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. It is the cheapest form of commercial Hosting, as the cost of the server can be offset by the many customers who can use it at once. They don’t require advanced technical knowledge to use and you only need to administer your account – at no point do you have anything to do with the server. Most shared hosting accounts give customers a contract, guaranteed “up” times and customer support, among many other feature options and extras.
The drawback, of course, as the “host sharing” name implies, other clients are sharing the server with you. There is a finite amount of disk space, memory and CPU space on any server so there is the potential that the service may be slow if there is heavy usage at peak times if the web host has have overbooked the server or if the server itself is simply slow – if this is the case the result will be that your web site seems slow.
Another drawback is that you will most likely be unable to use a lot of the more advanced or high-powered features that you can get on a higher end dedicated server solution. There is also the ever present security risk which is slightly elevated when you share a server with other clients but this is negligible since the server itself will be secure to begin with.
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.