Shared hosting is when multiple users, websites, projects, or accounts are hosted alongside each other on a single web server. Dedicated hosting on the other hand, refers to when a single dedicated server is entirely devoted to the needs of one user or their project. Both options offer loads of benefits, but the one that's right for you depends on your needs and budget. We're going to dive deeper into both shared and dedicated web hosting, exploring their different capabilities, levels of performance, security, flexibility, cost, and more.
What is shared hosting?
Shared Hosting allows multiple websites or projects to be hosted on one server. You won’t know who else you’re sharing the server with, and typically, each customer will have a pre-agreed limit to how much server resources they can use as defined by their hosting package.
Pros of shared hosting
- Shared hosting could be compared to using a public bus service. You share it with a bunch of other people, but it's easily the cheapest and most economical way to get a website.
- You can easily upgrade or downgrade your hosting package depending on your evolving needs and budget, so you're not tied to the same level of hosting indefinitely.
- With shared hosting, you’ll be equipped with a built-in control panel where you can see everything you need from one place.
- No technical maintenance needs to be done to the server from your end – this is usually included as part of your hosting package.
- You don’t have to worry about technical maintenance of the server, as this is covered by the server providers as part of your hosting package.
Shared hosting can be a great option, especially for website owners with a smaller budget, or who are just getting started online as it’s usually the cheapest option and requires the least amount of effort from you.
However, like taking public transport, there are also some drawbacks you need to consider before you hop on board.
Cons of shared hosting
- As shared hosting accommodates for multiple websites on the same server, it can be slower than dedicated servers, particularly when the server has a lot of traffic.
- There are some increased cybersecurity risks associated with sharing a server, as you don’t know who your neighbours are.
- Security is one of the most significant disadvantages related to shared hosting. Compromised sites on the same server could affect the security of your own site.
- There’s a limited amount of customisation options available, which can prevent you from getting the highest level of performance from your websites.
Security is one of the most significant disadvantages related to shared hosting. Compromised sites could affect the security of your site. For example, an attacker that exploits another website and uploads malware could use that malware to steal data from all sites stored on the server.
Is shared hosting right for you?
Whether shared hosting is right for you depends on your own needs and requirements.
Say you need a website for a personal project, a small business or even a medium sized business – then you could benefit from the pros of shared hosting. Namely, the fact that it’s cost-effective and beginner friendly. In these cases, the disadvantages (like website traffic and heightened security risks) are very unlikely to have a significant effect on your business.
Plus, if your website grows enough to start needing more server resources, you can always upgrade or change to a hosting plan that gives you the extra power you need.
What is dedicated hosting?
Dedicated hosting is when your website is hosted on a single server that’s dedicated specifically to your project. To continue the transport analogy, if shared hosting was like public transport, dedicated hosting would be like renting your own car. Let’s make it a Tesla – it is run on electricity after all.
The pros of dedicated hosting
- With a server all to yourself, you won’t need to compete with others for resources – all your server’s processing power, memory, and disc space is committed to your project. You’ll never have to worry about performance issues.
- You have fewer cybersecurity threats to worry about too as no other user on the server can expose your project to threats.
- Dedicated hosting allows you to have full customisation, meaning you can optimise your server settings and modify software code for specific project needs.
Dedicated server hosting is a great choice if your project needs a lot of resources, or if you or members of your team have the technical capabilities to run the server yourselves.
Having a Tesla is pretty awesome, you have all the customisation options you want, you control how fast it goes, what colour it is and what music to play. But with great power comes great responsibility, and these freedoms bring increased costs and maintenance. Let's get into the downsides of dedicated hosting.
Cons of dedicated hosting
The disadvantages of dedicated hosting are:
- Increased costs – you’ll have to pay a premium for a dedicated server. The silver lining is that more often than not, websites that require dedicated servers in the first place are profitable enough to justify this.
- You'll need a certain level of technical knowledge with a dedicated server, especially if you want to take advantage of the customisability elements. However, if this isn’t possible you can also opt in for management support.
- You’ll be weighed down with more server maintenance responsibilities, like updating and installing patches.
Is dedicated hosting for you?
If you're a larger business with a big project and highly specialised needs, dedicated hosting is probably for you. Dedicated hosting will give you the heightened security and high bandwidth requirements you need for your project. On top of this, you can leverage all the snazzy customisability options too.
Shared or dedicated, which is best for you?
As you can see, when it comes to choosing between shared hosting and dedicated hosting, it largely depends on the exact requirements of your project, as well as how far your budget can stretch. Take a look at our awesome hosting options today, including shared Web Hosting, powerful Dedicated Servers, highly-flexible Cloud Servers, and affordable Virtual Private Servers.