Shared Hosting vs. Dedicated Hosting

Shared Versus Dedicated – What Does Your Business Need?

In a perfect world in which costs are not an issue, every business or individual would probably lean toward a dedicated hosting service. Because this is a fantasy for many organizations today, shared hosting is an option that is frequently employed that economically manages website operation. At a basic level – what are the differences between shared and dedicated hosting services?

Hosting refers to the process that provides the connection between your website and the Internet. Shared hosting means that your website utilizes the same server as other websites. This is good in that you are able to minimize some of the costs of the hosting service by pooling sharing the total costs with other companies. This also means that you aren’t paying for a lot of server capacity if you don’t really need it. Shared hosting is popular among smaller companies or those who see less website traffic, but shared servers do have some limitations.

Dedicated hosting services locate client data on a physically separate drive, which eliminates the need to share resources. Dedicated servers aren’t affected by the ebb and flow of a variety of unrelated websites on one server. Rather, dedicated servers provide a specified amount of hard drive space, RAM, bandwidth, and CPU speed that the website can access and use. This is great for the company that needs to ensure the ultimate in uptime and server reliability. The downside to a dedicated server is the cost. Dedicated servers tend to cost substantially more per month than shared servers, or even virtual private servers. For most businesses, the costs tend to be prohibitive, so a shared or virtual private server is usually the answer. No matter which type of hosting service you feel will best support your business, important considerations to make include:

• Uptime percentage. This refers to the amount of time that your website is “up and running” each month. A minimum of a “three-9’s” uptime percentage should be accepted. This means 99.9% uptime, or less than 44 minutes of downtime per month. “Four-9’s” uptime refers to 99.99% uptime, and results in about 4 minutes per month of downtime. This is a vastly superior figure that is important to note as your website becomes busier.

• RAM amount and Hard Drive Space. RAM keeps the information flowing smoothly around your website, and the availability of burstable RAM means that sudden spikes in site activity will not affect the performance of the website. Storage space allows for plentiful large files, like photos and rich site content.

• Monthly Cost. While the absolute cheapest plan may not always provide the best value, it is imperative to tailor your hosting service to your monthly budget.

• Security Features. Dedicated servers may allow for heightened security features due to the fact that you have complete control over the security programs on your individual server.

Once the decision is made between shared or dedicated servers, make sure that the company is experienced in setting up new servers for a variety of clients.

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