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If you need a website for your business, you have many different options to consider. Two of the most popular types of hosting technology used for small businesses today are shared hosting and cloud hosting.

Take some time to read more about these two options to see which one would be best for your specific situation.

Key Takeaways

  • Shared hosting is the most popular form of hosting, it is the entry-level hosting option where a single server is used to house dozens or hundreds of different websites.
  • Cloud hosting is quickly gaining popularity, it is where multiple physical servers are configured to work as if they were one server on which hosting companies create digital environments on the virtual server for each customer.
  • There are hosting providers who specialize in shared and cloud hosting,  in choosing between shared and cloud hosting consider the needs of your website.
green energy illustration
Source: GreenGeeks

What Is Shared Hosting?

Shared hosting generally is considered the most popular entry-level hosting option. It’s where a single server is used to house dozens or hundreds of different websites. Each customer is assigned their own digital environment where they can create their websites. While each of these digital environments is separated so that only the owner can access them, all of the sites on the server share system resources.

For example, if the server has 128 gigs of RAM total, that RAM is used to run all the websites together. The same is true for central processing unit (CPU) power and other system resources on the server. This works well when there are many smaller websites being run from one server since none of them requires all of the system resources at a given time. The specific number of websites housed on a given server is up to the web hosting company and can have a big impact on things like the price and performance of the sites.

Advantages of Shared Hosting

There are many reasons why shared hosting is among the most popular options out there. Check out some of the key reasons why so many websites run using this type of technology:

  • Price: Since you can put a large number of websites onto a single server, the costs for each site are going to be very low. The inexpensive price tag for shared servers is one of the biggest reasons so many people want to use this technology.
  • Easy configuration: A web hosting company can set up a new digital environment on the server in seconds, making it very fast and easy to set up and configure the hosting for your website.
  • Growth on the fly: When a large number of websites are sharing system resources, it means that the server they’re on has a lot of power. If one website gets a surge in traffic, the server can generally handle it quite well due to its advanced system resources.

Disadvantages of Shared Hosting

Shared hosting has many benefits, but it isn’t right for every situation. The following disadvantages may make it so that you don’t want to use shared hosting for your website:

  • Impact of other websites: If you’re on a shared server and another website gets flooded with traffic, that site could use up all the system resources. This often results in your website experiencing slowness due to the high traffic on the server itself.
  • Limited growth: While many shared hosting packages say they allow for things like unlimited traffic and bandwidth, the reality is that there are limitations on the system resources available. If your site gets too big, the hosting company almost certainly requires you to upgrade to more robust hosting.
  • Fewer configuration options: Since you don’t have exclusive access to the server, you cannot control certain settings, such as what operating system is used or what version of certain programs are running.

What Is Cloud Hosting?

Cloud hosting is one of the newer options available, but this technology is rapidly growing in popularity. This is where multiple physical servers are configured to work as if they were one server. The hosting company then creates digital environments on the virtual server for each customer. Cloud hosting can be set up to share all the resources of the virtual server, which is often known as shared cloud hosting. It can also be set up to create segmented virtual environments for each customer, which is often called cloud virtual private server (VPS) hosting.

Advantages of Cloud Hosting

It’s easy to see why cloud hosting is becoming such a popular option and why so many web hosting companies are offering it. Some of the biggest advantages to using cloud hosting include:

  • Nearly limitless growth: Cloud hosting can handle large sites without a problem. If the virtual server is running out of resources, the hosting company can simply add additional hardware to accommodate the growth.
  • Many configuration options: There are cloud hosting packages that offer little more than what you would find on shared hosting, and there are options that are as advanced as a VPS or dedicated server. Shop around to find a cloud hosting solution that has the exact specifications that you need.
  • Reliability: Unlike shared hosting, there’s no single point of failure for the hardware with cloud hosting. If one of the servers has trouble, the rest of them can pick up the work to avoid an outage.

Disadvantages of Cloud Hosting

There are also some important reasons why you might not want to use cloud hosting. Take a look at the following disadvantages of using a cloud hosting environment for hosting your website:

  • Cost: While still very affordable, the costs of a cloud hosting environment typically is more than a shared hosting account. In addition, cloud hosting can be much more advanced, which means a significantly higher cost in some situations.
  • Security: There are some concerns that cloud hosting environments are more often targeted by hackers and other bad actors online. Since so many websites are housed in one virtual environment, one successful attack can have a larger impact.
  • Privacy concerns: With your site being housed on the same logical server as many others, you won’t have your own private internet protocol (IP) address or other things. This can make it more difficult to keep your information private, if that’s something you need.

How To Choose the Best Hosting for Your Business

Trying to figure out what the best hosting for your small business is going to be difficult. If you’re just looking for a basic hosting solution for your website, shared hosting is likely the best option.

It isn’t quite as reliable, but if you work with a good hosting company, the downtime is still minimal. If, however, you don’t mind paying a little extra to get a more robust hosting environment, cloud solutions are the way to go.

Top 3 Shared Hosting Services

If you have decided that you want to go with shared hosting, check out our page where we rank and review the top shared hosting providers in business today. You can also choose from one of these top three shared hosting services:

  • Bluehost
  • SiteGround
  • GreenGeeks

Top 3 Cloud Hosting Services

If you want to go with cloud technologies, visit our page where we look at the best cloud hosting services available. This page is being evaluated by our team regularly to ensure it offers the most up-to-date information. Otherwise, consider one of the following top three cloud hosting services:

  • Cloudways
  • Hostinger
  • HostGator
cloud hosting illustration
Source: Cloudways

What Should You Do Next?

When you’re ready to build a website, you need to decide what type of hosting you want to use. For most small businesses, this either is shared hosting or cloud hosting. Weigh out each option carefully and decide which one you believe works best for your specific situation. Keep in mind, however, that both of these options offer great hosting as long as you’re working with a good-quality hosting company.