Shared web hosting means exactly what it says – you share a server with other users who are running their own websites from that hardware. Every customer gets a portion of that physical server for their own use.
The main strength here is that this is a cost-effective solution, and because you’re prepared to share hardware with other folks, you’ll naturally be playing less than the outlay for dedicated hosting.
By the same token, however, you’re also sharing resources with others, and that means that the performance you’ll get will likely be a fair bit slower (and indeed generally less consistent).
That might be fine for sites which don’t have a lot of traffic, but it could be a problem if your bandwidth needs are greater, or reliable and consistent performance is a priority for your website.
So, obviously bear all that in mind, but if you do want to go the shared hosting route in an effort to make some serious savings, which are the best providers to plump for? Read on and find out.
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Don’t fret that this popular web host’s plans are marketed as ‘business’ products, because they’re applicable to individual users as well as companies. There’s a good range of choice here, and shared hosting starts from just $2.95 (£2.10) per month (3-year plan).
What’s also good to see here is that InMotion incorporates features into its shared hosting plans which other providers charge extra for – like hack and DDoS protection, a system of basic backups, and a WordPress-based website builder.
Another strong suit here is the way that this web host provides full details of all its services at-a-glance on the website, and makes it easy to compare features, and make your decision when taking the plunge with a subscription.
You also get cPanel and Softaculous-powered hosting, a sterling level of technical support, and in our testing, we found this provider delivered some impressive performance levels when it came to site loading speeds. All in all, there are lots of reasons to go with InMotion, and a 90-day money-back guarantee doesn’t hurt, either.
1&1 is a big web hosting player, vying with GoDaddy for world domination, and is the biggest player in Europe. Located in Germany, it offers a bewildering array of services with prices starting from as little as $0.99 per month excluding VAT (although that rises to $7.99 after the first year).
On top of that, this shared hoster provides some smart freebies (a free domain, SSL certificates across all plans and unlimited storage, unless you pick the basic plan which has 100GB storage), free web design software (NetObjects Fusion 2013), 24/7 phone and email support, a graphics archive, a 30-day money-back guarantee, transparent replication (the company calls it geo-redundancy) and a whopping 300Gbps network connectivity.
The US-based web hosting company is one of the largest in the game and probably the best known one as well. It is also the biggest domain name registrar in the world with tens of millions of domain names in its portfolio. GoDaddy’s cheapest web hosting package is decently kitted out at $2.99 per month (when you sign up for three years, that is).
This provider offers free backup and restore, an uptime guarantee (99.9%), unlimited storage (although there’s only 100GB for the Economy package), as well as unlimited bandwidth and a free domain with the annual shared hosting plan.
A pretty nifty feature provided by GoDaddy on all its packages is the ability to increase hosting capacity on demand (e.g. when you experience a sudden surge in traffic) from within your hosting account.
If you want to do web hosting on a budget, then as this provider’s name suggests, it aims to be inexpensive. You get some impressive value-for-money with Namecheap, particularly with an initial discount for the first year, and there are some heavyweight plans here.
However, note the starter ‘value’ plan only gives you 20GB of hard drive space and 30 email accounts, but you get that at the price of just $2.88 per month.
Namecheap offers a 99.9% connectivity guarantee, and is a very easy service to set up, with an initial welcome email that points you in the right direction for everything you might need (backed up by some impressive FAQs). It also plays host to an excellent searchable knowledgebase.
To round things off, testing proved that this company generally offers above average speeds compared to rivals, making this a great hosting provider for those who aren’t keen on doing too much damage to their wallet.
Based in London, bang in the middle of startup territory (Shoreditch), UK2 offers an impressively cheap starting shared hosting package at around $1.33 (£1) per month excluding VAT (although that rises to $8 (£6) a month on renewal). It also offers affordable unlimited packages with unlimited emails, bandwidth, a free SSL certificate (great for improved security and search visibility), a free domain and a dedicated IP.
Prospective customers will appreciate the lack of setup fees or hidden charges, the 30-day money-back guarantee, plus 24/7 UK-based phone support on a freephone number and UK-based data centres.
This is another web host which caters for the more budget-minded, and of course that’s never a bad thing. Although do note that you only get the really cheap prices when signing up for longer contracts with HostGator, so something of a commitment is required for the best savings here.
For example, the cheapest shared hosting plan is $2.64 (£2) per month if you sign up for 36 months, but $4.48 (£3.38) per month if you sign up for one year.
The good news is that you get plenty for your money, and no annoying limitations, so even the basic plan allows for unlimited bandwidth, web space, email accounts and more. A 99.9% uptime guarantee is also good to see.
Customer support is generally pretty good – although it falls down in a few areas, for example the web help forums aren’t moderated by the company itself – and we found performance was better than average in terms of site loading times.
SiteGround offers some low-end shared hosting plans which may cost a little bit more than some budget rivals you’ll find on this page, but the upside is that they include all the core features that you’ll likely need.
The firm’s StartUp account is $3.95 a month initially (with the cost rising when you renew), and with that you get unlimited traffic, email accounts and databases, not to mention one-click installation of apps like WordPress. It also bundles features that rival firms often charge for as extras like daily backups or CDN capabilities (Cloudflare).
Another nifty touch is the provider’s SuperCacher system which caches frequently-accessed data in RAM, aiming to improve site performance. This could certainly help busy websites.
Not everything is rosy here, though – for example the basic account limits you to 10GB of web space. Also, website support via the company’s knowledgebase is a rather shoddy experience, but there are other avenues of tech support which perform much better.
This is a premium web hosting outfit with a well-featured ‘Essentials’ plan which offers a great deal of functionality, and is ideal for those looking to host multiple websites (or those who want plenty of room to grow).
With prices starting from as little as $1.99 per month for the shared hosting basic plan (via an offer at the time of writing), iPage gives you unlimited web space and bandwidth, unlimited email addresses, MySQL databases and even domains.
Not only that, iPage incorporates some very smart extras like a drag-and-drop page builder, with a basic shared SSL certificate thrown in for good measure. This provider also offers good quality tech support via live chat and email (although other support avenues aren’t as strong).
Performance levels seems solid, and this is certainly a web host to bear in mind for experienced users who are dealing with large numbers of sites.
One of the smaller web hosting outfits in this listing, PlanetHippo has managed to keep its prices at a lower level compared to most of the competition. Its One Account Linux shared hosting costs just $1.33 (£1) per month (excluding VAT), and it’s an appealing budget package. The firm’s Ultimate plan offers ‘unlimited everything’ for $8 (£5.99) per month (and that includes a free domain).
As with other web hosts, you get a 30-day warranty, 24/7 UK-based support (and it’s of a good quality – although there’s no option to use the phone) and all of PlanetHippo’s servers are based in the UK. Throw in a smartly designed hosting panel, and you won’t go far wrong with this particular provider.
This is another UK-based provider, and Tsohost also plays the value card, with an entry-level Personal shared hosting plan which starts at $1.78 (£1.34) per month (providing you sign up for two years – it’s $1.98 (£1.49) per month if you commit for just one year). That plan limits you to 500MB storage, admittedly, but you do get unlimited bandwidth, Let’s Encrypt SSL and five mailboxes.
Tsohost’s technical support may not be the fastest out there in terms of response times, at least in our experience, but it did provide clear and accurate answers to queries. Performance levels are also solid, and the company offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
You might also want to check out our other hosting guides:
- Best WordPress hosting providers
- Best cloud hosting providers
- Best Linux web hosting services
- Best e-commerce hosting
- Best dedicated server hosting
- Best small business web hosting
- Best Windows hosting services
- Best managed web hosting
- Best business web hosting
- Best colocation hosting
- Best email hosting providers
- Best VPS hosting providers
- Best web hosting resellers
- Best cheap web hosting
- And we consider the merits of shared hosting vs dedicated hosting here