What Is Shared Hosting As A Web Hosting Service?

Each day, curious online visitors to our website or via our multiple support channels often wonders what “shared hosting” is.

They have heard this word bandied about online or in blog posts, but haven’t really quite figured out what this entails.

These below are some of the shared hosting questions that we often have been asked. You can use it to understand some of the things that define shared hosting & web hosting.

What is shared hosting?

Shared hosting is that type of hosting where multiple tenants share a single server. Each account on the server share the available resources: disk space, data transfer, CPU, etc. In most cases, website owners usually manage their web hosting account using either cPanel, Plesk or other control panels. Overall management and maintenance of the server is the responsibility of the web host as account owners do not need to have root level access to keep their website online.

Who should use shared hosting?

Shared hosting is particularly useful for people who have small to moderately sized websites that don’t need a massive amount of resources to run efficiently. It is also great for anyone who really doesn’t want to waste time managing web servers and all but simply wants to securely host his or her system online.

What are the advantages of shared hosting?

It used to be that the key advantage of shared hosting is the cost because with many accounts sharing their server, the cost of is shared between these accounts. Thus bringing end-user costs considerably.

However, technology advances in the last 4 years have changed this since anyone with considerable server administration skill can get a VPS at the price of a shared hosting service.

While VPS allows for added resources and greater customization, a customer whose blog has just gone viral may not be equipped or ready to deal with the technicalities or the added costs that come with an unmanaged or managed VPS, respectively.

What is and remain the core attractiveness of shared hosting is the fact that your web host is responsible for managing a server and dealing with all those issues that often will keep you from running your business or awake at night. This means that people with relatively few or no IT skills can easily set up a hosting account and a web site.

What are the disadvantages of shared hosting?

Eons ago, given that the server resources are shared between a number of accounts, what happens to one account on the server may impact the others.

Reaching a high level of stability can be difficult, sometimes unachievable, for many shared hosting companies. Sudden resource usage spikes, increases in traffic, and hacker attacks are some of the problems system administrators cope with every day.

For years, this has been accepted as a cost of doing business. It costs money, it costs time and, more importantly, it costs customer trust.

But this is the old way of doing things as things have remarkably improved over the past 3 years.

Any web host worth its salt now has at its disposal tools that are capable of integrating with at the server and database levels to prevent any kind of abuse. The technology has roots in common with container-based virtualization.

The goal of such tools is to ensure that a tenant never uses more than he or she is allowed, and therefore never slows down or brings down an entire server or causes issues for all other tenants on the server.

Another great thing that has happened too is security.

On a vanilla Linux server, it is very easy for attackers to use hacked web applications to deploy PHP Shell.

But these same set of tools are now capable (just as you would on a VPS or virtualized server) create a virtualized, per-user file system that uniquely encapsulates each customer, preventing users from seeing each other and viewing sensitive information. These prevent a large number of attacks, including most privilege escalation and information disclosure attacks and completely transparent to your customers, without any need for them to change their scripts.

In such secure environment,

  • improved stability by limiting the resources any single user can consume.
  • encapsulates each customer, preventing users from seeing each other and viewing sensitive information. It also prevents a large number of attacks, including most privilege escalation and information disclosure attacks.
  • customers will only have access to safe files.
  • customers cannot see other users and have no way to detect the presence of other users or user names on the server.
  • customers cannot see server configuration files, like Apache config files.
  • customers will have a limited view of their own processing file system, and cannot see other users’ processes.
  • customer’s environment will still be 100% fully functional will not feel restricted in any way.

So, shared hosting has evolved and in fact on par with VPS hosting.

The only difference is that a shared hosting customer might not be able to install custom Apache or Nginx modules.

How many accounts are available to one server?

This is one of those things that differentiates a good host from a very bad one.

A conscientious web hosting company will obviously understand the limitations of each server they deploy and will adjust the number of accounts to ensure stability and usability.

A bad host though will try to cram as much account as possible, thus prioritizing profit over great experience for its customers.

On 2cPanel, we host only 20 accounts per each 16GB RAM, 4 vCPU server SSD-disk machine.

And when any of the customers grow enough that we feel he or she needs something bigger, we simply move the account to either of one of VPS systems or a dedicated server.

What features should I be looking for when choosing a web host?

The hosting world is filled with providers, large and small, all supplying people with a means to sell their goods, market their services, and tell their stories.

But here are some things that separate a great web hosting company or a great web host, from the bad ones.

  • quality of support: a good host provides a 24/7 dedicated technical support its customers. We are talking about a responsive, personalized experience that cares.
  • ease of use: a good host should provide you with an easy-to-use environment that ensures that you can get things done without much stress.
  • uptime: a good host should be able to provide its hosting service with as minimal downtime as possible. A good web hosting company should design a network architecture that makes the performance, scale, and reliability a priority that it can achieve a 99.978% availability.

    It means building a platform hosting that not only assume that hardware will fail at some point but able to design a robust failover to withstand such disruption.

    2cPanel hosting plans are designed to enable the continued delivery of our services to our customers. If a machine—or even an entire data center—fails, your data will still be accessible.

  • disaster plan: a good host must have a business continuity plan for its data centers and production operations. This plan must account for major disasters such as earthquakes and public health crisis and must be designed assuming that people and services may be unavailable for up to 30 days.

    All 2cPanel systems are inherently redundant by design, and each subsystem is not dependent on any particular physical or logical server for ongoing operation. Data is replicated multiple times across clustered active servers so that, in the case of a machine failure, data will still be accessible through another system. We also replicate data to secondary data centers to ensure protection from data center failures.

  • security: this is probably one of the most important things you should use a benchmark when evaluating a web hosting company.

    A good web host must have a security model that is capable of innovating and helping keep your organization secure and compliant.

    Not only will they have built-in protection, and global network to protect your information, identities, applications, and devices, but must have policy requirements that protect your critical assets with unique security products and capabilities.

2cPanel along with its global partners has built a web hosting infrastructure that meets current security standards, and have built up expertise in data protection, identity and user protection, infrastructure security, scanning, monitoring, logging, and more.

As a cPanel hosting company, we think of ourselves as a remedy for those special set of customers that needs more than what’s offered in a traditional shared environment.

Published by Trax Armstrong

A figment of someone's imagination that doesn't really exist. He lives inside a sci-fi simulation, reads philosophical and metaphysical books when he is not fighting aliens that want to steal his soul & always quote Star Trek to make his points.

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