What is hosting exactly?
Well, we can think of it like this — if you run a retail business, you might want a brick-and-mortar store where your customers can interact with your products.
But where will this store be?
You will need to purchase or rent premises in which to locate the store, perhaps in a standalone building or in a large-scale shopping centre with lots of other stores. This is a little like web hosting — the host server provides the digital “real estate” for your website.
The hosting environment is critical to your web development project. As your website scales, you may need more data storage and application deployment capability, and your hosting provider will need to be able to accommodate this. More complex development projects may require flexible and agile hosting options, although these may be more difficult and expensive to manage than a simpler solution.
To put it simply, there are different types of hosting models available to your business.
So, which one is right for you? Let’s dive in.
What is shared & dedicated hosting?
Hosting models can be broken down into various categories, shared, managed, dedicate… In this guide, we look at the differences between shared and dedicated hosting.
Let’s take a closer look at what this means.
- Shared hosting
Shared hosting refers to hosting your website on a shared server. As you might expect, this means you will be sharing the server resources with other websites run by other businesses. While you will be sharing resources, you will still have your own specifically partitioned area of the server. Think of it like the retail premises we mentioned above — you might share the shopping centre, but you have your own dedicated unit.
- Unshared (dedicated) hosting
Unshared hosting involves developing and deploying your website on a dedicated server that is reserved exclusively for your business. You control all the resources and configurations. We can think of this as similar to a standalone store — a retail premises that is all by itself, outside the shopping centre, with its own utility connections and other resources.
The pros and cons of shared hosting
- Shared hosting tends to be the more affordable option
If you are looking for an affordable hosting solution, a shared model is likely to be the best choice for you. This is because you don’t need to pay for a standalone solution or your own dedicated resources. Instead, you share these resources with other business owners, bringing the cost down.
- You may find this option more convenient and accessible
You may find the idea of purchasing a vast, dedicated hosting environment a little overwhelming, especially when your business is still in its early stages. With a shared hosting solution, you will have a far more accessible entry point to the hosting you need. You can always scale up your hosting option later as your business scales and your needs grow.
- For smaller-scale businesses, shared hosting may be more manageable
Shared hosting providers will generally offer a range of user-friendly hosting options. This is great news for business owners who lack the high-level background required to properly configure and manage a host server. With the right option, you will be able to leverage features that support high levels of performance and security for your website without needing to handle the more technical aspects of development.
- You will enjoy limited customisation and personalisation
Many hosting providers will be able to add customisation and flexibility as part of your hosting subscription. On a basic level, this may include scalability — the ability to draw upon resources as and when your website requires them. However, hosting providers may offer other customisation, too, including hybrid hosting options and containerised application deployment to achieve optimised web performance.
- You will need to share resources
Bear in mind that you will need to share your hosting resources with other business owners. While virtualisation and partitioning can provide you with a dedicated area on the server, remember that this server will still only have a finite amount of resources to draw upon and you will need to share these. This may lead to problems, especially as your business and your website grow.
- Scalability is not guaranteed
Because resources are finite, the hosting provider may not be able to guarantee scalability. The provider will let you pay for more space and more support on the server, but only if this is available. If the provider cannot offer this additional capacity, your business may find itself restricted.
- There may be some anxiety regarding security
One major concern for shared hosting users is security. If another website on your shared server is breached or compromised, this may leave your business at risk. Your hosting provider should implement security solutions to achieve redundancy between separate units on the server, but this may not be enough to completely eliminate security vulnerabilities.
- Customisation may be limited
While your hosting provider should be able to offer some customisation capability, this is likely to be limited. In effect, this is a trade-off for your website — the hosting option will be easy to manage, but you won’t have too much freedom to tailor it to your needs.
The pros and cons of dedicated hosting
- Complete control over the hosting configuration
This is one of the main benefits of a dedicate hosting option — you gain total control over configuration. This means you can personalise the hosting server to meet your specific needs perfectly.
- Security and redundancy
As you are not sharing the server’s resources with anyone else, you can enjoy more peace of mind when it comes to security. You will be using a standalone server, so it will be 100% redundant.
- Resources are wholly your own
Unlike with a shared server — upon which you will need to compromise and align your resource needs to those of other business owners — you maintain complete control over resources.
- Easy to scale and plan for the future
With so much control and almost unlimited scalability, it becomes much easier to plan for the future. While a shared hosting provider may not be able to provide guarantees on scalability, this should not be the case on your own dedicated server.
- Requires a strong coding and development background
As you will have complete control over the hosting solution, you will need to know what you are doing if you are to get the best from the solution. This may make an dedicated hosting solution unsuitable for those without a background in coding.
- May require high capital outlay
It’s likely that you will need to pay more to set up an dedicated hosting model, compared to a shared one. This might put dedicated hosting out of the reach of smaller businesses.
- Difficult ongoing management
Remember, you will be in charge of every aspect of your hosting solution, and this may make ongoing management difficult.
- You are responsible for scalability
While you will be able to scale your hosting solution, you will be responsible for planning and implementing this. Make sure your team has the required competency to handle this responsibility, or work with a web design agency who can help you with this.
Shared vs dedicated hosting: The difference
Choosing a shared or dedicated hosting model really depends on your resources, your background and importantly, your needs.
If you have the skill and resources required to manage an dedicated hosting model on an ongoing basis, this option will certainly provide you with more flexibility and security. But even with an unlimited budget, there’s no need to get a Ferrari to walk the ten steps to get next door.
On the other hand, if budgets are tight and you lack a highly skilled, highly experienced web dev team, shared hosting may be more suitable.
Hybrid solutions – shared hosting on dedicated servers
To connect with the security, flexibility and customisation benefits of an dedicated server without needing to handle all the development and management yourself, Kicking Pixels partners with reputable partners and offers a range of website hosting plans to support the need of the website being hosted. With our own dedicated servers, we know who is using it, and how much of the resources are being used by each site. By being proactive, our hosting plans provide the benefits of dedicated hosting plans at a fraction of the cost.
Reach out to our team today and discover more about what we can do for you and for your websites.