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

Shared hosting, the more commonly used type, entails multiple websites. Cloud hosting is coming more into the limelight and uses multiple physical servers.

Key takeaways:

  • Shared hosting, in which one server houses multiple websites, is the most popular form of hosting.
  • Cloud hosting uses many servers and is quickly gaining popularity.
  • There are hosting providers who specialize in shared and cloud hosting.
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What Is Shared Hosting?

Shared hosting is generally considered the most popular entry-level hosting option. It’s where a single server houses dozens or hundreds of different websites. Each customer is assigned a digital environment to create websites. While each digital environment is separated so only the owner can access them, all the server sites 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 many smaller websites are run from one server since none requires all 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

Check out some of the key reasons why so many websites run using this type of technology:

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

Disadvantages of shared hosting

The following things may discourage you from using 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, 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 specific settings, such as what operating system is used or what version of specific programs are running.

What Is Cloud Hosting?

Cloud hosting — multiple physical servers configured to work like one — is one of the newer options available, but this technology is rapidly gaining popularity. The hosting company 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, often known as shared cloud hosting. It can also be set up to create segmented virtual environments for each customer — frequently called cloud virtual private server (VPS) hosting.

Advantages of cloud hosting

Cloud hosting, a popular option offered by many web hosting companies, offers the following main advantages:

  • Nearly limitless growth: Cloud hosting can handle large sites without a problem. If the virtual server runs out of resources, the hosting company can add additional hardware to accommodate the growth.
  • Many configuration options: Some cloud hosting packages offer little more than shared hosting, and some options are as advanced as a VPS or dedicated server. Shop around for a cloud hosting solution with the exact specifications 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 can pick up the work to avoid an outage.

Disadvantages of cloud hosting

Learn the following cons of using a cloud hosting environment for your website:

  • Cost: While still affordable, the costs of a cloud hosting environment are typically 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 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 housed on the same logical server as many others, you won’t have your private internet protocol (IP) address or other things. This can make it more challenging to keep your information private if needed.

How Do You Choose the Best Hosting for Your Business?

Determining the best hosting for your small business is challenging. Shared hosting is likely the best option if you’re just looking for a basic hosting solution for your website.

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

Read our reviews of the top shared hosting providers in the business and the best cloud hosting services available.

FAQS About Shared vs. Cloud Hosting

Is cloud hosting better than shared hosting?

Cloud hosting is often considered the better choice due to better security, reliability, and ability to handle more traffic.

How many visitors can cloud hosting handle?

Usually, it can handle at least 2,000 to 3,000 visitors daily or 50,000 users monthly.

Is cloud hosting much faster than shared hosting?

Cloud hosting is more powerful than shared hosting and is flexible.