In this article we will compare shared and dedicated hosting.
When selecting which hosting package is best, we suggest choosing the option which suits your current website needs. Packages are easily upgradable as you require more advanced features.
Let’s jump in and look at the key differences between dedicated and shared hosting.
Severs or hosts are hardware which stores all the data and files relating to your website. When a user searches your Address or domain name, the server pulls up all the files and data related and viola, your website is visible.
Shared hosting can be described as the sharing of server space between multiple users. The resources remain unchanged and is divided by everyone using that server.
This type of hosting is thus best suited to websites with low traffic and content so that no one site affects its neighbour.
Dedicated hosting can be described as the dedicated resources of a server use by only one client.
A server as described in the paragraph above, stores all your websites files and data, but unlike shared hosting, all the resources of that server belong to you.
Because those who opt for dedicated hosting are not affected by their neighbours, it makes for a safer, more efficient and scalable alternative to managing the growth of a website.
The hosting plan that is best for you depends on your needs.
Shared and dedicated hosting packages service very different needs, one focuses on the low end, while the other on the high end when it comes to traffic, content and functionality.
So you may be asking, which is best for me?
Think about your website; how much content, functionality and traffic it will/is getting and then compare it to the hosting that services those things the best.
First let’s zone in on who needs shared hosting.
If you have a site that is still in its infant stages; low content and traffic volumes as well as little need for complex software and functionality, then shared hosting is probably for you.
While your website is still in the growth phase, it is best to keep the costs low and give your site the proper time to gain traction.
If however, your site is already established, then it may be best to consider dedicated hosting.
Dedicated hosting is best for those websites which experience high volumes of traffic and who need specialised support software solutions.
The dedicated server, along with all its resources gives a website the capability to handle traffic volumes into the millions as well as keep up with load times of content heavy websites.
Let’s take a further look at the features associated with dedicated and shared hosting.
Let’s compare dedicated and shared hosting according to their features. There are five features of comparison: Cost, scalability, performance, server resources and security.
Let’s get down to it
What we always suggest is to take the option that suits you best right now, you can always upgrade at a later stage if your needs change.
The price tag on dedicated hosting is significantly higher than shared hosting, over twenty times more, so when you make your decision between the two, price is a factor.
According to our research the average dedicated hosting packages starts from around $79 per month whereas shared hosting packages can start from as little as $2.99 per month
When we talk about scalability, we’re talking about how much bandwidth, transactions, storage and traffic your site is able to handle. With shared hosting, the scalability is at a minimum and with dedicated hosting, it is at a maximum.
Shared hosting provides limited resources and thus very limited scalability.
Hosting companies for the most part allow for unlimited email accounts and data storage, but because you share resources with potentially hundreds of other clients, scalability is extremely limited.
Dedicated hosting on the other hand allows you to adjust the scale that you need quickly and easily. Your downtime is dramatically reduced as the dedicated resources means that your site will not be slowed by sudden spikes of traffic or excessive use of applications.
Performance for shared hosting packages cannot be customized as they are standardized per package.
If your site doesn’t require specialised software, or optimized performance, then your most valued feature will be a 99.9% uptime guarantee. We do advise to check the performance features on offer when deciding on your package.
Dedicated hosting allows you full access to the functions which dictate performance. You will be able to decide how you need your server to operate as you’re the only user.
Everything from the way your hardware is configured, to the distribution of resources is up to you. Most hosting companies will offer automated scalability which allows your site to handle high or low traffic in the most efficient way possible.
Shared hosting’s most usable function is its control panel. Through the control panel, you will be able to manage your email accounts, databases, see server logs as well as create subdomains.
We would like to highlight once again that you are sharing resources with other websites, so the resources available are standardized according to the package.
Dedicated hosting gives you full access to all the resources your server has to offer, as you are renting the actual hardware. You have free rein to customize your resources in whichever way you need.
Maintenance is also according to your discretion, most hosting companies provide semi or fully managed maintenance packages.
Shared hosting packages offer very little security features. Depending on your hosting package, your biggest threats usually lie within your own website, or they are related to the control panel settings. Other issues really only arise due to other websites slowing down shared bandwidth.
Dedicated hosting is the safest option when it comes to security.
Hosting packages often include security features such as DDos protection as well as other advanced features. RAID storage is a common security feature too, which allows you to recover data from multiple locations. RAID storage means your data is as safe as possible.
To wrap up this comparison between shared and dedicated hosting, we would like to end of as we started, by saying that you should subscribe to the hosting package that suits your current website.
If you have a low traffic site, or if you are building your first website, then shared hosting is probably your best option. You have no need for advanced customizable controls, software or security. You probably just need a cost effective host which has good uptime and most shared hosting packages offer just that.
If you have high traffic volumes and you can’t do without high levels of security, performance and advanced software to run your site, then dedicated hosting is most likely for you.
We hope that you found this article useful, and you’re ready to subscribe to the package which is best for your website.
Devon is our resident online business and social media guru. With a background in digital marketing, Devon has worked in a consulting capacity helping small business scale their reach and engagement online. When not consulting or writing about online business, Devon can be found surfing in his hometown, Cape Town, South Africa.