One of the major problems with standard shared hosting is the unequal allocation of finite resources. Most shared hosting companies run dozens (or more) of shared hosting accounts from a single static server. However powerful that server is, the resources at its disposal have an upper limit. Because many hosting companies oversell their shared hosting accounts, those upper bounds are often only a heavy-traffic day away.
Shared hosting clients have different needs at different times. One day your site may get a spike in visitors, the next day it could be one of your shared hosting neighbors. That’s fine so long as the server doesn’t get overloaded, but if several of the sites hosted on that server need a lot of resources at the same time, or if one or more sites is a frequent “bad neighbor,” using more than their “fair share” of the server’s resources, your site’s performance could be consistently hobbled.
Shared hosting on static servers is the prevailing method used by most hosting companies. Users of their shared hosting accounts have to take their chances. However, there is an alternative. Load-balanced shared hosting ensures that resources are allocated more fairly, and, since resources can be tasked from multiple servers rather than being limited by the available hardware and bandwidth of one server, when there are load spikes, resources can be allocated immediately to those sites that need them most.
Load balancing is a process by which a “master server”, the load balancer, distributes workloads across a number of other servers, balancing the load across the cluster so that no one server becomes overloaded. Load-balanced networks can respond much more efficiently to changes in load requirements, which leads to higher availability and performance for all sites hosted within the cluster.
The major benefit of load-balanced shared hosting is that resources like memory are no longer finitely limited to the available hardware of one server, but there are numerous secondary benefits. Load balancers are capable of routing requests to any of the servers they manage, which means that in the event of one server suffering a hardware failure or other outage, it can be routed around: tasks can be sent to other servers in the cluster. There is no single point of failure in a load-balanced network, so availability levels for sites are much improved. With static shared hosting servers, if that server goes down, so does the site. Load balancing helps prevent outages from bringing sites down.
The protections inherent in clustered hosting on a load balanced network are normally only available with significantly more expensive hosting options, but, if you need peace of mind and the assurance that your site’s performance and availability are protected, load-balanced shared hosting is the best low-cost option.