Getting a website hosting plan is one of the most important things when it comes to launching a new website. From basic and most common shared hosting plans to dedicated servers, there is no shortage of options for new website owners.
But with so many options, how do you know what type of hosting solution is the best choice? Both shared and dedicated server hosting can give your website the necessary disk space for your website files, but they cater to different types of websites.
The right choice depends on your site size, goals and future growth.
This guide will explain the differences between shared hosting vs. dedicated hosting plans and which one you should choose for your website. We’ll also explain what hosting is and how it works.
In a nutshell, web hosting refers to the disk space on a server provided to you by a hosting company. For a yearly or monthly fee, you can store your website’s files on the company’s server.
In turn, the web hosting provider has to ensure that your website is accessible to your visitors and provide other services as outlined in your hosting plan. That can include security, speed optimization, backups, malware monitoring, protection against DDoS attacks and more.
If you’re just getting started, you’ve probably been told that you need hosting for your site. More often than not, this means a shared hosting server. This type of hosting plan is typically offered at a low price. It’s geared for small websites and new website owners.
However, almost all hosting companies offer other types of hosting. That can include virtual private servers (VPS hosting) and managed hosting.
Both managed hosting and VPS hosting offer a better security and privacy control panel as well as full control over how your physical server is set up.
There is also dedicated hosting, which is the top tier when it comes to hosting plans. It’s touted as the most secure, flexible, and scalable option out there. However, dedicated hosting is not for everyone.
Now that you know what web hosting is, let’s take a closer look at shared and dedicated hosting plans.
Shared hosting packages are offered by almost all website hosting companies. What makes shared hosting attractive is its low price, which is only possible because of how shared hosting works. On the other hand, dedicated web hosting doesn’t involve renting space on a server. Instead, you get the entire server for your website.
Multiple websites share resources on a single server with shared web hosting. That typically includes bandwidth, processing power and memory.
Shared servers often host hundreds or even thousands of websites. They also allow users to set up multiple sites under one cloud hosting account.
The hosting company is responsible for providing basic user support and maintaining the server. They are also responsible for ensuring server security and offering protection from hackers and malware.
Shared hosting packages often include multiple tiers. Each tier has a different combination of features available for that price. However, as the website owner, you are responsible for configuring and maintaining your site.
Moreover, shared hosting has some disadvantages that become more obvious as your website grows.
Shared hosting is an affordable way to launch your website, but it can pose some problems due to the way it’s set up.
The biggest problem with shared hosting for your website is that if one website gets infected with malware, other websites can get infected too. That can happen if the server’s security isn’t configured properly.
Another problem that arises with shared hosting is the amount of resources. Since all sites share the server resources, a surprise surge in traffic on one website can cause other websites on the server to go down.
If a site continues to use up more than its share of server resources, the web host can terminate the account. Similarly, if a site continually receives massive amounts of spam or creates other problems for the server, it can be taken down until the site owner resolves the problem.
As such, shared hosting is best suited for small websites with low traffic. For many website owners, shared hosting is more than enough.
But if you’re planning to scale small businesses, your website will grow and evolve with you. In other words, you’ll soon outgrow your shared hosting.
A dedicated hosting plan might be just what you need when that happens. It gives you practically unlimited opportunities to scale your site, maintain privacy and have complete control over every aspect of the site.
Since only your website is hosted on a web server with dedicated hosting, all the server resources and server configurations are yours to use as you need.
You’re free to install any software you want and manage your site in a way that makes the most sense for you and your business.
Similar to shared hosting, dedicated hosting packages vary in terms of support and maintenance they offer. Typically, the service provider takes responsibility for maintaining the server while the owner controls the setup and running of the site.
Dedicated hosting eliminates the problems that go along with shared hosting. Since no other sites share your server, there’s no risk of exposure to malware, viruses or other problems from neighboring sites.
And since all the dedicated server’s resources are available to you at all times, your site benefits from improved speed and load times to stability.
Dedicated hosting gives you almost complete control over the management of your sites.
But that’s not the only benefit of a dedicated hosting plan. Hosting companies that offer dedicated hosting plans also offer robust, round-the-clock technical support if you run into problems.
What’s more, you can scale your website as needed and continue to add necessary features as the needs of your website grow.
For example, you can easily install additional security and privacy protection to ensure your website is completely safe. That is a big plus if your site handles a lot of sensitive data.
However, all the services and resources included in a dedicated hosting plan come at a relatively high price compared to shared hosting.
Depending on the service package, dedicated hosting can cost hundreds and even thousands of dollars a year. Still, that kind of hosting provides the speed, security and scalability that offers a significant return on investment.
As such, dedicated hosting is best suited for large and corporate websites with millions of visitors and views.
Now that you know the difference between shared hosting vs. dedicated hosting, you might be wondering which one you should choose.
If you’re just getting started or have a small website, then shared hosting is a good place to start. It’s also a good choice if you don’t expect your site to grow significantly over a short period.
But as your site grows, or if you’re planning a complex, resource-intensive website for a larger enterprise, a dedicated hosting environment can offer the features you need for security, stability and scaling for the future.
No matter what, Bluehost will be there to help you every step of the way. Check out our hosting services and give your business the reliable website support it needs to thrive.