Recently, one of our shared web hosting servers fell victim to a defacing tactic. You can read the RFO on our status page here.
We wanted to take the time to discuss shared hosting platforms and the advantages and disadvantages. The following snippets of information are from Wikipedia’s definition of the Shared Hosting Environment. The original article can be found here.
“A shared web hosting service or virtual hosting service or derive host refers to a web hosting service where many websites reside on one web server connected to the Internet. Each site “sits” on its own partition, or section/place on the server, to keep it separate from other sites. This is generally the most economical option for hosting, as many people share the overall cost of server maintenance.
The hosting service must include system administration since it is shared by many users; this is a benefit for users who do not want to deal with it, but a hindrance to power users who want more control. In general shared hosting will be inappropriate for users who require extensive software development outside what the hosting provider supports. Almost all applications intended to be on a standard web server work fine with a shared web hosting service. But on the other hand, shared hosting is cheaper than other types of hosting such as dedicated server hosting. Shared hosting usually has usage limits and most hosting providers have extensive reliability features in place”
From the information above, we see the immediate advantage is cost. Meganet and Cape.com can offer industry standard web hosting technology on top of a great support team. We try to align all our packages as cost competitively as possible in relation to the live one on one support provided by the rest of the industry.
Another advantage would be rapid deployment. You can have a website and e-mail up and running faster than custom solutions. We offer clients a one stop control panel to access all their information including monthly visit statistics, online file manager, and access to e-mail settings. This is the second most popular reason people choose shared hosting packages.
Inherently, having a mix of websites and applications running on the same platform can pose a problem. Like our recent defacing episode, an exploitable script found in a user’s e-commerce app was able to replace other user’s index files. We were able to recover files from a backup system and fix all affected users. The infected user was removed from the system and integrity of the system and user data was verified to be ok.
Other disadvantages can be performance and customization. Because we host many web sites, performance of your own website depends on how everyone else is performing. If another user is running a large promotion and receiving many hits to their website, it is possible you may experience some slow downs.
Further, if you require custom code or application that exists beyond the boundary of standard web hosting – shared hosting is not for you. Standard environments need to stay in place to meet the requirements of the majority of hosting customers. This is what keeps shared hosting cost effective and reliable.
Take Your Pick
Ask yourself what kind of hosting you need and how crucial it is to your business. If you have a standard blog that you write for a hobby – shared hosting should be your pick. If your site depends on e-commerce and near perfect uptime – you should look to dedicated hosting.
Contact us today for more information or if you have questions – post them below!