If you are considering hosting options you will likely have run across dedicated hosting solutions. Many web hosts offer both shared and dedicated services and it may be confusing as to which one is best suited to your specific needs. Should you go with the more popular shared solution or do you have a “you get what you pay for” mentality and think because it costs more dedicated must be better?
The fact is that both dedicated and shared hosting have their place and both are great options but your needs and your budget are what will ultimately determine the path that is best for your site.
What is Dedicated Hosting?
With shared hosting you share server resources with other accounts. Dedicated services allow you to host your site and only your site on one server. Typically the web host maintains the server hardware and leases the space to the client. Certain software may be included in this package. The client can install applications as needed and can have as much traffic to the web site as the server itself can handle without worrying that it will bog down other websites on the same server.
Because security is not a raised concern in a dedicated environment than a shared, the client also has more freedom, access, and control.
Dedicated Hosting Benefits
Dedicated hosting may be overkill if you have a personal site or a site that generates low traffic. However, some people prefer to have the autonomy afforded to dedicated hosting and are willing to pay the price for it. Others are simply not suited to a dedicated hosting environment because of the size of their site, its popularity or because of the applications they want to run.
Some advantages of choosing dedicated hosting include:
Flexibility – You can choose to use your server for as many of your needs as you wish as long as it remains within your allotted bandwidth, memory and hard drive space.
Control – Because you are not sharing the server with other sites you have a greatly increased amount of control over the server than you do with shared hosting. For example, you may have root access that is not allowed with shared services.
Features – Each web host has different features that come included with the hosting package. Some may have a minimum amount of add on services and rely on you to supply your own and others provide you some additional features such as scripts, spam monitoring, control panel and e-commerce solutions.
Stability – Because you are not sharing resources you don’t have to worry about others’ practices affecting your site. In the same vein, though, you do not have to worry about outgrowing a shared solution. You will likely be able to stay with your particular dedicated solution for a long time without moving. You can add to your site with the comfort of knowing your server can handle the growth.
If I can Have All This, Why Would I Ever Choose Shared Hosting?
It is true that dedicated hosting affords you a lot of benefits. However, it does not come for free. Dedicated hosting is significantly more expensive than shared hosting. It is likely that you do not need as many benefits as you receive with dedicated hosting, therefore, in order to save money some sacrifices are made.
Additionally, in order to take advantage of dedicated you must possess knowledge that many people who are not in IT have. Without that skill level you cannot properly use the resources allotted to you without hiring someone to set up your server and install your site. This can take an expensive solution and make it even more so.
Dedicated hosting can be a benefit to web site owners that have extremely popular sites or sited that require scripts that are not allowed in a shared hosting environment. There are a lot of benefits to using dedicated hosting including the control you have over the server and the ability to run a much more popular site. But, in order to do so you have to have the know-how and the budget to make it work.
In order to combat the knowledge aspect of dedicated hosting some hosts offer managed services for an additional fee. This can often be purchased as part of a package and includes a certain number of services. Or it can be purchased a la carte for every time you need a technician to assist you with some function.
Dedicated hosting will allow you to do virtually anything you wish and to grow but it comes at a price. If you have the need for the services, this is the ideal solution for you. However, if you can accommodate your hosting needs in a shared environment, there is no reason to pay for features and services you do not need. Determine what your particular needs, skill level and budget are and then choose the hosting plan that best suits your site.
Want to learn more? Check out all of our great web hosting guides!