The Difference Between Shared and Dedicated Servers

An Introduction to Dedicated Servers and Their Configuration OptionsFor most website owners, a dedicated or shared server is always needed as well as other connectivity services like IP transit. Dedicated Server Cheap dedicated servers are steadily becoming popular for web hosting needs. Those in this industry long enough know these terms by heart but for those who are just starting out, all this technical jargon can be confusing. In an effort to make these terms easier, here are the main differences between dedicated and shared servers.

A shared server, as the name implies, is a shared resource among multiple users. On a shared server, a website sits in its own partition that ultimately detaches it from other websites on the same server. Many opt to put their websites on a shared server as this is the most economical in terms of cost. However, this is only a good solution for beginners, individuals, small businesses and organisations that have sites that expect little traffic, require low bandwidth and disk space. Services such as maintenance, security updates and software installation, just to name a few are provided by the website host.

A dedicated server on the other hand is one that solely serves one client. There are two kinds of dedicated servers namely managed and unmanaged servers. Unmanaged servers are configured and managed by the client. Managed servers on the other hand normally include a wide range of services such as operating system and application updates, various system monitoring packages and so onThe debate of having a shared or dedicated hosting package for your website is one that is ongoing. Both have their benefits and deciding on the best choice for you will depend largely on your business requirements. In general, dedicated server hosting is more expensive. It often also requires more technical expertise. When looking at it from this perspective, many business owners ask, Is it really worth it? Let’s look at dedicated hosting in more detail and the benefits associated with it.

By simple definition, a dedicated machine hosts just one client on the server. Compare this to a shared server where there can be hundreds of websites on a single server and you can immediately start to see the benefits of having a dedicated server. While a dedicated server has only one client, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can have only one website. In fact, for large companies where there are multiple divisions, it is often more cost effective to host several domains on a dedicated server than it is to host each one on a separate shared server.

Typically, dedicated machines are used by larger companies with a large web presence. They may have exceeded their capacity on a shared server and have more technical requirements for their website that cannot be accommodated on a shared server. If you are looking at the options of dedicated servers then it is probably because you have a large capacity website. You may also want to customize certain aspects of the hosting on the server. Most shared servers don’t allow for customization so if this is important for your business, dedicated server hosting may be your only other alternative. What prevents most companies from having dedicated servers is that they are generally much more expensive. This is why usually only larger businesses make use of them. While you may have started out hosting your website on a shared server, you may get to the point where your business has grown sufficiently and a dedicated server starts to make more sense.

There are many benefits to having a dedicated package. Often, when you weigh them up compared to the higher cost, they still make a convincing argument. A great advantage of a dedicated server is the higher level of security on the server. Because your business is the only client on the server, if you are vigilant about your security systems and anti-virus software, this greatly reduces the risk of infection. Compare this to a shared server. You can be diligent about protecting your website but someone else on the same server might not be. This means that they could fall prey to a virus or spyware which could then inadvertently affect your website as well just because it is on the same server. With a dedicated server, you completely eliminate the risk of this happening. In general, you have a much more secure hosting platform.

A second benefit is the level of customization available. Often, the technology that you can use on a shared server is limited because it needs to conform to a shared interface. However, on a dedicated server, you have the freedom and flexibility to set up your website using whatever technology and scripts work best for you. This means that if you have advanced technical knowledge, you can go into a great amount of detail on the back end of the website and incorporate whatever technology works for you.

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