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Shared Web Hosting: The Ugly Truth & Why it Sucks For Your Business!

Imagine this: The social media campaign for your business goes viral, and your website is getting over 100,000 visitors, but watch out for that — ” BAAM!

It suddenly crashed.

What will you do in this scenario? Call your host provider and yell at them? Maybe plead for them to move your website to a new server ASAP?

Whatever you do is a waste — you (or your client) could have just lost over 100,000 precious visitors!

Remember: Views are just a vanity metric and don’t even show the actual loss in conversions and dollars.

But why did your site crash?

It turns out another website on the same server had a traffic spike and ended up sucking up all the resources — not leaving enough resources for your site!

In this article, we will talk all about shared hosting, what it is and what your business is getting for that ‘economical’ $5/month subscription plan.

What Is Shared Hosting?

Let’s suppose you started a new business but yet can’t afford to lease an entire store —  so you rent out an inexpensive booth in a flea market with a thousand other businesses’.

Although you saved a lot of money — your business is directly affected by the other businesses because you’re all sharing the same space (more on this later).

This is how shared hosting works — a single server gets shared by multiple websites. A shared hosting solution is ‘low cost’ but often very unreliable which can end up costing your business much more in the long run.

Why does it suck to share?

Most businesses (especially those just starting out) tend to opt for a ‘lost cost’ web shared hosting. However, the cost benefit in the short term often turns into a long-term loss.

To understand the shortcomings of shared hosting, I’ve broken down the biggest drawbacks of shared hosting and — how it can negatively affect your business below:

1. You get what you pay for:

Shared hosting is cheap because hundreds (or possibly thousands) of people are using the same server.

The worst part? You don’t know who you are sharing it with, and this could potentially lead to the so-called “bad neighbor effect,” and that means — whatever they do can impact your site. Yikes!

2. You share the same resources:

As the name suggests, every website on a shared hosting plan shares the same resources with everyone else — there’s plenty for everyone right?

Sure — on average — but if another website experiences an “above average” traffic spike it will end up using more than its allocated share of the server’s resources, and your website (and every other site) on that server will be affected.

You might think that the host provider could probably remove this website for being unfair. However, what would you expect the host to do if the website in question genuinely experiences a massive surge of traffic via a viral post or successful campaign?

Nothing. In such scenarios your host is powerless!

Instead, you’ll be the loser and end up getting much of your resources sucked — that’s not fun at all!

3. You will have to trust the security of other websites

Most (good) shared web hosting providers safeguard at the server level, not the site level.

Of course your site is secure, but what about your thousands of neighbors? Can you trust all of them are following the right protocol to keep their sites safe?

If even one of them is insecure and vulnerable — your website and every other site on that server is at risk!

Similarly, if one of them gets banned by an ISP for malicious activity (for instance, SPAM emails), the entire server is at risk of being blacklisted.

Talk about one bad apple!

4. You will not have the flexibility to customize

Hosting providers’ in general are quite restrictive about the usage of their servers. This is particularly true if you’re on a shared hosting plan — because you share resources with every other site — you have to follow a specific set of rules on what you can and cannot do with your server.

This is terrible if your website is growing, as you will not have the ability to make adjustments and customize it the way you want.

5. You don’t really get “Unlimited Resources”

Lastly, don’t be fooled by the “unlimited” or “unmetered” label which is merely a marketing scheme most shared hosting providers use to lure non-technical users to their services.

For instance, HostGator (a popular shared hosting provider) markets itself as an “unmetered shared hosting provider.”

This is why you have to read the terms of service:

HostGator issues warning notices to those who exceed 25% of their resources — so much for being unmetered!

HostGator Terms of Service – Unacceptable Resource Usage

What should you use and why?

If you’re just getting started and need to pinch pennies, it makes perfect sense to go for the cheaper option of shared web hosting. However, as soon as your website and web traffic becomes a priority, it’s time to make the move.

But, if you are running a business heavily dependent on your website — you want to make sure it’s backed by a safe and reliable hosting provider.

Or even better — fully managed WordPress hosting that not only provides your website with reliable hosting but also maintains it efficiently.

Remember: If your business is dependent on being online, you’d want to make sure it’s running on the best engine possible.

Who do you use to host your website? Have you had any bad experiences with them? Share them with us in the comments below.

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