Shared Or Dedicated Hosting?

Webhosting 20.7.2012 Comments Off on Shared Or Dedicated Hosting?

If you are in the throws of setting up an online business or for that matter moving your offline business online, then you will be faced with a number of decisions, many of which will seem complicated.

Obviously being an online business you will need some form of web hosting, of which there are many choices of provider. However once you have found a suitable web host you will then be faced with yet more decisions. One of the key decisions that people struggle with is, do you take a shared web hosting server or go for a dedicated server? In this article I will aim to highlight the key differences and the associated pros and cons.

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is the most common form of hosting that you will see advertised by hosting providers. Nowadays it is very cheap to pick up shared hosting and it normally only costs a few dollars per month to run. But what exactly is it? In simple terms shared hosting is one physical server hosting many many websites. You basically have a small piece of the overall server, so your website will in effect have neighbours on the same machine. This is a fine solution if your site is not mission critical to your business or you are not anticipating huge volumes of web traffic to your site.

However, problems can occur if you are sharing a server with a site that is receiving lots of traffic or the neighbour does something to their site that causes the web server to fail as your web presence will be affected and you could lose your site for an extended period. This is the biggest problem with the shared hosting model as you have very little control over what is happening around you.

Shared hosting is ideal if your site fits the following categories

Basic brochure type website for business use
Family or personal website
Basic personal blog

Dedicated Server

Dedicated servers are self explanatory in that you basically use a complete server, only websites you own and control will run on it. You will have full access to manage the server and load additional software, shut it down or make changes to the configuration. This is ideal if you are running at site that does e-commerce or if you have a lot of site traffic. These obvious benefits do come with some drawbacks. Cost is the first drawback as running a dedicated server can cost many hundreds of dollars per month to run, depending on the size of the server. Managing the server can be very an expensive overhead, more so if you do not have the technical ability or knowledge to do it yourself. You may find yourself having to hire specialist assistance to help manage the environment.

Which Way To Go?

So this begs the question, which way to go? Most businesses start with the shared hosting route as it is cost effective and relatively simple to manage and then when the site traffic increases or additional online purchasing functionality is required they move to a dedicated server. Do be aware that moving from shared hosting to a dedicated server can be time consuming and expensive so my advice is to try and get your hosting infrastructure correct before your site becomes so big that you have to start having unnecessary downtime to move your sites around. if you are planning to have lots of traffic and transact online then do budget for a dedicated server, it could save you an awful lot of time and money in the long run.

Simon Bunker is the owner of Technology Consulting firm Samba Consulting http://www.sambaconsulting.com. Samba Consulting provide technology consulting services specifically tailored to the small business owner. The services offered by Samba Consulting include Blogging, Social Media, Affiliate Marketing and all things online.

If you are a small business owner or new to running a business and need some impartial advice on the best technology to use in your business please do visit the Samba Consulting website

You can read more about Simon & Samba Consulting at [http://simonbunker.co.uk]

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