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What is Shared vs Dedicated Hosting?

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What is Shared vs Dedicated Hosting?

As we have plenty of companies asking about server hosting, we thought we’d share a quick article covering the most frequently asked questions about shared and dedicated hosting.

Let’s take a closer look…


The Difference Between Shared Hosting and Dedicated Hosting


As you might have already guessed, the difference between shared and dedicated hosting lies in the names. 

Customers choosing shared hosting servers are essentially sharing the resources - and costs - of a single server. This makes it the most economical form of hosting on the market. While this is good news for those on a budget, we often see that hosts operating with very low prices often just cram more clients onto the same server, thereby lowering the quality for everyone involved. 

Those opting for a dedicated server, on the other hand, has exclusive right to the full capacity of the server. The latter option tends to be costly, but it provides you with greater flexibility, performance and security than a shared server. 

Naturally, there are advantages and disadvantages to both options. 

For small businesses operating on a tight budget, signing up for shared hosting might be the best starting point. But if you’re looking to scale and are on the market for both stability and extra security, you should instead consider a dedicated server. This will cost you more, but the benefit is that you get more flexibility to customize your service and deal with sudden traffic spikes. 

Flexibility is lacking in shared servers. Here, the bandwidth and disk space is limited because there are more people fighting for the same resources. The upside is that the operating costs are divided between the users, which can be rather favourable if you only want a basic and budget-friendly server option.  However, you will be charged extra if you surpass your allocated amount - and those costs can add up quickly.



Server Considerations


Technical skills


Do you lack in-house tech talent? Then it’s essential that you choose a solution that offers managed services. 

The level of managed services will differ between hosting providers, so it’s essential that you settle for the vendor that suits you the best. For dedicated hosting, the most typical levels of managed services will be:

  • Fully Managed: Here, customers are completely hands-off, and the provider is responsible for managing everything from monitoring to security patches. 
  • Managed: This includes only a medium level of management - including a limited amount of customer support. The clients will have to perform specific tasks related to the maintenance, but this will be set out in your contract. 
  • Self-Managed: Although the customer is expected to handle most server-related tasks, the provider will still offer some level of monitoring and maintenance. 
  • Unmanaged: This includes very little involvement from the server provider, and all the responsibility is on the client. 



A clear downside of shared hosting is that it means less control for the individual clients. 

As the hosting providers are in full charge, they will make choices on behalf of you - and, most of the time, without consulting you first. In other words, you will have a less granular control of how the server is used. While some companies carry little concern for this, others find it to be a complete deal breaker. 

If you want more control, a dedicated server is the way to go. They offer a great amount of custom options, meaning that you can add preferred programs and applications to meet your operational requirements. 

Again, control might not be a concern for small companies taking their first steps towards server hosting. 



Another important consideration is security. And, out of the two options, dedicated servers are by far the most secure solution. Most dedicated hosting providers offer DDoS protection, IP address blocking and other quality features. 

In addition, you will not be put at risk by security holes in another client’s code - which is a known risk in shared hosting environments.



How will potential downtime impact your business? Will it be catastrophical? Or not a big deal?

With dedicated hosting, you can choose performance level. As you’re the only user on the servers, you will also be the only one who can dictate the level of customization and optimize for uptime. If you need extra horsepower, you can purchase higher performance from your provider.

Unfortunately, this is a little less flexible with shared servers, as there are more people fighting over the same limited resources. While you can agree to purchase more power from your provider, you can expect that it will cost you deerly. This means that a shared hosting solution will be good for small companies with low traffic.


Finding the Best Server Type for You


Making the choice between dedicated and shared hosting can be challenging. In order to make the best decision for your unique requirements, it’s important that you first consider these factors:


  • What’s your available budget? 
  • Do you have realistic requirements?
  • Are you willing to maintain the server and regularly apply security patches?

When deciding on your hosting solution, it’s essential that you choose a provider that will meet all of your needs and requirements - both today and in the future. 

Are you still on the fence about your new solution? Software Advisory Service offers unbiased and free buying advice to all UK organisations. Fill out the form to your right, and one of our experts will be in touch with you shortly.

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