When considering hosting options, it is important to determine whether dedicated hosting or shared hosting is better suited to the needs of your website. Shared hosting, where the websites of multiple clients are hosted on a single server, is sometimes chosen by smaller companies due to lower cost. Don't be lured in by the price of $3.95/month, cheap is not always the best option. Here are 7 reasons why clients who are serious about uptime, availability, and performance tend to choose a dedicated server instead.
In a shared hosting environment, your website runs on a server that may be hosting hundreds sometimes even thousands of other websites. If one of those websites runs untested code that crashes the server, or uses unpatched software that creates security holes exploitable by hackers, all of the websites on the server will be affected, including yours. Why let your website suffer from someone else's errors? Don't be like this guy whose server was hacked again and again, most likely due to a vulnerability with another site on the shared server. With dedicated hosting, you are the only website on the server, and are insulated from the programming and security problems of other websites.
Sharing a server means you are sharing and competing with others for the memory, the hard drive space, the processor, and other limited resources, which can increase the time it takes to respond, and cause data integrity problems as well. If a quick and accurate response for visitors to your website is a high priority, dedicated hosting can provide better results by allowing your website to utilize all of the resources of a server. A dedicated server's resources are yours and yours alone! Image below was taken by Speed Test
In a shared hosting environment, installing new software in order to increase the capabilities of your website can be a time-consuming ordeal, as administrators must take the needs and compatibility issues of other clients into account before making changes. Scheduling maintenance downtime can be even trickier, as few other clients sharing a server will want their websites taken offline for the sake of someone else’s improvements.
A dedicated hosting environment solves all of these problems by making your website the sole priority for that server, giving you much greater control over what is installed, what changes can be made, and when important maintenance can be performed. You may even need a special package or software installed in which some shared hosting providers won't even do that for you.
Websites that share a hosting environment on a single server also share that server’s IP address, or unique internet routing address. If one of the websites on your shared hosting account is placed on a black list due to sending junk emails or hosting questionable content, this affects all of the websites on the server. How will your customers find your website, if your internet address has been misreported as a source of spam emails? Here's an in-depth look at dedicated vs. shared IP addresses. With a dedicated hosting environment, your IP address is used only by you, and you won’t have to worry about what other hosting clients may be doing next door. You can check if a server is on a blacklist here. Don't go the cheap route and get your IP banned by the email servers or search engines.
One of the quickest ways to turn a cheap shared hosting contract into an expensive mistake is to exceed the allotted bandwidth allowed to your website. Since websites in a shared hosting arrangement must shared the bandwidth of a single server, strict billing plans with sizable overage penalties are necessary to keep any one website from taking more than their share of the sending and receiving capacity of the server. Some hosting companies with cancel your account altogether from high bandwidth usage or huge traffic spikes.
Many hosting companies, however, do not charge penalties for high bandwidth use for dedicated hosting clients, since the bandwidth of a dedicated server is allocated solely to that client. Avoiding overage charges gives your website much more flexibility to accommodate growth in your customer base, as well as any resulting increases in online traffic.
Having your own dedicated server also provides better security and a more hardened box. Configuration of your own firewall, controlling which software packages will be installed, and the code of your website will all be in your control. No one will be able to hack into your account because of another site's vulnerability or virus. Also, most dedicated hosts provide backups both site and data along with their service. An extra plus when choosing to get your own server. Check out our article on server security for tips on protecting your server.
To be real, having your site on a shared server will result in more downtime for your website. By having many sites on one dedicated box, the probability of more downtime is multiplied exponentially, due to rogue scripts, DDOS attacks, traffic spikes, viruses, maintenance, and just less attention to the server. Not only that, if your site does go down, don't expect an immediate response from someone on the phone if you can get anybody at all. One great resource to check on uptime of your site/server is Pingdom. Many dedicated hosting companies virtually guarantee 99.95-100% uptime, and most of the time they deliver. The difference in customer support can sometimes be night and day, bu then again that is what you are paying for. Be smart and go dedicated!
For these 7 reasons and others, dedicated hosting is generally the better choice from the standpoints of both performance and security. While dedicated hosting contracts tend to cost more than shared hosting contracts, the greater speed and consistency of service will have a measurable positive impact on the online experience of your customers, and will more than justify the investment through better security and reliability.