Disadvantages of Shared Hosting for eCommerce

On June 11, 2012, wrote:

Shared Web hosting is a form of Web hosting where multiple clients share the resources of a single Web server. The advantage to this approach is that by sharing, the clients can keep overall costs down. However, shared hosting is not without its limitations, and some of those drawbacks can significantly affect E-commerce. With that in mind, let us examine the disadvantages to sharing as they relate to ecommerce web hosting.

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)

SSL is the standard technology for establishing a secure link between a website and a web browser. It is necessary for modern E-commerce. The most important SSL resource is the SSL certificate. The primary issue with SSL and shared hosting is that all SSL traffic must be bound to a single IP address. It is still possible to achieve it, but the process is more complex and is usually a more expensive endeavor.

Dedicated IP Address

A website on a shared hosting plan does not have a dedicated IP address. One issue with this we already mentioned: SSL. The other big issue is reputation. The IP address is reflective of your brand, and you have no control over how the other websites behave. If they spam or scam, that can reflect on your site, and in the worst-case scenario, it can block your site from accessing various resources. Shared hosting providers do sell dedicated IPs to clients, but as the price goes up, a shared approach makes less sense.

Limited Server Resources

Shared hosting operates on the theory that most Web servers have resources that go unused. By sharing, there is no waste. In practice, resource use is not always so convenient. If you’re lucky, your fellow sharers are primarily low-traffic, low-resource websites. However, if a hosting plan includes multiple websites with high traffic volumes, then that server is likely going to suffer substantial performance issues during peak periods.

Other Disadvantages

One of the other key concerns with a shared plan is security. In a dedicated scenario, only you and the provider have access. This is a significant concern if you are storing client data on the server. Another significant issue is permission. Because you are sharing the server, you don’t have the permission to install whatever programs you want. You have to go through an approval process, which can waste money and time.

Conclusion

This is not to say that a shared approach is always wrong for e-commerce. It may be the right choice for the small business that won’t have a lot of traffic themselves for now. The key to any ecommerce host is flexibility. You need a host and a contract that can grow and adapt laterally with the business; for example, InMotion and iPage. If you can get that and a guarantee that you’ll have the resources needed during your money-making hours, a shared plan might make sense. If you can afford it, a dedicated plan is a much safer and robust choice. (Be sure to check out Lakeshore Branding’s What Makes a Good eCommerce Site?)

About the author: Ciara Sawyer is a freelance writer since 2009. Most of her articles deal with issues and reviews regarding web hosting and related information. Follow her on her twitter @ciara_tweets21.


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