Shared Hosting services offer a small share of physical hardware on a server, for each website or account. This means that every website shares the RAM, CPU Processing Power and the Networking System of the server. Since the resources are shared, there is always a chance of one or more accounts using more than a reasonable or fair share of resources. in order to strike a balance between what is needed and what is provided, hosting companies use different technology to throttle these resources to prevent an overload on the server or prevent a few accounts from hogging all the services. This article explains why web hosts use throttling mechanisms to restrict shared hosting accounts.
A shared hosting server hosts many websites, many of which may have poor security measures in place, in terms of coding and authentication. Hosting Servers are continuously subject to random and specific attacks through the day. Many hosters employ various software and hardware measures to counter such attacks and ensure that all the accounts on their system are safe. One of the ways of doing this is to throttle abusive accounts or accounts which are showing suspiciously high activity, as in all probability they are either infected or have been compromised or are being misused by the account owner deliberately. Throttling resource usage for a website, can help prevent a DoS or a DDoS attack, preventing the account from affecting any other account on the server. When an attacker targets a website, the constant high traffic on the website can cause issues for the other clients on the server. If the resources are throttled, only the targeted website goes down, without affecting the others. As soon as the attack stops, the target website service resumes.
The main concept of a shared hosting server is to allow multiple websites or users to share the resources on a single machine, to reduce costs and to allow small users and businesses to promote themselves almost as effectively as the big players. In order to do so, the hosting providers must restrict resources from being overused beyond a reasonable amount. This means if a website or account uses more than a fair amount of resources, their account should automatically be constrained and be subject to some action which will curtail higher usage. This may cause the website to become slow or throw errors to subsequent visitors. Spikes in visitor traffic, burst in resource usage for a short time can be accommodated in the resource settings. This allows genuine websites to use a decent amount of resources for a short period of time, like for taking backups or for performing some cron jobs or executing shell commands. This allows websites to perform regular maintenance which may require more than the usual amount of resources. Websites using resources for a long period of time can be throttled and their accounts blocked temporarily, till they reduce their usage below the limits.
Tools for throttling physical resources on a server, allow a small web host or a machine with small resources, to compete with larger counterparts in the industry. This means that hosts no longer have to spend thousands of dollars on hardware, to compensate for how badly their client websites have been coded. This not only reduces the workload and support costs of the hoster, it also encourages the webmaster to optimize his website and correct any buggy code that are causing slow downs. Earlier, web hosts used to spend loads of money upgrading their servers so that websites which consumed large resources would not affect the resource usage of smaller websites. Every time the load on the server increased, the web host would upgrade the hardware, making deep holes in their pockets. The underlying issue of bad coding or buggy runaway scripts did not go away, since there were no complaints from the host.