What Is Shared Hosting?
Shared web hosting, which is also sometimes called virtual hosting, is a service that provides hosting on a shared server alongside hundred or thousands of other sites. With shared hosting, the sites on the same server share resources in common, including important resources such as memory and bandwidth, etc. A control panel provides you with management tools for your website, and the web host stays in control of the server.
What Is Dedicated Hosting?
Dedicated hosting means that a server is singled out for your sole use and is not shared. There are three types of service that either have dedicated in their name or include a dedicated server. Virtual Dedicated Server Hosting (VDS), also called Virtual Private Server Hosting (VPS) is when a section of a server and particular resources are set aside for you so that it “feels” like you have a dedicated server, even though the server is actually shared.
The standard services associated with the term dedicated hosting is the complete dedication of a server that is not shared with others. This costs more than VDS, but the resources are completely yours, and you (or someone you hire) are responsible for managing the server management and troubleshoot any problems that arise. Managed hosting is dedicated hosting plus management provided by the web hosting company, who will take care of any server administration issues.
How Do the Services Compare?
Shared web hosting is generally less expensive than dedicated hosting, but a great deal depends on the package. Standard shared packages – which may or may not have database access, PHP capability, a stats package, shared SSL, FTP, and CGI-BIN and may have a relatively small amount of memory – run from $4.08/month to $49.95/month in a recent survey I conducted. The memory ranged from 100 MB to unlimited, and the transfer ranged from 1000 MB to unlimited. The operating system is only designated in some of the cases, and there is no information about the processor on the server.
Ecommerce hosting on shared servers is more expensive. In more than a third of the cases I surveyed, there was a set-up fee, and the cost ranged from $18.33/month to $299.95/month. Space ranged from 5GM to unlimited; transfer ranged from 4 GB to unlimited and the maximum number of products ranged from 10 to 50,000. These sited include many other features specifically for online merchants.
Dedicated hosting programs in my survey ranged from $55.00/month to $215.00/month. They include 80-500 GB of space, 1000 to 2000 GB of transfer, and go into much more technical details, specifying, for example, the processing CPUs available.
But it will be the needs of your site, rather than absolute price, that is likely to go into the decision to choose a shared or a dedicated hosting plan. If your site runs fine on a shared site, there may be little reason to make the investment of time and money to have a dedicated server.