Although it is a fact that shared hosting is the most economical choice for startups and small enterprises, it is certainly not ideal for hosting ecommerce websites or online stores.

Shared hosting paradox- overselling unlimited resources

The obvious reason for inappropriateness of shared hosting for online business is that ecommerce websites are resource intensive websites and shared hosting is notorious for resource crunch. One of the commonest selling points used by hosting service providers is unlimited bandwidth and unlimited disk space availability with shared hosting plans.

This is a clear case of overselling. Hosting service providers have their own logic to offer ‘unlimited’ resources to shared hosting accounts. The logic is based on law of averages since out of one hundred accounts, on an average seventy accounts may use a small fraction of the resources granted to them to ensure huge volumes of resource are available to the remaining thirty accounts.

In such a situation, if some of the websites start consuming more than allocated resources, then the situation would go out of control and lead to downtimes or slow page loading issues.

In the process of crossing the optimum number of accounts from a single server assigned for shared hosting, the host is definitely going to earn huge profits, but what about the users? And what if the user happens to host an online store? What would happen if one of the accounts happens to be a resource hungry website that is going to consume more than half of available resources?

These are disturbing questions and the resulting scenario can lead to a downtime that cannot be afforded by your online store.

Vulnerabilities of shared hosting- hackers’ paradise

In a shared hosting environment, one of the most serious concerns is regarding security. And the gravity of this problem is directly related with diversity of neighbors.

With growing number of account holders and websites, the security of other websites can be compromised not only from outside but also from within the shared hosting environment. We can list some the vulnerabilities of shared hosting plans as follows:

 - Exposure to malware and virus attacks
 - Increased risk of DOS attack due to access to PHP, Perl, and shell accounts
 - Shared IP address can get you blacklisted due to illegitimate behavior of other websites
 - Hackers can control an entire server with DDoS attack

Most of the vulnerabilities can be due to irresponsible behavior of neighbors in a shared hosting environment. It is practically impossible to rule out all these threats even by taking optimum precautions.

Hackers can indeed play havoc in a shared hosting environment. They are capable of enumerating and attacking CMS running on shared server, reverse IP lookup, uploading hacker’s shell on server, running Linux commands, and more. Hackers only need to purchase a shared hosting account on the same server to gain a royal access to entire sever environment.

Performance matters

Any ecommerce platform must focus on user experience in terms of page loading speeds. It is also vital for better page ranking on search engines. In a shared hosting environment page speed can be the biggest casualty.

This usually happens due to bandwidth throttling. It is very common for online stores to get large number of concurrent visits due to special promotion plans such as weekend sale campaigns and so forth.

Seasonal factors can also contribute to escalated concurrent visits. It is found that many shared hosting accounts can get suspended with a meager amount of concurrent visits. It is common for ecommerce websites such as Magento to load very slowly in shared hosting environment.

Shared hosting customers face traffic bottlenecks more frequently than VPS or dedicated hosting. It was observed in one of the instances that an online shop suffered downtime for two day. After doing simple mathematics the owner realized that the revenue lost could be easily used to host his website on a VPS server. 

Growth retardation

It is virtually impossible to plan for a decent growth without leaving the suffocation environment of shared hosting. With constant fight for major resources by bandwidth hogging neighbors, your online store will have a stunted growth. Need to migrate to dedicated or VPS hosting will be felt sooner than you could expect. Shared hosting severely suffers from lack of scalability. You can neither exercise any control on the server not you can make any changes to the same.

Seasonality and promotional activities can lead to traffic spikes that cannot be handled with limited resources of shared hosting. Many online stores need to undertake such activities more frequently. On demand provision of resources is a major concern while finding the right type of hosting for ecommerce website.

On cannot afford to be complacent with the resources provided in shared hosting, especially if you are running an ecommerce website. Even though the option of shared hosting may appear to be lucrative for small business with tighter budgets, one should spend few dollars more for a fertile ground to reap the optimum benefits of ecommerce.

It would be prudent to consider costs of lost customers due to slow page loads or downtime and hazards of security threats before choosing the option of shared hosting for your online venture.