Learning to Share—or not: Shared vs Dedicated Server Hosting

Shared vs Dedicated Server Hosting
Hosting services can be confusing. There are myriad options when it comes to hosting features, which can make it difficult for the uninitiated to make a confident decision. If you feel confused and alone, stumbling along the dimly lit path of server hosting, then allow me to walk beside you, illuminating the landscape of servers spread out before you.

There are two main types of hosting services offered:

1. Shared
2. Dedicated

Similarities between Shared and Dedicated Server Hosting

Let’s get the commonalities out of the way, so you know what you’ll be receiving regardless of your decision. Both service options feature off-site hosting, meaning that your data will reside on a computer in your provider’s data center.

While this reduces your control of the physical server, it provides many benefits. Large hosts already have the infrastructure in place to deal with Internet traffic, plus they are able to negotiate better data transfer rates than you could on your own.

Additionally, the cost of hardware purchases is shared between you and your fellow clients, further reducing your expenses versus self-hosting. You may also have the ability to choose to have your site hosted in a location far from you, which can be beneficial if the bulk of your users are centered in a remote location.

Shared vs Dedicated Server Hosting

The main difference between shared and dedicated servers for most prospective clients is cost.

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting, also referred to as virtual hosting, costs far less than dedicated, or managed, hosting.

Because multiple clients share the same hardware, the cost of server maintenance is shared as well. Shared hosting, by necessity, includes system administration, which frees you from administering the server. While this is a plus for users who would rather not deal with managing, it can make it software development difficult.

You’re essentially giving up control of the server in exchange for reduced administration. Sharing the same hardware can lead to difficulties if you want to use security technologies like SSL, which is used by banks and online retailers to secure users’ sensitive information. If you require SSL, you’ll want to discuss your options with your hosting provider.

Dedicated Servers

Dedicated servers, on the other hand, eliminate many of the disadvantages of shared servers, though they have drawbacks of their own. Because you’re basically renting an entire server, you’ll have to pay a higher premium and, depending on the amount of control you desire, you could end up paying more on top of the basic hosting.

Dedicated hosts often give several levels of management ranging from completely client hands-off to solely client-based support. The more work the host does for you, the more you’re going to pay. If you desire more control over your server, on the other hand, you’ll have to take the time to configure and update it yourself or pay someone to do it for you.

Now that I have shone a spotlight on the dark, treacherous world of server hosting solutions, it’s time for you to choose your path. Honestly, either hosting solution could work for most clients, but in the end it boils down to a trade-off between cost and control.

The Bottom Line

Small businesses who just want a basic web presence, without the need for a robust web development environment, can find a good mix of ease of use and low cost with shared hosting. Companies with a large budget who perform extensive web development would be best served with a dedicated server hosting solution.

Now that you know the difference between shared vs dedicated hosting, with so many options available, there’s surely a service out there that will fit your needs perfectly.

This guest post is contributed by Jesse Langely from Rackspace. If you wish to write for techchai, you can get in touch using the write for us form above.

Jesse Langley
Jesse Langley lives in Austin where he works and enjoys the live music capital of world. He enjoys sports, social media and blogging. He writes on behalf of Colorado Technical University.
If you wish to write for techchai, you can get in touch using the write for us form above.

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One Response to “Learning to Share—or not: Shared vs Dedicated Server Hosting”

  1. Irma says:

    Hi there,

    Great article. Keep it up!


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