What is shared hosting?
If you are seeking a web hosting service for the first time, you are very likely to stumble upon a shared hosting service. Shared hosting is the most basic and inexpensive form of web hosting. Shared hosting allows you to create a fully functional website at a fraction of the cost offered by other types of web hosting. Shared hosting can offer competitive prices (even in Australia) since these services store multiple sites on a single physical machine. If you are working with a tight budget, or are simply new online, shared hosting is the logical first step in your web page experience.
The easiest way to imagine shared hosting is through the apartment complex metaphor. Imagine a large apartment complex with dozens of individual apartments. While every apartment has their own resources (water, electricity, internet, cable), these resources are fed through the overarching supply of the apartment complex. Tenants are responsible for managing their own resources and paying the appropriate fee. However, in the event of a severe problem such as a water main break, tenants are forced to contact the apartment complex to correctly resolve the issue.
These same ideas can be applied to a shared hosting service. Every customer has access to the resources of server space, bandwidth, or even email. These resources are provided and managed by the overarching (Australian) web host. While each customer is responsible for managing their own server space, they are powerless in situations where the entire web host server goes down. It is ultimately the web host’s responsibility to ensure that the server does not completely crash, which would leave their customers without a website.
There are a few reasons why people use shared hosting. The most obvious benefit of shared hosting is the price. Most shared hosting sites with a fee cost under the $100 price point. These services are effective and will leave beginners with little guessing room. There are even shared hosting sites which offer server space for free. These sites are obviously filled with advertisements and limited features, but free is free. If you are not required to pay an absurd amount of money for a web host, you have more funds available for other aspects of your web page.
Another major benefit of shared hosting is that new web developers can use these services as a “test drive” for their new site.