34SP.com Blog

What is Shared Hosting?

Website hosting architecture broadly falls into two categories: shared and non shared. This article deals largely with shared hosting systems. At 34SP.com shared servers are used to host our Personal, Professional Web Hosting and Reseller Hosting accounts.

Shared hosting refers to the instance of one server system, being used to host the websites for multiple end users. In many standard configurations (including ones in use at 34SP.com), shared hosting systems can happily support hundreds of end users. This approach can offer very low hosting costs to the end customer, as hundreds of clients contribute to the costs of the server hardware, the related network infrastructure and maintenance. As a result shared hosting is perfectly suited for personal websites and small business web pages.

The shared nature of these systems though does come with some drawbacks. Should a fault occur with the web serving system, all users on the shared system are affected. Moreover, individual users themselves may be the cause of these faults, by their own actions, mistakes, or even rare events (such as dramatic unexpected traffic spikes). When such a fault occurs the web server can fail, and all hosted users sites will stop loading.

While 34SP.com doesn’t guarantee a particular uptime level on shared services we do strive for a gold standard. Most shared systems themselves (the actual server) run at 100% uptime over the month – hardware faults causing a total failure event are extremely rare. When faults do occur, they generally affect the web server element of the server. On our shared systems at 34SP.com we try to maintain a web server uptime in excess of 99.9%, as measured over a calendar month. That equates to roughly 43 minutes or so of allowable downtime per month, for www services. Quite often our shared hosting systems will easily exceed that 99.9% goal. 99.9% uptime generally suffices for the majority of sites. Sites with financial considerations should certainly investigate higher availability options though.

When 34SP.com identifies a server that is failing to reach our standards we take steps to monitor and correct any potential faults. Given the number of web sites, software installations, and user load though this can take time to diagnose. Indeed many faults need to be watched in real time by an attending engineer to correct in full. Thankfully such server wide, repeating failures are relatively rare. 34SP.com engineers have years of on the job experience, and the most common faults are well known and easily corrected.

Is shared hosting right for your site? This depends on the financial implications of your website being offline for extended periods. For the vast majority of users shared hosting makes perfect practical sense. The costs are low, and generally speaking, uptime is high.

34SP.com offers a range of non shared options for business sites, such as our Business Web Hosting account, VPS Hosting and Dedicated Servers – each one geared for increasingly higher levels of availability and performance. We are always happy to help suggest the most appropriate solution for your website. Simply email us at support@34sp.com for an honest, commitment free assessment and recommendation for your website.

Uptime Table

Uptime Percentile Maximum Downtime Per Year
99.9999% (six nines) 31.5 seconds
99.999% (five nines) 5 minutes 35 seconds
99.99% (four nines) 52 minutes 33 seconds
99.9% (three nines) 8 hours 46 minutes
99.0% (two nines) 87 hours 36 minutes