Shared web hosting got its name from the fact that it doesn’t provide an individual server for the hosting of one single website. Shared hosting means that one server is used by many accounts. So, depending on the hosting plan and server capacity there could be a varying number of websites on one server. But shared resources significantly reduce the cost of the web hosting service as maintaining the server gets much cheaper. Usually, websites on shared hosting accounts share most of the server’s resources with each other. In peak times shared web hosting accounts with the need for more CPU or RAM, for example, can use the resources from other smaller accounts and that’s how the capacity of the server is distributed across all of the accounts for optimal efficiency of the server.
Differences from Other Hosting Services
Free website hosting is a type of shared hosting with much more accounts on one server, which has limited features – enough to make the services much cheaper, so the hosting providers could offer free accounts to their users as well. Dedicated, Semi-Dedicated or VPS Hosting are much more powerful web hosting services. They offer much more resources that can be easily upgraded and better performance needed for really big and complex sites. Their accounts share one server with much fewer websites or have their own server (dedicated hosting) and for that reason, these types of hosting are much more expensive. Dedicated and VPS hosting also give the user more independence and control over the hosting account. That’s why, particularly with VPS hosting, users need to have more technical skills to maintain and customize their accounts.
Shared Web Hosting Management
Since shared hosting servers host numerous accounts the server is administered by the hosting company (this includes tech support, installation of the server’s OS and other software, updates, security supervising, etc). Thus the user doesn’t need any technical skills to maintain the server by himself and can concentrate on the content and design of the site. Besides, hosting companies offer easy web-based Control Panels for the easy management of all essential hosting features. However, this might also be a disadvantage for advanced users who want to have full control of their accounts. Still, this is rarely necessary since standard shared hosting supports almost all web applications and only the development of some specific platforms might not be fully supported. For most sites and even more experienced users shared web hosting plans are sufficient.