WordPress is one of the largest and most popular website builders available on the web. It allows you to create and customize your website without having to know any code. Its simple editor and large marketplace of plugins allow you to add different kinds of functionality to your site.
WordPress hosting basically optimizes your WordPress site’s performance by providing service, support and solutions exclusively made for WordPress and its features. Your site will also be hosted on a server that houses other WordPress-run sites.
So why choose WordPress hosting over shared hosting?
- Generally all sites on WordPress hosting receive custom maintenance.
- Customer service offers software support too, for example with plugin and software issues.
- All sites on WordPress hosting can be given protection against WordPress-specific threats.
- Your service provider can do bulk upgrades and security checks to all websites on the server at a go.
So if you’re looking to maximize your WordPress site’s performance without necessarily upgrading to a more advanced kind of hosting, WordPress hosting is a great choice.
Bluehost is your best choice for WordPress hosting since it’s one of the few hosting providers recommended by WordPress.
So far we’ve talked about servers as physical machines that store your site’s information and make it accessible on the web.
Cloud hosting works based on the principle of cloud computing, which simply means multiple, unique machines working remotely as one system or network.
So instead of your website being housed on one server (shared or not), it’s hosted on a virtual part of a server and uses resources from that server’s entire network of servers.
Think of it as basically having access to different houses with different compounds and facilities. All you need to do is determine what kind of facility you’ll need at any given point in time and you’ll find a house that has exactly that.
Cloud hosting is efficient because it distributes workload and resources amongst different machines at a time. So even though the resources are still being shared like in shared hosting, there are more machines to meet everyone’s needs at any given time.
This makes cloud hosting ideal for sites that experience spikes in traffic or transactions.
Another benefit is that with cloud hosting, you pay only for how much resources you use. So whether you need it for a day, a week or a month, you’ll pay based on your resource consumption.
The major benefits of cloud hosting are that
- It is reliable. Your website is almost guaranteed to always be online no matter what because there are multiple machines in case any one of them fails.
- It is scalable. Whether your website jumps from 10,000 visitors a day to 1,000,000 visitors in three days, cloud hosting can handle the spike.
- You only pay for what you use making it cost-effective.
However, cloud hosting is still more expensive than shared hosting. Apart from that, you’ll need considerable technical knowledge to manage your cloud hosting account, making it not appropriate for new website owners.
It’s clear shared hosting is the first step anyone on a budget or trying to create a web presence for their business will need. It is cost effective, beginner-friendly, allows room for some customization and needs little technical know-how.
However, depending on the kind of website you’re looking to build shared web hosting may or may not be right for your business. Your website’s needs(or expected needs) should be the main factor when you’re choosing web hosting.
That said, here are a few online businesses that will do just fine with a shared web hosting plan.
1. Personal Blogs and Websites.
If you’re just starting a personal blog or website, a shared web hosting plan may be a good low-budget option to help you put your ideas online. Building a blog presence(and traffic) takes time and consistency.
Knowing which blog topics to choose and how to make your blog profitable will also take some figuring out too. Since your website will take some time to gain a following, you can expect not to have a lot of traffic to your site.
This means you won’t need as much resources, specifically bandwidth in the initial phases so shared web hosting will be a good fit. Check out our guide on how to create a website in simple steps.
2. Creative Portfolio Businesses.
Portfolio websites are a great way to showcase work you’ve done for previous clients.
This is especially useful for graphic designers, web designers, creatives, writers and anyone in the creative space. Usually portfolio websites are only meant to be a reference point for potential clients.
For offline businesses, portfolio websites may be a great way to reach new audiences or give potential clients a quick reference point.
Generally, portfolio websites don’t get as much traffic as websites like blogs, online stores or news websites. Thus if you’re looking to build or create a portfolio website, then a basic shared hosting plan should work.
3. Agency Businesses.
An agency business basically provides a specialized service to potential clients. If you run an agency, it’s imperative that you have an online presence. A website for an agency is like your 24/7 information desk and reception.
Anyone from anywhere in the world can go there to learn more about your services, packages and possibly send an inquiry or book an appointment. Thus if you’re looking to build credibility for your business, an agency website will do a world of good.
Professionals in law firms, medical practice, dentists, advertising agencies, marketing agencies and anyone who offers specialized services to particular clientele will benefit from a shared web hosting plan, especially just to get their website online.
If you’re looking to start an online consulting business, read our simple guide on how to get started right.
4. Small Consumer-Based Businesses.
In today’s uncertain economic times, small businesses need to have an online presence. No matter what you sell, having a website is critical to getting new customers or clients. Interestingly, only 64% of small businesses have a website.
Yet, 79% of entrepreneurs with a business website expect to grow at least 25% in the next three to five years, compared to 64% of those without a site. So clearly having a website will add to your bottomline, either in the short or long-term.
Small business owners who are just getting their feet wet with digital marketing and creating an online presence will benefit from shared web hosting. Especially since you don’t need to hire extra hands just to get your website up and keep it running.
Choosing the right shared web hosting plan can make all the difference between a successful start to your website or otherwise.
Not all shared hosting plans are the same, thus it’s important to keep certain factors in mind as you consider your shared web hosting options.
1. Know Your Website’s Needs.
This almost goes without saying. Your website’s needs should be the biggest determining factor of the kind of shared web hosting you choose. Simply because different kinds of websites have different needs.
For example, a portfolio website may not need as much bandwidth as it would storage compared to an online store that needs to be online all the time.
Some other factors to keep in mind include
- Are you open to hiring tech support? Or you prefer DIY for starters?
- How much content do you intend to upload?
- Does your website need special software?
- How much web traffic are you anticipating on a weekly and monthly basis ?
Keep your end goal for your blog or website in mind. If you intend to run ads to get traffic to your site, it means you’ll need a considerable amount of bandwidth to handle that traffic.
The best thing would be to go for a hosting plan a little above your site’s current or anticipated needs so it can grow into it. You’ll be able to take full advantage of any deeply discounted introductory offers to your web hosting plan this way.
Many companies are offering shared hosting plans at low prices but not all offer the same power features. Look out for how much resource allocation you’re getting amongst the service providers you’re considering.
Are you getting unlimited bandwidth or storage? What about the number of domains you’re getting? Do you get free SSL certificates, free email and a dedicated IP address? These features can make a difference not only in how your site performs but also affect your web user’s experience.
Even with the same shared hosting provider, you often get multiple plans to choose from with varying levels of added features, which can make choosing a plan tricky. Don’t automatically go for the cheapest plan if you can help it.
You’ll often find that for a few extra dollars per month or year, you can get all the top-tier services and features including unlimited domains and added site security. Begin by comparing all your host’s plans and features so you can make an informed choice.
Pay particular attention to the add-on features and what price difference they come with and how those features serve your business. For example, free SSL encryption may be more valuable to your online store compared to a custom theme or dedicated IP address.
These should ultimately help you choose which plan you think will serve you best.
3. Signup vs Renewal Price.
Usually hosting service providers offer steep discounts and very low deals during signup, especially if you subscribe for more than 12 months. This is the norm in the hosting industry.
Be careful though, as some of these deals are simply to lure you in and you’ll later find that regular renewal prices are double or more of the signup price. Take time to read the terms of service and their renewal fees before signing up for the long haul.
Otherwise you could find yourself migrating from one web host to another just to get the cheapest deal. It also pays to look out for the host’s money-back guarantee and when it applies. Some companies offer a 30-day money-back guarantee but only if you paid via card.
Others may create some caveats that nullify your claim to a money-back guarantee after signing up, for example excluding add-on services. Aim for a signup fee that either stays the same or isn’t more than double of the renewal fee.
To avoid any unpleasant surprises, check the ToS and make sure you are okay with the renewal rates before signup.
4. A User-Friendly Back End.
Shared hosting providers tend to offer you a simple interface to control the back end of your website and server. The problem is sometimes the user-interface may not lend itself to easy usage.
There are industry standard options like cPanel and Plesk, but some hosting companies may provide you with their own native control panel interface. This can be a good or bad thing, depending on how intuitive the software is.
A poorly-designed back end leaves you at the mercy of the tech support staff, even when it comes to simple installations and other basics. Because you’ll have to contact them for help with every little thing.
Checking user reviews is one way to determine if your preferred host’s back end is easy to navigate and manage. If people generally report it being difficult to use the first few days or weeks, or saying it’s advanced, then you most likely want to steer clear of that web host.
On the contrary, if they use the known back end control software like cPanel and Plesk, you can be sure you’re in good hands.
Look out for one-click installers like Softaculous or Simple Script whose main goal is to simplify setting up your website back end and program installations like for WordPress, Magento and other web applications. These programs make using your backend a whole lot easier.
5. Server Responsiveness.
Server responsiveness here refers to how quickly your website loads or how long it takes between the time someone types in your domain and when the first text or image on your homepage appears.
Also called Time To First Byte (TTFB), this indicator of the server directly influences how long your visitors stay on your website. It’s known that the longer your site takes to load, the more traffic you lose. In fact, just a 1-second page load delay can cause a 7% conversion rate dip!
Your site speed also influences your ranking with Google and search engines in general. So site speed is very key to getting some traffic on your website. The resources that boost site speed don’t come cheap to your web hosting provider, hence the high price tag.
This is also to say don’t be swayed by ridiculously cheap hosting because what you’re not paying in cash, you may be paying in other ways that actually cost you more.
Again, reviews are a good way to tell if your service provider is skimping on the important stuff. Check uptime guarantees and compare with reviews to make sure the company claims are not just hype.
The best shared hosting plans make room for your business to grow and allow you to easily scale when you need to. They also ensure your site is fast and always online with a solid uptime guarantee.
Bluehost, Hostwinds and Accu Web offer competitively priced, feature-rich shared hosting plans.
While shard web hosting raises legitimate concerns about security, most good web hosting providers for example, Bluehost and HostPapa take their security protocols very seriously.
They ensure maximum security on their servers by employing DDoS protection and installing security software to keep out malware and raise alarms about suspicious activity.
Apart from that, your web hosting provider may also offer domain privacy, which keeps your website and personal details from being listed on a public database. This is necessary to keep your personal and private information hidden from spammers and cyber criminals.
You can improve your website’s security by making sure you have a secure encryption on your webpages. An SSL certificate provides secure encryption, making sure that any information entered on your site is kept safe.
GoDaddy is simply a domain registrar and web hosting service provider and not a shared hosting plan in itself.
Much as they offer multiple affordable shared hosting plans, they also offer other kinds of hosting plans including Business hosting (which is their version of VPS hosting) and WordPress hosting.
Bluehost is a popular web hosting and domain registration service provider that offers shared hosting plans as part of its services.
Its shared hosting plans start from as low as $3.95/month and come with a free domain name. But Bluehost itself isn’t a shared hosting plan.
Shared hosting is a good choice if you’re looking for a cost-effective and easy-to-set up way to get started with creating your website. But it’s not without its downsides.
1. Limited website resources. Shared web hosting limits the resources your website has access to, simply because you’re sharing a server with many other websites. This may affect how quickly your site loads and may even cause your site to go offline if the server crashes from overload.
2. No dedicated IP address.
Also, if for some reason your domain name doesn’t work, it may be difficult to retrieve your website using an IP address since shared web hosting doesn’t give you a dedicated IP address. Your website will share the same IP address with several other websites.
3. Potential security risks. While it’s not common, there is the possibility of your website being compromised simply because another website on the same server had a breach of security.
Good web hosting companies work hard to reduce the possibility of such security threats, but that may not eliminate them entirely.
Ready to Create Your Website with Cheap Web Hosting?
The shared web hosting market has become fiercely competitive which is a good thing for subscribers.
More and more companies are offering lower priced shared hosting plans with a slew of powerful features that make it easy for anyone to create a web presence.
We recommend Bluehost as the best choice for shared web hosting and free domain registration.
Be sure to read the fine print especially in terms of what resources are available regardless of the plan you choose and also check for steep renewal fees.
Once you know your website’s needs, your budget and your experience level, you’ll be able to find a simple web hosting plan that fits both your budget.