Dedicated Hosting vs. Shared Hosting: Understanding 9 Key Differences
Are you getting ready to launch a new website?
Whether you’re building your first website or revamping your existing site, it’s an exciting time.
Your website is the place where you drive all your traffic so potential customers can read about your company. More importantly, a place where consumers can purchase your products and services. It’s the core of your online presence.
It doesn’t matter how visitors find you. Whether on Google, a landing page offer or on social media, your website is the destination that converts leads to paying customers.
One of the most important decisions you’ll make with your website after you choose your domain is selecting a web hosting package. Your host will manage and store all your data.
You have two hosting options: dedicated hosting or shared hosting.
So which one do you choose? Well, that depends on the needs of your business.
In this post, you’ll learn the differences between shared hosting and dedicated hosting. Once you know the differences, you’ll be able to decide which hosting plan is right for your business.
So read on. Here’s everything you need to know about hosting to make an informed decision.
1. What is Shared Hosting?
In a shared hosting plan, a single physical server hosts numerous sites. The customers use all the resources on one server.
This keeps costs down. Each user receives a part of a server. Here, they host all the files associated with their website.
Shared Hosts Hundreds of Users
Hundreds of users may be hosted on one shared server. Each client on the shared hosting platform’s server has access to the server’s features.
This may include databases, disk space, email accounts, FTP accounts, monthly traffic, plugins and other add-ons the web host provides.
The clients who use the server share the system’s resources. Each customer gets a portion of the CPU and RAM as well as the single Apache server, MySQL server and a mail server for incoming and outgoing mail.
Shared hosting provides one of the best ways to get your site online at a cost-effective price.
Everyone Splits the Server Cost
The cost to run the server is split among all the customers. This hosting style is popular for smaller websites and blogs that don’t require a large bandwidth or complex configurations.
One thing that’s important to know: shared hosting isn’t effective for sites with high volume or high traffic. If you have this kind of site a dedicated hosting option or a VPS would suit your needs better.
What’s The Best Hosting for Start-Ups?
Now you know a little bit more about how shared hosting servers work. Even though you share a server’s resources with other users, you can still tap into many of its resources.
Established web hosting companies maintain policies that divvy up the resources so all users have a fair amount of access to the server’s tools and resources.
Shared hosting makes it easy and affordable to obtain the tools businesses need. It’s great for smaller businesses such as startups, personal websites, blogs, or local business websites that aren’t that large in scale.
Shared Hosting as a Starting Point
Many small businesses begin with shared hosting to get acclimated to the world wide web. What makes it popular is the low cost. The low price is possible because of its many people share resources.
Most shared hosting packages come equipped with easy-to-use features such as a user-friendly control panel.
Here, users can create an email account, add databases for services, and upload website files, including images, videos, and much more.
While some mega businesses view shared hosting as entry-level, for many businesses it suits their new or growing business’s needs.
2. What Is Dedicated Hosting?
Next, we have dedicated hosting. Dedicated hosting offer users with dedicated resources on a dedicated server used by a single client.
If you have a WordPress site with a high volume of visitors, a dedicated hosting plan would be ideal to accommodate a large number of web visitors.
Several WordPress hosting service providers offer dedicated hosting packages as well as VPS and shared hosting plans.
When you have a dedicated server hosting plan, your website will be the only site hosted on that server. In contrast, with a shared hosting plan, the allotted disk space and bandwidth is limited.
Because everyone has to share resources. With shared servers, users that surpass the designated amount of space or bandwidth will be charged an extra fee.
When it comes to VPS hosting, the users share a machine but don’t share the resources with other users on the same server. But with dedicated hosting plans, a user leases the entire server which includes all of its resources.
The price a user pays depends on the selection of hardware and resources allocated.
Servers for Larger Organizations
Dedicated hosting plans are ideal for large organizations or websites that have a heavy flow of traffic.
With dedicated hosting, companies maintain complete control of the dedicated server. This means you can access and configure your server to meet the requirements of your business.
Dedicated hosting plans come with two options: managed and unmanaged plans. With a managed option, your hosting provider manages the server for you. But you also pay more.
Dedicated managed servers are priced higher. The hosting provider determines the price based on the number of resources you need such as bandwidth, storage space, and RAM as well as other features you may require.
Hosting Software Packages
Dedicated servers come with additional options, including software packages that are required to run the server. Some examples may include Windows licensing, cPanel, and other paid software options you need.
Sometimes you can find free alternatives to paid software packages. But, they aren’t recommended because stability software issues can arise.
One exception you can find is the use of Linux instead of Microsoft as well as other paid OS run on dedicated servers.
3. Shared vs. Dedicated Price Differences
As we touched upon, when it comes to price, shared hosting costs less. This is due to the server’s resources being shared among several users.
Operating costs are divvied up among all the users. For this reason, shared hosting is more affordable.
A shared hosting package becomes ideal for smaller organizations or startups without much traffic beginning to establish an online web presence.
Since a dedicated server is dedicated solely to one user, it costs more. Dedicated servers have their benefits, though.
With a dedicated server, your business maintains more operational flexibility. This helps with traffic spikes.
Another benefit is that you can install specialized software and customize your server to meet your company’s needs.
Quite the opposite shared hosting packages limit the amount of disk space and bandwidth you are allotted because there needs to be enough available for other businesses who share the server with you.
A caveat: on a shared server, if you exceed your allotted amount of bandwidth or disk space, you will be penalized and charged extra similar to how it works with a utility.
But know this.
Even when you buy resources, some hosting providers will tack on extra rules and penalize you for having an abundance of videos and music files even when you haven’t reached your bandwidth limit.
So be sure to ask your hosting provider how this works if you’re planning on uploading a lot of media files.
With a dedicated hosting plan, you don’t have to worry about this. Because the disk space and bandwidth entirely dedicated to your company and your server.
Since you don’t have to share resources, there are no limits to the amount of disk space and bandwidth your organization can use.
4. Technical Skill Needed
When you have a shared hosting plan, your business doesn’t need a technical team to manage the server. The hosting provider will take care of maintenance, security issues, and the administration of the shared server.
This takes a lot of responsibility and technical know-how off your back since you don’t need to know how to operate the server. But, on the other hand, there’s a trade-off because your company is limited to what it can do on the server.
When you have a dedicated server, you will need a team with webmaster skills to do the setup, install, management, and administration of your server.
Fully Managed Dedicated Hosting Plans
If this is too much for your organization to handle, you can pay an additional fee to have the hosting provider manage your server for you.
This way you’ll keep the space, power, and advantages that come with a dedicated server. However, you’ll pay a higher price.
But paying for a fully managed dedicated hosting plan works better for many businesses who don’t want the financial burden of staffing an entire IT department.
5. Overall Security
When you purchase a shared hosting plan, the hosting provider will install server security applications, programs, and firewalls for you.
The company hires security experts to provide a stable and safe operating environment for the companies that share each server. But, if you have a dedicated server, it is your responsibility to secure your data on its server.
You’ll need to configure your software to find and mitigate threats to your data. The good news: on a dedicated server, your IT team controls the security programs installed on the server.
The benefit of being the only organization on a dedicated server is this: there will be fewer opportunities for hackers to install malware, spyware, and viruses on your server.
With a shared server, threats can occur more easily if another company sharing your server misconfigured their security leaving it vulnerable to security issues.
So if you’re thinking shared servers present a higher risk of being targeted by hackers, you’re right!
6. Response Time & Performance
With a shared hosting plan, it’s easier to drain the server’s bandwidth with unpredictable web traffic spurts.
When this happens, you’ll experience slower loading intervals and response times which can annoy customers and slow things down at the office.
With shared hosting, if your neighbor gets a ton of traffic, it can jam up your website.
If you have a dedicated server, this is highly unlikely because you’re not sharing resources, disk space or bandwidth.
However, with WordPress shared hosting, there are ways to speed up your optimization.
7. Differences In Control
As we briefly mentioned earlier, shared hosting means you have less control. Your hosting provider makes decisions for you.
Most hosting providers try to keep things running smoothly without any mishaps. The problem? You won’t hold the reigns in your hands when it comes to how your server is used.
In contrast, a dedicated server provides many customized settings and privileges. You’ll be the master of your domain and have total control.
This means you can add applications, scripts, and preferential programs to meet the requirements of your organization.
8. Website & IP Blacklisting
With shared servers, there’s a great risk of getting blacklisted from Google and other search engines. That is if someone on your server is engaging in illegal or questionable activities such as spamming.
Naughty neighbors on a shared server can ruin it for the good guys. If you get your IP address blacklisted, it could make your website looks like it doesn’t exist in search.
When you have a dedicated server the only way you’re likely to get blacklisted is if someone in your company is engaging in illegal or unethical online practices.
9. What’s Better? Dedicated Hosting or Shared?
When choosing between dedicated hosting and shared hosting, it comes down to understanding the needs of your company. You’ll have to assess your operation’s budget and understand how much control you need to maintain.
There are pros and cons to both hosting options: dedicated or shared, the decision depends on your company’s needs, requirements, and priorities.
If you’re still undecided you can always speak to a web professional to help you weigh your options.
Understanding Key Differences Between Dedicated Hosting Vs. Shared Hosting
Now you know the key differences between dedicated hosting and shared hosting. Typically larger enterprise organizations and high traffic sites use dedicated servers.
Smaller businesses and startups usually start with a shared hosting plan. But ultimately, the choice is yours.
WP Farm provides hosting for all sized businesses: small business, growing, and enterprise companies. Check out our hosting options and start building your online presence today!