Shared hosting and dedicated hosting are the two categories that all web hosting services can be put into; shared hosting services consist of a shared hosting environment in which many users are hosted, whereas a dedicated hosting environment will provide you with your own individual hosting environment that will be isolated from any other users.
If you are new to web hosting then it is recommended that you start off with a basic shared web hosting plan because shared web hosting packages are the cheapest available and so if you find that you are unable to make the most of your web hosting plan in the way that you want to, you won’t be losing too much money.
On the other hand, if you are a business or an experienced individual then you may wish to go straight into considering dedicated hosting because you are likely to be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of dedicated hosting.
Shared web hosting is a term that can be applied to shared web hosting plans and reseller web hosting plans; a reseller web hosting plan is effectively an upgraded shared hosting plan with additional resources that will allow you to create sub-accounts under your own web hosting account.
Dedicated hosting is a term that can be applied to VPS hosting and dedicated servers as these are the only two forms of web hosting capable of offering a dedicated hosting environment; the difference between the two is that a VPS server is a virtual server that shares a physical node with multiple VPS servers, whereas a dedicated server is your own physical server.
What can a shared web hosting plan offer me over a dedicated hosting plan?
Even though shared web hosting services may not be up to the same standard as dedicated hosting at many levels, there are still many benefits that a shared hosting plan can offer you over a dedicated hosting plan including:
- Low cost hosting – when compared to the cost of your average VPS server or dedicated server, the cost of a shared web hosting plan can make it very appealing, especially to those who are using web hosting for the first time – as many users are hosted on a single server in a shared web hosting environment, web hosting companies are able to offer their shared web hosting plans at relatively low prices – when starting out with web hosting for the first time you shouldn’t overspend on your web hosting plan because you can’t always be sure that it is going to be fitting for your requirements, so by choosing a low cost shared hosting plan you won’t stand to lose too much money if it isn’t the right hosting plan for you
- Easy to manage – a shared web hosting account is going to be far easier to manage than a VPS server or dedicated server because you will be provided with access to a web based control panel through which you can manage all aspects of your web hosting account with ease and modify settings as you see fit – unless you choose to have a web-based control panel installed on your dedicated server or VPS server, something that will cost you extra, the only method of management that you will have available to use will be Remote Desktop for Windows servers and SSH for Linux servers and to manage a server directly requires some level of skill because of the complexity of the interfaces provided
- Simplicity – under some circumstances a dedicated hosting solution may simply be too complex for the requirements that have been provided and so a shared web hosting plan may be more appropriate – the core purpose of shared web hosting is to provide users with the basic functions and features that they need to setup and configure a basic website and the resource assignments provided with shared web hosting plans will reflect this.
What can a dedicated web hosting plan offer me over a shared web hosting?
As dedicated web hosting plans are higher-end than shared web hosting plans, there are bound to be many benefits to be had from choosing a dedicated hosting plan over a shared web hosting plan. These benefits include:
- Reliability – the main benefit to be had from choosing a VPS server or a dedicated server over a shared web hosting plan is the added reliability that you will receive from having your own dedicated web hosting environment – because so many users are hosted on a single shared web hosting server, it can be hard for web hosting companies to be constantly monitoring every account to ensure that it doesn’t overload the server, so once in a while you will go through spells of downtime, but if a shared hosting server isn’t managed properly then the downtime experienced could be greater
- Security – VPS servers and dedicated servers can also provide you with a more secure hosting environment because the isolation offered means that you won’t have to worry about the security of other user’s web hosting accounts or websites affecting the security of your own web hosting account – as a dedicated hosting customer you will be able to install the applications and take the measures that you see as fitting to enable you to create a hosting environment that you see as being secure – however, it is up to you to ensure that you develop your websites using code that has been developed to meet the latest standards.
In conclusion, shared web hosting is the best solution for those who are using web hosting for the first time because of the features that are provided as well as the affordable nature of a majority of shared web hosting plans.
With regards to dedicated hosting, once you have chosen the dedicated web hosting plan that is most fitting to your needs it is important for you to also consider the applications and services that you are going to use so that you can be sure you will be able to make the most of the resources provided.
Dedicated hosting plans are best suited for experienced professionals and businesses that have a distinct need for a dedicated hosting environment.