Shared Servers vs. Dedicated Servers for Web Hosting

Posted on July 13th, 2012 by admin in Hosting | Comments Off

There are two main types of servers: shared and dedicated.

A dedicated server is in essence “dedicated” to you. You are the only one who has access to use it. In contrast, a shared server is used by multiple entities.

Cost

One of the main benefits of using shared servers is that you are able to choose from a variety of options at a reasonable price. By sharing the server, you also share the cost. Shared server hosting is generally pretty cheap at roughly $5-$10 per month.

In contrast, dedicated servers can be extremely expensive since you incur the cost alone.

Customer Support

Shared servers tend to have very professional customer service teams that maintain the server for the entire group that uses it. Shared servers will generally come equipped with any applications/programs you desire to meet your site building goals. Additionally, the support teams can be extremely helpful if you aren’t exactly a Web guru.

Dedicated servers tend to have less customer support as most server decisions are up to you, not a group of professionals that are managing the server for a number of users. This can be advantageous since you will have 24/7 access to your server whereas a shared server may be down for maintenance at the discretion of customer support. Additionally, many shared server hosting companies will not allow you to load and run your own programs as they can affect the entire group. With a dedicated server, you have much more flexibility in this area since the server is dedicated to you alone. Also, most that go the dedicated route have a higher level of knowledge and do not necessitate as much assistance.

The Downside to Sharing

One negative aspect of shared servers is that any user may accidentally or intentionally do something on the server that affects all the other users in a detrimental way. In the same vein, your site will be much less secure on a server that other users have access to.

When using a dedicated server, you don’t have to worry about others on the server causing problems for you. Moreover, if information security is essential to you, you will certainly want to host your site on a dedicated server.

Overview

Ultimately, shared servers are a good choice for those that want to host a site for the lowest possible price, as well as for those who do not have as much site building knowledge and can benefit from customer support teams.

Dedicated servers are important for those that are building sites wherein security is a factor. They’re also great for those with more site building knowledge who want to be able to access their servers 24/7, as well as use applications that are not often used on shared servers.

Businesses and organizations generally use dedicated services while those building personal sites tend to lean toward the lower cost and ease of using shared servers.

Keep your overall concerns in mind when deciding what type of server to use to host your site. Also, even if you know what type of server is right for you, hosting companies can vary greatly.

Dreamhost is a great hosting company that offers both shared and dedicated servers, as well as virtual private servers.  I highly recommend them.

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