Difference Between Shared and Dedicated Servers

Need a web hosting solution for your website? Learn tips for choosing the best dedicated server for your business and find out how it differs from shared web hosting.

If you have more or less developed business, sooner or later you will need to decide which type of hosting to use: dedicated and shared. The process of selection can be very confusing, if you pinball between your current and future needs. Almost every hosting provider claims they offer “unlimited everything”, but in reality it’s not always so, and it’s important to understand the difference between hosting solutions and plans.

Let’s discuss every aspect of dedicated and shared web hosting plans so that it was easier for you to make the right choice. We will describe every feature of dedicated and shared servers.

Bandwidth & Disk Space

In hosting sphere, “bandwidth” means the traffic consumed by services such as dedicated server over a month. To help clients figure out their bandwidth needs, most providers calculate the amount of data a company transfers in and out of network per month for a certain server.

Shared Hosting

As we’ve mentioned, most web hosting providers will claim they have shared plans with “unlimited” bandwidth and disk space. But, in fact, it’s not true, because any plan has some limits. As a rule, it works the following way: you use an unspecified amount of bandwidth at first, then can add more. It’s the host that decides how much you can use every time. Ask your provider amount the limits and make your decision according to the amount of traffic you receive.

Dedicated Hosting

If your website gets a lot of traffic, you should opt for dedicated hosting. Some web hosts can provide truly “unlimited” disk space and bandwidth.

Performance

The choice of data center matters, because a good hosting spot will ensure proper cooling and efficiency of operations.

Shared Hosting

The quality of user experience directly depends on performance of your website. Since shared hosting plan has limited resources, you cannot be 100% sure in excellent website performance. What if another user of a shared server will suddenly decide to run a SEO campaign and start receiving a lot of traffic? Then your shared server will utilize more of its resources to support traffic of another user, which in its turn will affect performance of your website.

As the result, your pages will load much slower, which is very annoying for users. At the same time, if it’s you who suddenly gets more traffic and consumes a lot of resources, your provider can penalize you for that.

Dedicated Hosting

Those who order dedicated servers don’t have to worry about traffic of other users. The server entirely belongs to your website, and you can consume as much resources as you need without being afraid of downtime. If you want to give a treat to your visitors, a dedicated server would be ideal.

Security

Shared Hosting

The way shared servers work makes them inferior in quality to dedicated hosting server plans. Why? Because your website is on the same server with many other projects. Just think of it: even one single erroneous script on the server can break it down! If some user applies tricky methods to attract traffic, his IP address can be blacklisted (which will affect all websites with the same IP, including yours). That’s quite unfair, isn’t it? You never know which kinds of websites are hosted on the same server, which makes your site vulnerable.

Dedicated Hosting

Having your website running on a dedicated web server means higher reliability and security. As a rule, dedicated servers can work with all types of software and scripts. If you order a managed dedicated server, technical staff will monitor it to make sure everything’s running flawlessly. This is one of the reasons why dedicated servers are more costly, but this feature is truly worth spending on.

Control

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting can be more suitable for website developers who don’t have enough knowledge to control and manage servers. From one point of view, it’s convenient when all server issues are solved for you. From another – lack of control comes with some certain disadvantages. There are many different limits: the type of scripting language and file types you use, software you may install, etc. However, if you’re not going to use advances versions of applications and features on your website, shared hosting can be a perfect budget-friendly solution.

Dedicated Hosting

If you need a complete control over server resources, opt for dedicated hosting. But keep in mind that full control means you should possess enough technical knowledge and experience to be able to handle such account. With a dedicated server, you can run almost any kind of software and script languages, e.g. you can customize your server environment according to your needs. Besides, root access to a dedicated server is also available.

If you realize you can’t manage such server on your own, it’s better to order “managed dedicated hosting”. In this case, technical staff will manage server for additional fee.

Cost

Shared Hosting

One of the main reasons why small businesses select shared web hosting is low cost. There are many very cheap offers, but, as a rule, these are low performance solutions with zero reliability. Selection of shared server provider should be accurate.

Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated server has a wide range of benefits, but they come at a very high cost. As a rule, some minor technical problems can be resolved for free, but if you have some major problems, be ready to pay to your web host on an hourly basis. Dedicated web hosting is more suitable for premium users and large-scale online businesses and organizations.

The choice of hosting type depends on your budget, website needs and the amount of control you need. When making a decision, perform your own research and seed out providers and offers according to your special requirements. A smart decision will determine your online success.