The Differences Between Shared Hosting and Dedicated Hosting

Whether you are in the initial stages of starting a website or are upgrading an existing one, you will need to choose between committing to a shared hosting and dedicated hosting plan.

While each has benefits and drawbacks, ultimately, it’s the extent of use that you anticipate, your budget, and other key issues that will help you come to a decision. However, before you can decide on how your site will be hosted, you first need to perform a self-audit of your needs. To help you do just this, let’s compare the two options to help you make the best choice for your site.

Dedicated hosting provides you with a server that is completely yours, from the capacity to resources. Though it can be more expensive, the major benefit of a dedicated hosting plan is the level of control it allows you. You have complete control over configuration, software and security and your own unique IP address.

Whereas a shared hosting is a shared server with multiple people depending upon the capacity of the server. Th Ip can be same for multiple users although you get to control panel with all required things like software and security.

Server Configuration and Management

When you use dedicated hosting for your website, you are renting the server itself. You won’t share bandwidth or space with other sites. This is especially good if your website is large, you have a lot of user traffic, or you are running complicated scripts. You can adjust the bandwidth and scale your resources as needed and with immediate application. Storage requirements can also be increased as the demands of your site increase. Finally, with dedicated hosting, you’re also able to access the server root and change it to meet the needs of the applications you are running. Many businesses prefer to pay extra for a dedicated server in order to have these needs met quickly and to have extra space, bandwidth, and flexibility to adapt to changing business needs.

In addition to the hardware itself, a dedicated server also allows you complete control over the software that you run. You will be responsible for the upgrade and maintenance of the software, however, and need to install any necessary patches yourself. However, if you have a competent IT professional on staff, this shouldn’t be difficult. They will be responsible for installing new apps, and if there are support issues between the apps and the software, they will be able to troubleshoot them. You will also be able to choose to what degree you want your server managed by the provider: managed, semi-managed, or self-managed service. There is a cost differential, and each allows different levels of access and control over the maintenance and security of your site.

In comparison, shared hosting gives you much less control over the server and software. Because you are sharing the server with a variety of other sites, the software isn’t as customised because it needs to fit the greatest majority of apps and user requirements. This works well if your site isn’t overly complicated, or if you’re just starting out and don’t need a lot of extra space for scale. Your bandwidth is limited, and depending on the server and provider, may be affected by other users. To compensate for this, shared server providers often offer an “uptime guarantee” in order to protect you from bandwidth encroachment from the other users.

With shared hosting, although you won’t be able to customise and adjust your needs on the fly, you also won’t be expected to. For small businesses, or for those without in-house tech workers, this removes much of the hassle of web design and maintenance. With a reputable company, you may also have the option to increase your bandwidth and scale your site according to increased traffic. It’s worth bearing in mind that this may not be immediate and can come at an extra cost.

Your shared host will come with a control panel for your site’s folders and files, as well as space for the more common website design apps, such as WordPress. For the control panel, you can manage the basic needs of your website like contact and client databases, email, server logs, and limited server analytics. You may also have other access points on your control panel, depending on your host and your website needs.

Scalability

Scalability is an important aspect to consider when choosing a hosting option, with the term referring to the capacity to keep a website running and behaving the same as the number of users increases. If your app or server has poor scalability, then you’ll hit a wall when you reach a certain number of simultaneous users, and no one will have a good experience on your site. Too many users and your site could be rendered useless, which may result in lost business or clients. Growing websites demand scalability for software platforms, bandwidth, storage, database load, and processing speed. If you anticipate a dramatic uptick in your business, you may want to consider dedicated hosting to ensure that you can handle the load as it comes.

Some servers offer automatic scaling, which will adjust all of these as your website and business needs change. If your site needs are relatively stable, and you aren’t forecasting unexpected heavy usage, then shared servers should work for you. Ideally, the extra investment made for a dedicated server will pay for itself with the increased incoming business. You can also check a post for choosing the best web hosting for your website.

Security

A dedicated server is the most responsible choice if your website will deal with especially sensitive or proprietary information. The server-level security features include DDoS protection, as well as IP address blocking. In addition to the built-in protection, you don’t have to worry about the security of your “neighbor’s” site as you might on a shared server. There is also a redundant array of independent disks (RAID) storage available on dedicated servers, which ensures that your data has multiple backups, and can be accessed or recovered from multiple locations.

Nevertheless, many websites perform perfectly fine on shared servers despite the lower level of security. Though you are renting a small space on the server, you are still responsible for your own security. It might help to think about it like renting an apartment – the building may have a doorman or keyed entry, but you’ll still need to lock your own doors. Here, the price shouldn’t be an issue – choose a reputable, safe provider, and you should have minimal issues.

When choosing a shared hosting and dedicated hosting plan, there are a number of factors to consider such as security, access, budget, and scalability. While shared hosting is typically suitable for smaller sites, dedicated hosting is more useful for bigger or growing websites in need of flexibility. Each plan will suit different needs, though it’s up to you to determine which best meets these.

Sam Martin

Sam Martin

Sam Martin works in Marketing at Hosting.co.uk, the leaders of UK hosting. Dedicated to finding new ways of simplifying the customer journey for his clients, Sam is a technology lover and proud dog owner.

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