Web Hosting – About Sharing a Server

The most economical way of getting your website hosted online is definitely via sharing a server with many other users. However, who can forget the horrible housemates we all encountered at some point in life and sharing a server has similar pros and cons.

The first factor to consider when making a decision of whether to go for a shared server or not is how important the availability of your website is to your business. Problems arising and changes made on other websites may require the server to be re-booted and that in addition to the planned outages.

The second most important factor is the load that the server hosting your website can bear and how much are other websites pushing for it.

Many websites are basically plain html pages. They do not place immense burden on the host server. In cases like these, the server can easily manage multiple users and requests, as most of the times there?s a gap between a user?s first and subsequent actions. During this time the server is free to direct its resources towards another user.

But then there is a total limit to the number of processes that a server can handle at any one time. Browser requests and database applications are processed via the CPU and even though large hosting servers have multiple processors, there still is a limit to the processing power. The busier the server is, the longer will your visitor?s request has to stay in the queue, even if for a very short duration of time.

Just like the processing power, memory is also limited and shared among all processes currently going on. It?s distributed in a first-come first-served basis. If all of the memory gets consumed up, the system turns towards swap memory storage for help, which acts slower than main memory and visitors to your website may experience delay when their requested pages are served.

Apart from CPU and system memory, other bottlenecks can also show up. The available network bandwidth is also shared among all users on a given server and if one of the clients starts generating heavy download traffic, others with static html pages would suffer.

To get a clear picture of the importance that your hosting provider places on capacity planning, you need to be aware of free resources available on the shared server as well as the network. Any server can be queried to find out important ratios like CPU utilization, memory usage, free hard drive storage etc and with the passage of time this data can be compiled into useful statistical summary.

This report will depict a very true picture of resource utilization by your hosting provider and if there?s enough room for new accounts. Make sure you have this information in hand and decide on whether to stay on a shared server based on this information.