What is Shared Web Hosting?
Shared web hosting involved multiple users hosting their websites on the same server. Servers are very powerful, and often significantly more cost and resources and any one user, or small business website requires. By sharing the server, users are able to purchase a more economical hosting package, while still meeting the requirements to host a successful website.
This is the new shared economy. Gone are the days of buying your own server box for thousands of dollars. Rather, virtually share the server space with other website owners from around the world and pay only pennies per day to get your website up and running. Shared hosting is a beautiful thing!
Can I Host my Business Website on Shared Hosting?
Absolutely! In fact, most startup and small business host on shared hosting – it just makes more sense both financially and from a server hardware perspective. I’ve seen client websites as large as 50,000 visits per month successfully host on shared web hosting.
Who is the Best Shared Host?
Over the years I’ve literally administered and hosted thousands of websites across dozens upon dozens of web hosting providers. Of those web hosts, most have been shared hosting providers. While there are many great shared hosting solutions out there, my top recommendations are easily identifiable based on my personal experience as a client, reseller and administrator. While these recommendations are primarily based upon my personal experience, I have additionally ranked them on the factors of Speed, Uptime, Cost, and Support.
Bluehost: #1 Recommended Hosting Provider
Bluehost is the #1 recommended hosting provider on WebHostingProf.com, and for good reason! In our tests, Bluehost has the fastest average response time – a reliable 2.23 second load time – meaning it’s performance is more consistent than its competitors. Bluehost 24/7 in-house support is also outstanding, with an average response time of under 5-minutes in our tests. Their slick interface and custom designed control panel allows for easy website setup and administration for everyone from the first-time website owner to an experienced hosting veteran.
HostGator: Runner-Up and Best Shared Hosting Alternative to Bluehost
HostGator comes in at a close second, boasting faster speeds than Bluehost but with more irregular fluctuation in website performance. Our test sample website would load often load at 1.54 seconds but would slow to 3.40 seconds during increased load on the shared hosting server. This range averages to 2.47 seconds, but when a weighted average was applied to the response times, we saw a 2.68 second load time across our HostGator tests. This translates to HostGator being approximately 20% slower than Bluehost across the testing period (however the 0.45 second difference isn’t that significant).
HostGator support is outstanding, with an average response time of 3-minutes, beating Bluehost here. Like Bluehost, their control panel is nicely laid out, giving users the confidence and control they need over their shared website hosting setup and administration.
SiteGround: Best Host for Businesses
SiteGround isn’t as popular as Bluehost and HostGator are in the shared hosting space, however they’re a bit of a “hidden gem”. I’ve used SiteGround to host many of my websites for years, and they’re the best mid-tier shared hosting provider I’ve come across. They are international based, but they give users the option of selecting their Datacenter region – typically an option reserved for premium web hosts. Their current server locations include: Chicago, US; London, UK; Amsterdam, NL; and Singapore, SG. Their network is highly available, redundant, and secure, meaning consistently reliable speeds and uptime from around the world.
Their support is outstanding as well, but the response times aren’t as quick as Bluehost or HostGator. If don’t mind a 10-minute chat wait time or an hour or two for a ticket response, but require a premium shared hosting offering to that of the “big box” Bluehost and HostGator options, then I’d highly recommend SiteGround for your hosting needs.
WP Engine: The Best of the Best in Shared Hosting
WP Engine is literally the best shared hosting provider I’ve ever come across. Their Texas-based servers are lightning fast, and their proprietary caching system is unrivaled. From my own tests, as well as migrating many clients over from cheaper shared hosting options, I’ve seen a 2x, even 3x decrease in website load time and download speeds. And that’s without any optimizations!
There is one caveat, however, WP Engine is a managed wordpress host, meaning they only host WordPress websites. So, if you’re running Joomla, Drupal, Magento, or a straight-up HTML site, then you’ll want to consider Bluehost, HostGator or SiteGround, as listed above.
Simply put, WP Engine is the fastest shared host on the planet, has the best load times, the best support, and the best auto-backup system. But that all comes at a cost. As I’m sure your grandfather told you, “You get what you pay for.” This is also true with shared web hosting. The smallest WP Engine plan starts at $35/month (get 2 months free with annual prepay).
As I’ve been a happy customer of WP Engine for years now, and hosted dozens upon dozens of client websites with them, I’m proud to be able to offer my readers 20% off the Startup Plan. Simply click this link to load the discounted personal plan offer.
If you’re not quite ready to bite the $35/month hosting bullet, that’s OK, you can always signup for Bluehost for a fraction of the price, get your WordPress site established, then migrate your website to WP Engine at a later date (they offer free WordPress website migration as just one of their many premium web host offerings).
Money Back Guarantee
Keep in mind that whichever shared hosting company you choose, they all offer a money-back guarantee. So if you choose one and they don’t quite fit your needs, then simply cancel within the policy timeframe and request a refund with their billing department.
Need an Alternative Solution?
Not totally convinced that shared web hosting is right for your business? Then checkout our list of the best web hosting providers for business. We also rate the best cloud providers, VPS hosting companies, and dedicated hosting solutions.