Shared servers can be dangerous.
There’s no getting around it—public servers are a bit of a gamble. You don’t know who else is sharing space on the server, what they’re doing with their space, or how their business might affect yours.
These risks can be mitigated somewhat by finding a web host with a lower than average population. The cost efficiency of shared web hosting is what draws so many people into the fold, but more people usually means means more risk. Hosting on a lower population server comes with a number of advantages:
1. Speeding It Up
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but a less congested server usually means faster transfer speeds and loading times for you.
One of the biggest drawbacks to shared web hosting is the fact that your site is reliant on the performance of other users you share the space with. If your server roommates have heavy traffic volume or demanding CPU cycles, your site’s speed will slow down accordingly.
A low population server doesn’t guarantee a solution to this problem, but it can definitely help.
2. Locking It Down
Hosting on a low population web server means better security for your site. With fewer users on the network, your site has a smaller chance of getting hacked or manipulated by unauthorized users.
Be careful though—don’t expect the isolation of your low population server to protect you. Your data is vulnerable, even if your server has a lower number of active users. Make sure that your web host features an SSL certificate to encrypt your data. This will be necessary if you’re a PCI compliant business, but is essential to your site’s security config either way. Some hosts even offer regular antivirus and malware scans for sites on their servers to help make sure your data is secure and your packets go un-sniffed.
3. Better Support
Lower population on your web hosting server means that you can expect better outreach from tech support and customer service. Not only are there are fewer users competing for your host’s attention when problems pop up, but smaller hosts often prioritize customer service over scaling and gathering more users. This means that the right low population web host should be able to deliver fast and reliable tech support in the event of a server crash or site instability.
4. Less Cross-Fire
Sharing server space with other businesses may be cost efficient, but an unfortunate association is drawn between sites hosted on the same server. What this means is that your site may face some collateral damage when your server’s security measures kick in. For example, an illegitimate site that generates spam may get blocked by the server’s built-in anti-spam software, but this software could potentially block other sites on the server as well (like yours).
Missteps like this can be seriously detrimental to customer outreach and revenue—and is far less likely to occur on servers with fewer users.
5. More Customization
The public nature of shared servers means that they must conform to the needs of the average user. In most cases, this translates to a “jack-of-all-trades, master of none” situation. Businesses who share servers are typically unable to implement custom features or specialty programs that are optimized for their business.
While this lack of personalization is unavoidable when dealing with shared web hosts, smaller and more flexible service providers may be more willing to work with you to include features and perks not found in typical service packages.