Whats the difference between shared hosting and a dedicated server?
Before we set out on trying to find the best value web hosting, our first big task is often deciding exactly which type of hosting package we need.
Shared hosting is by far the most popular form of hosting package available right now, mainly because providers are able to offer it up so cheaply, but also because it’s pretty easy to set up. Some of the best web hosting is often the cheapest so never think that cheaper isn’t as good, it just depends on your requirements.
Does that mean it always wins over dedicated hosting? Not at all. Let’s compare the two to discover which one’s right for you.
Shared vs. Dedicated hosting – What’s the difference?
Let’s think of it in the same terms as trying to find a physical location your new business.
If you’ve got a large business with lots of staff and need room for plenty of onsite activity, you’ll probably be considering a dedicated premises that’s just for you.
Here, you can do things exactly the way you want to, without having to worry about disrupting -or being disrupted by- any other companies in the same building.
It’ll cost more, sure, but when you weigh everything up, it certainly seems like the better option.
If you’re a smaller business, perhaps with just a few staff members who can effectively serve your customers without requiring a whole building to yourself, you might well look at renting space in a shared office or retail complex.
You don’t get all the additional benefits that come with having a location just for you, but nor do you really need them, and you can get much cheaper rates by sharing a building with other businesses.
Hosting works the same way. Take out dedicated hosting, and you get a server that is just for your website. Your site is not affected by any other website, nor does yours affect theirs. You can enjoy as much space and generate as much traffic as you like, but it will cost you a little more.
Go with a shared hosting option, and you’re essentially sharing a website with lots of other businesses, albeit in an environment where -just as in your real-world office complex- there’ll be a certain part of that space sectioned off just for your business.
This does mean that your site can be affected by the activities of others on your server, but is by far the cheapest web hosting solution available.
Does shared hosting really have so many drawbacks?
Not really. It would be probably be more appropriate to say that shared hosting comes with a greater potential for things to go wrong than dedicated hosting, but let’s not forget that hosting companies really want you onboard. If they’re going to get you to pay them to host your website, they’re going to go all out to ensure any problems are kept to an absolute minimum. To do this, their teams work hard to ensure as much uptime as possible and that your visitors can access your website at all times.
Which solution is right for me?
If you’re new to starting a website or aren’t expected huge swarms of traffic, then shared hosting provides great value for money and should be more than sufficient for your needs.
If you’re planning a massive site with lots of heavy files and lots of traffic on a regular basis, it pays to at least consider dedicated hosting, where you won’t need to worry about bandwidth caps, or about other sites on your server suddenly getting lots of traffic, meaning all the server’s resources are going into supporting the other site and not yours.
To get the best solution for you, really think about what you want from your new site, then shop around, compare the top cheap hosting providers on the market, and choose a package that will do everything you need at a budget you can afford.