Having the right website hosting service can make the day-to-day processes of your business simple, fast, and smooth. Two of the most popular hosting options are dedicated hosting and shared hosting.
Both dedicated hosting and shared hosting have their advantages and disadvantages. With this being the case, a question many businesses ask is whether dedicated hosting or shared hosting is the better choice for their unique needs.
After all, no two businesses are alike. That’s why in this article, we’ll break down the differences between dedicated hosting vs. shared hosting, and which one is the best option based on your business type.
What is Shared Hosting?
Shared hosting is when your website shares a physical server with several other websites. Think of it as sitting on a packed bus and having to share space with other passengers. When riding a bus, everyone is getting to the same destination. The bus is the resources of the server, and the destination is online.
Like the crowded bus, the resources of the server (e.g. RAM, bandwidth, storage) are divided among the amount of users on that server. Hundreds or even thousands of websites may share a single server, which has both pros and cons.
What Are the Pros of Shared Hosting?
When considering dedicated hosting vs. shared hosting, here are two important advantages of shared hosting:
- Low cost: Sharing a server with other customers helps to divide the maintenance cost of running the server, and you’ll end up paying less out of pocket. With shared hosting, you also only pay for what you need. It’s easy to upgrade or downgrade your plan as your needs change.
- Easy functionality: Shared hosting is so appealing for beginners because it requires no technical or pre-existing website management skills. Most shared hosting programs come with intuitive drag-and-drop control panels that facilitate website management. Server maintenance, like installing updates and patches, is also fully handled by the hosting provider.
What Are the Cons of Shared Hosting?
When considering dedicated hosting vs. shared hosting, here are two important disadvantages of shared hosting:
- Sharing server resources: Sharing server resources with others is a major drawback for some businesses. Reduced amounts of processing power, memory, storage, etc… puts limits on your website. These limitations can reduce overall website performance and/or cause your website to crash completely.
- Security risks: Simply by association with a “bad neighbor” (i.e. another site on the same server), your website can be harmed. You are more likely to experience DDoS attacks, spam, and your shared IP address may even become blacklisted. Working with a web hosting provider with preventative policies may reduce security risks, but the chance is always there.
Who Should Utilize Shared Hosting?
Shared hosting is ideal for website owners that are looking for cost-effective and beginner-friendly hosting. If a website owner anticipates low levels of traffic when starting out, sharing a server with others may be a good idea. Personal projects and small businesses likely won’t suffer from sharing resources as long as incoming traffic is low enough.
A website owner may decide to initially start with shared hosting, and then switch to other plans as their hosting needs grow and become more complex.
What is Dedicated Hosting?
If shared hosting is a public bus, think of dedicated hosting as renting a car. Dedicated hosting is when your website is hosted on a server that’s dedicated just to your business. Your website will have exclusive rights to the server, and all the resources that come attached with the server. A hosting provider will rent a server to you, and you are free to use that server for whatever needs you have.
What Are the Pros of Dedicated Hosting?
When considering dedicated server hosting vs. shared hosting, here are two important advantages of dedicated sharing:
- Complete resource ownership: All of the server’s resources are dedicated to your website. With high levels of memory, bandwidth, storage, and processing power, website traffic and/or fancy widgets are much less likely to be an issue. Your business can enjoy a quality website without sacrificing load times or functionality.
- Total reign over customization: Extensive customization potential comes from the fact that your website won’t have any “neighbors” in dedicated hosting. With root access to your dedicated server, you can add and edit the infrastructure of your server as you see fit. Want better security? Want a special plugin? These requests are significantly easier to implement with dedicated hosting.
What are the Cons of Dedicated Hosting?
When considering dedicated hosting vs. shared hosting, here are two important disadvantages of dedicated hosting:
- Higher costs: Renting out your own server (and the resources that come with it) will likely cost significantly more than shared hosting. While a website that garners enough traffic to require dedicated hosting is usually profitable enough to cover the costs, for smaller companies and/or startups the investment can be difficult to justify.
- Technical knowledge is necessary: Dedicated hosting is more hands-on compared to shared hosting. You’re responsible for handling the server’s updates and patches. If customizing the server peaks your interest, you’ll need technical knowledge to do so. You may choose to hire a server admin or purchase a plan that comes with dedicated hosting management, but these options create additional costs.
Who Should Utilize Dedicated Hosting?
Dedicated hosting is suitable for businesses that need high bandwidth capacities (and other resources) to match substantial website traffic. Aside from companies that drive a lot of traffic, large companies, businesses that work with sensitive data or those that require special features may want to consider dedicated hosting as well since they are often more secure than shared hosting options. The more tech-savvy a business owner (and their team) is, the more they will benefit from using dedicated hosting for their website.