Dedicated or shared hosting?

The internet is the fastest growing business platform to date, it offers so many opportunities whilst at the same time levelling the playing field for everybody. With the weakening economy, more and more people are looking to the internet as a means to solve their financial woes either by creating blogs to supplement their salaries or building full scale online businesses. Many web hosting providers are taking advantage of this and are popping up all over the place. How do you know who are in it for the quick buck and who are there to genuinely help you succeed?

Firstly, you need to know the requirements of the website you are going to be creating. There are so many aspects that go into building a website. Careful planning ahead leads to far fewer headaches down the road. The size and bandwidth requirements of your website are one of the most important aspects to consider. Is your website going to take the role of a social website with many people accessing and updating large volumes of data or would it primarily remain a static brochure style website? Depending on the scale, there are two different routes that you could end up taking and these are shared hosting and dedicated hosting each with their own strengths and pitfalls.

There are two different routes that you could end up taking and these are shared hosting and dedicated hosting each with their own strengths and pitfalls.

What is shared hosting?

Basically shared hosting was created to bring down the exorbitant costs of dedicated hosting. Shared hosting is also commonly referred to as virtual hosting as it allows more than one person to host their website on a server. Therefore the costs can be split up depending on how many people are sharing the server and it usually ends up being a fraction of what you would pay for a dedicated server.

So what are the drawbacks? Many hosts have been known to over share and oversell their servers trying to squeeze as much out of their server as they possibly can. This is commonly referred to as crowding and has a very negative effect on up-time and performance of the websites hosted on the server. Crowded servers are always being pushed beyond what they were designed for, making hardware failure and therefore downtime that much more likely.

Dedicated hosting?

Dedicated hosting as you may have gathered is not shared amongst other users. You have complete control over the server, and may do with it as you wish. You can install your own control panel, software and plugins. Obviously this flexibility comes at a price, and is often far out of reach for the average person. Costs include hardware, managing of the server, license fees for the control panel and the list goes on. The cost for dedicated hosting can sore into thousands of dollars per year.

The advantages of dedicated hosting are usually only seen if you have a large amount of traffic accessing your website. The server can commit all it's resources to one website, making sure that it performs optimally. Websites such as Facebook, MySpace and Youtube have millions of people accessing their servers all the time and cannot afford downtime due to such demands. Generally the average website does not generate that much traffic to warrant getting a dedicated server.

Which option?

So out of the two, which option is best going to suite your websites needs? With today's advances in technology, multicore CPUs, large amounts of RAM and hard disk space and the ever spiralling downward prices of hardware. Web hosts are able to pack continuously more and more power into everyone of their servers making shared hosting a very suitable option for most websites. Obviously there will always be room for dedicated hosting for larger scaled websites. But when it comes down to price and comparing the two, there is no better value than a good shared host.

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