This is the most often used form of web hosting commonly available. In this set up, a company will possess one or more servers that they will set up to provide web hosting and their customers will pay them to have access to portions of the server which they share with other customers. Depending upon the size of the server, a single server account could host several hundred different websites at once.
There are many advantages to choosing a shared hosting account. This is almost always the cheapest type of hosting that is commercially available as the cost of the server space is usually made up for by sheer number of customers. You don’t have to have any advanced techie know how to use it and you’re only responsible for your own account – there’s no time that you’re involved with the server itself. As it is a paid solution you will have access to customer support, a contract, uptime guarantees and so on.
The drawback, of course, as the “host sharing” name implies, other clients are sharing the server with you. Just like your personal computer, a server can only carry a certain amount of memory, processing power and space. If you are paired with someone who is putting a heavy strain on these resources, or too many people are using the same server, or you are put on a slower server – if this is the case the result will be that your web site seems slow.
You may also notice if you are technically inclined that shared hosting rarely allows for use of advanced and more powerful options that high end solutions give you. Keeping in mind that this server should be really safe in the first place, associated risk brought on by not knowing how safe your “neighbors” are is not so serious; a minor security risk is present, though.
For most websites and customers, shared hosting can be an ideal opportunity – especially when you are just starting out. There are a minuscule number of people who want or need more control over server contents and the vast majority will never need anything more.