If you have a medium sized business, choosing between a shared and dedicated web hosting plan can be a big challenge. Things can become confusing because you will have to decide between your current and future need. In an age where every web hosting provider claims “unlimited everything”, it can become even more perplexing to make the right choice.
In this guide, we will touch upon each aspect of shared and dedicated web hosting plans so that it will become easier for you to make the right decision. We will distinguish between the two types of hosting plans according to their features.
Bandwidth & Disk Space
In the hosting industry the word “bandwidth”means the traffic used by services such as cloud hosting and dedicated server over the course of a month. To calculate a client’s bandwidth needs, most providers estimate the amount of data that a company moves in and out of the network per month for a specific server.
As already mentioned in the beginning, most web hosting companies will advertise their shared plans with “unlimited” bandwidth and disk space. But the fact is that this web hosting plan will always have a limit. In other words, you can’t use the “unlimited” space in one go. You can use an unspecified amount at first, and then add more. But only web host gets to decide how much you can use each time. Ask your host about the “soft limit” and make your decision based on the volume of traffic you are receiving.
If you have a website that receives massive volume of traffic, dedicated hosting is the right choice. Some web hosts can provide you actual “unlimited” bandwidth and disk space.
The better the performance of your website, the better will be your visitors’ user experience. Because a shared hosting plan will always have limited resources, you could never be certain about your site’s performance. Imagine a situation where you website receives average traffic. Another user on the shared server runs a SEO campaign and experiences a massive surge in traffic. The shared server will utilize more of its resources to support that user’s traffic, thus affecting your website’s performance.
The result will be that your web pages take longer time to load, thus causing annoyance to your thousands of visitors. If it is your website that has experienced an unprecedented surge in traffic, some shared hosting providers may even penalize you or charge you more for consuming additional bandwidth.
If you have a dedicated web hosting plan, you will never have to worry about another user’s traffic. The server will be entirely dedicated to your site and you could experience any amount of traffic without having to worry about downtime. So if you have a decent amount of traffic and you want to give a great experience to your visitors, dedicating hosting is the ideal choice for you.
The basic “mechanism” of shared hosting makes it less secure than a dedicated hosting plan. It is because your website will be on a server which is shared by many other websites. A single erroneous script running on the server could cause the server to crash. You could never know what kind of other websites are hosted on your shared server.
There is more security and reliability of having your website running on a dedicated server. A typical dedicated hosting allows running almost all types of scripts and software. Besides, the web host will always be monitoring your dedicated server to ensure that your site is running smoothly. It is one of the reasons why you will be paying more to them.
Shared hosting is for those website owners who don’t have the knowledge to manage and control everything. But this lack of sufficient control comes with its own drawbacks. There are limitations on the kind of scripting language and types of files that can be used. But if you don’t want advanced applications and features to run on your site, shared web hosting could be an economical option.
If you want to have total control over the server resources, you should choose dedicated hosting. On the other hand, if you need more resources for a large website, you will be choosing dedicated web hosting. But you should have some technical knowledge and experience to manage such an account. It allows you to run almost any type of software and supports various types of scripting languages. In other words, you could customize the environment based on your specific needs. In special cases, the webmaster may also get the root access code to their dedicated server.
Managing a dedicated hosting plan will require advanced knowledge. If you can’t do it yourself, you will have to maintain a team that can or you can choose “managed dedicated” hosting. In this case the web host will manage your dedicated hosting plan for an additional fee.
Affordability is one of the biggest reasons why so many professionals and small businesses choose shared web hosting plans. Many web hosts offer “dirt cheap” prices for shared hosting plans, but they will typically come at a cost – poor performance. Still, many web hosts will be able to offer you reliable shared hosting plans at reasonable prices.
There are all sorts of advantages of using dedicated web hosting. But it comes at a very high cost. Usually, minor technical issues are resolved for free, but if the server has any major problems, you may be required to pay the web host on an hourly basis. In simple terms, dedicated web hosting is for premium users, who have a large website backed by a large organization.
The hosting type that you choose will depend solely on your needs, budget, server and website needs, and the amount control that you desire. So, to make a wise decision, do more researches, consult those highly technical savvy people. Remember that a good and smart decision will determine your online success.
Don’t forget to tell us in the comments what decision you’ve made and why! Cheers!
An independent Internet professional currently living in LA, California. Helping people and businesses prosper online since 2006. Follow me on Twitter and Google+.