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Shared vs Dedicated Hosting - Which one is right for your website?

Baffled by hosting? You’re not alone. Join all the dots properly and you’re motoring. Get it wrong and your hosting simply won’t work. But there’s a lot to think about before you even get to that stage. What kind of hosting, exactly, do you need, and why? What is shared hosting, what is dedicated hosting, and what is the difference between the two? As an experienced B2B website design agency with extensive experience in website hosting, we provide great hosting for a variety of respected businesses. This page gives you the shared hosting vs dedicated hosting answers you need to make a decision that’ll suit your website, your business, your pocket, and your users. Read on to become your own hosting expert.

What is Shared Hosting?

First, what is shared hosting? A shared web hosting service hosts many websites on the one web server connected to the Internet. With this type of hosting, your site shares a physical server – a computer specially configured as a host - with one or more other websites. It also means your site and the others on the server share the resources.

So in what’s called a shared hosting environment, all the files and resources like databases used by a website are hosted on a server, alongside all of the files and resources required by one or more other websites. How many others? It depends. You could share a server with just one other business, or with hundreds or thousands of others, but it’s usually somewhere in between. It depends on how much RAM – random access memory – and CPU or Central Processing Unit computing power they need.  The smaller and simpler the website, the fewer resources it tends to need. A huge ecommerce store with thousands of products, for example, will need a lot more resources than a basic five-page brochure website.

What is Dedicated Hosting?

Next, what is dedicated hosting? A dedicated hosting service, also called a dedicated server, managed hosting service or ‘dedi’, is a type of internet hosting where you lease an entire server all for your business, and it isn’t shared with anyone else. The term describes web hosting packages providing a dedicated server with dedicated resources, all for just one website, for a single customer. The difference is obvious. Shared hosting means you share server space and resources, dedicated hosting means you don’t share space or resources with anyone.

Advantages of Shared Hosting

Shared hosting vs dedicated hosting have their own advantages and downsides. So what are the primary advantages provided by shared hosting?

Better when you’re on a budget

For a start it is cost effective and economical, the most popular reason of all for plenty of businesses, especially small companies and start-ups. The costs are lower because the costs are shared, which means shared hosting lets you test drive a business idea on a shoestring or host a micro-business affordably. It comes with flexible growth options too – you can move to a dedicated server once the business grows, or you’ve proved the concept works.

Less work for you

The shared hardware will be maintained by your hosting provider, as well as kept good and secure, which means you can relax – and also means it’s good for site owners who aren’t that savvy around keeping a server in good shape.

Simple interface

There’s usually a nice, simple user interface and control panel too, which is easier to understand than the complex dashboard you can get with a dedicated server.  These simple facilities are what you need, as a site owner, to look after your website with confidence even if you don’t have much technical knowledge.

Advantages of Dedicated Hosting

Next in our shared hosting vs dedicated hosting guide, let’s do the same for the primary advantages of dedicated hosting.

Plenty of resource available

Because the server resources are not shared with other websites, you don’t have any worries about other sites using up all the CPU and RAM resources on the server, leaving your site struggling to give your customers and other users the quality of experience they expect. You also get guaranteed maximum website uptime, so your site is always available for users 24/7/365.

Greater stability

Dedicated website hosting servers provide greater stability and reliability than shared hosting. The configuration is a lot more versatile, too. You can configure a dedicated server optimally to meet your business’s specific requirements around CPU and RAM, disk space and software. You can specify the perfect configuration and software.

Unique IP address

And unlike shared hosting, where every site on the server with you has the same IP address, you get your own IP address, unique to your website. This is particularly important for ecommerce sites using SSL for secure credit card processing. There’s more. Imagine a site on the same server as you is blacklisted, say for sending spam email? Your site won’t suffer like it would on a shared server, where the same IP address means everyone gets blacklisted.

No overhead costs

Lastly, dedicated hosting comes with no overhead costs for hosting equipment because dedicated hosting providers are responsible for building and maintaining the servers.

Shared and Dedicated Hosting Disadvantages Compared

As with anything, there are disadvantages to both choices. So, here are some of the disadvantages of shared hosting:

  • May suffer performance issues - Shared hosting can mean you suffer performance issues because of the other sites on the same server. Your server might be packed full, without the spare resources needed to handle busy periods and visitor spikes for all the sites on the server.
  • Potential cyber security risk - There are real cyber security concerns when your site’s being hosted alongside other websites. If someone doesn’t configure their file permissions properly, for example, they could leave the server wide open to hackers.
  • Restricted admin access - In shared hosting environments, this means you can only get to the basic facilities you need to maintain your site, and as a rule a shared server is less stable than a dedicated host.

Now, here are some of the disadvantages of dedicated hosting:

  • Higher overall cost - The main disadvantages of dedicated hosting include the cost, since it inevitably costs more to have something to yourself than if you share. Cost is one of the main reasons people use for not choosing dedicated hosting.
  • Need decent technical knowledge - With dedicated hosting, you really need a decent level of technical know-how. Unlike shared hosting, where the host takes care of all the technical duties, you do it yourself with a dedicated web host. This means you need quite a lot of knowledge, skill, and experience, including the insight needed to take responsibility for site security. In a dedicated host environment security is your own responsibility as the site owner, and that means a decent amount of cyber security expertise.
  • Limited scalability - It’s difficult to scale resources on a dedicated physical server simply because it’s a huge machine in the first place.

Shared vs Dedicated Hosting - Which is Right for You?

Are there any expert recommendations around which kind of hosting is best for what kind of site and business? Yes, and they’re an important part of the decision process. As a rule, dedicated web hosting is the best for high traffic websites, high traffic web applications, sites dealing with confidential data, ecommerce sites where Secure Money Transaction is vital. You’ll also need dedicated hosting for sites crunching massive amounts of Big Data and for Machine Learning, both of which are extremely resource-hungry. Dedicated Game Server Hosting is best dedicated, as are situations where you need to carry out extensive Backups and Storage. Last but not least, if people are streaming media they’ll need enough resources to do it without interruption.

Shared hosting is good for small sites and sites with low to medium traffic, things like personal blogs and SME sites. Brochureware sites sit perfectly on a shared server, as do startup websites and experimental businesses. If you’re on a tight budget shared hosting will help keep the costs low, and if you only have limited technical support, or don’t have the tech capability.

What kind of hosting will you choose?

Now you’re clear about shared hosting vs dedicated hosting, and you understand what is the difference between shared hosting and dedicated hosting. Whatever type of hosting you choose, it’s vital to offer people an excellent user experience regardless of the device they’re using. Will the shared hosting deal you’re going for do that for you? Check the uptime, check the service, make sure you do the due diligence before making a decision – and remember that, in the hosting world, cheap can easily mean poor service with little or no support.

Whether you want dedicated hosting or shared hosting, we provide top class Umbraco hosting for our clients - because we believe they deserve the best quality hosting from the offset. As experts at web development in Oxford and beyond, we know hosting inside out and back to front. It means you can rely on us to keep your site available to everyone who wants to explore it, loading quickly, being secure, and performing as it should. If that sounds good, let’s talk about how we can help with great hosting.

Call us on 01844 888 777, email us at or use our contact form to get in touch.