Shared web hosting and dedicated hosting can be seen as being at opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of the web hosting services that are available from a majority of web hosting companies. Whilst a shared web hosting plan is often put together with beginners in mind, most dedicated servers can be customized during the order process to offer something that is individual to the business or individual that is going to be using it. Shared web hosting plans often carry low resource assignments and a feature-set that will allow a beginner to make the most of their first domain name and get a website online, the benefit here being that shared web hosting plans also carry a comparably low price tag to suit the intended audience. Dedicated servers are tailored towards the other end of the market, providing a level of performance that can’t be matched by any other form of web hosting; as a dedicated server is a physical server, you will have the option to make modifications to the hardware during the order process – you can choose from a range of different hard drive configurations that use RAID or boost the memory and CPU power that you have on tap.
Which form of hosting is going to offer the highest level of performance?
A shared web hosting plan is never going to be able to beat a dedicated server in terms of performance because dedicated servers are only used by the owner of that server, whereas a shared web hosting server will be used by many users. However, in terms of the performance that each intended audience requires, both forms of hosting will be able to serve their market’s performance expectations with no issues. Small websites don’t demand large resource allocations – especially when the website in question has only just started out – and it is because of this that a shared web hosting service will be more than capable of supporting small websites; a dedicated server can be expanded to host websites that receive thousands of visitors everyday, with a number of advanced configurations available such as load balanced clusters.
Will dedicated hosting or shared hosting offer the best features?
With shared hosting you can be guaranteed a full set of features as these will be set out as part of your web hosting plan prior to purchasing the service so that you know what you are going to be getting for your money. A web hosting provider should always offer a choice between Windows and Linux so that you can expect features common to the Windows platform such as MSSQL and ASP.NET support, whilst the Linux variant will be more suiting to developers using PHP and MySQL at the core of their web applications. Dedicated servers provide you with a dedicated environment that can be tailored to meet your needs as you wish, with a choice between Windows and a number of different Linux distributions (versions of Linux) being the standard offering; you can customize the hosting environment offered by your dedicated server to include any applications or services that you would like to use in conjunction with your website to produce a highly functional end-user experience – effectively you can use your own feature-set with dedicated hosting.
What is the best approach to take as my website grows?
Quite often it can be disruptive to move a website from one web hosting platform to another as a website grows, but if you are using shared hosting are wanting to grow your website then there will come a point when you will need to upgrade your web hosting plan so that you have the resources available to cope with an increased visitor count. Between shared hosting and dedicated hosting is VPS hosting, which has been created to bridge the gap between the previous two in terms of resources and pricing; however, moving from a shared hosting plan to a VPS server and then on to a dedicated server can cause many issues because downtime could be incurred at certain stages during the process. As your website grows it is recommended that you maximize the resources that are available to you on a shared hosting platform and then complete the migration to a dedicated server because this will only mean one move and will improve the speed in which the transition can be done.