Shared Hosting vs. Dedicated Hosting

With many different types of server hosting options, it can be difficult to know which one will be the best for the specific needs of a particular website. Will free web hosting provide sufficient resources for a large website? Is a virtual dedicated server the best option, or will private cloud hosting be a better choice? What are the differences between colocation web hosting, clustered hosting, and grid hosting?  While the amount of choices can be overwhelming, understanding the pros and cons of the two major server hosting options is a good place to start. Below we look at both shared hosting and dedicated hosting services.

Shared Hosting
Shared hosting refers to multiple websites being hosting on a single server. Basically, these websites all have their own partition on a given server, which keeps the files of each website separate. Shared hosting servers are centrally controlled by a third-party system administrator so that no single website residing on the server has control over functionality or resource distribution. Shared hosting is the most common type of server hosting service, and is the choice of many standard websites for its low cost and ease of use.

  • Pros: economical, automatic updates handled by provider, open source driven, both Windows server and Linux server hosting available, etc.
  • Cons: less control, does not allow for extensive software development, usage restrictions and resource limitations, shared IP hosting may lead to security issues, etc.

Dedicated Hosting
With a dedicated hosting solution, a single server is dedicated solely to one website, with all of its available resources and operations. Shared hosting services may bill hosted sites based on their data usage each month, while dedicated hosting providers will often charge a flat monthly fee based on the specific software and hosting package. The hosted website typically does not own the server their site is residing on, but they do have full root access to the server. Dedicated server hosting is mostly used by large, complex websites or those receiving a lot of traffic.

  • Pros: full control, increased flexibility over shared hosting services, service stability, solid security, overall high performance, etc.
  • Cons: high cost, not an appropriate solution for many small websites, some limitations to what types of content may be hosted, etc.

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