Deciding whether you need a dedicated server or shared hosting is an important part of the process for choosing a new web host, or upgrading your plan at your current host. You don’t want to pay more than you need to if your site will be just fine on a shared hosting account, but you also don’t want to hold your site back and limit your possibilities when you really should be using a dedicated server. The information provided here should help you to decide what is best for you.
What Are You Doing with Your Website?
The answer to this question will be an important part of the decision making process, but here are some more specific questions to ask yourself. Are you running a personal blog or other small website? Are you hosting a website that is important for your business? Will you be storing any sensitive information? How many visitors per day do you realistically expect to have? If your website goes down for any period of time, how harmful will that be to you and/or your business?
Benefits of Dedicated Servers
As the name suggests, a dedicated server is all yours. There are no others users hosted on the same server so they will not interfere with your website in any way. Because the server is basically yours, although you’re really just renting it, you will have complete admin access and the ability to customize the server any way you want to.
Since you have more access and flexibility with your dedicated server, you also have more responsibilities. You will most likely have to handle the security yourself, which means keeping it up to date with the latest software and security applications to stay on top of any new threats and vulnerabilities.
Benefits of Shared Hosting
Shared hosting is a lot cheaper, because you are sharing a server with other users. As a result of this, you will have less admin access and fewer options to customize. You won’t be required to know as much about servers or hosting because your provider will do all of the initial setup for you, such as creating FTP accounts and most likely giving you access to a control panel where you can create any MySQL databases that you may need for things like installing WordPress or other content management systems (CMS).
The downside of shared hosting is that you may run in to problems in which your site needs more hardware than you are allowed to use, such as memory, CPU, or disk space. In rare cases your website or data may even become compromised due to others on your server, although your host will take steps to prevent this.
Of course your personal situation and the needs of your website will be the main factors in your decision to choose between dedicated and shared hosting, and no amount of information that you can find online will be able to decide for you. If you have a good relationship with your current shared hosting provider, and you don’t think they will try to rip you off, you could ask them whether they think it’s time for you to upgrade to dedicated but just keep in mind they may be biased toward getting more money out of you.