The Internet offers a world of possibilities for very little outlay. A cheap domain name costs in the region of around $10, while a shared web hosting account, with “unlimited domains” and “unlimited bandwidth” can cost as little as $5 a month – not much to start up the next big thing on the Internet! The rest, as they say, is just your time and talent. But if your time and talent pays off in any way at all, you might wake one morning to find a blank screen where your digital baby used to be, and at that stage you might become only too aware of the limitations of a shared web hosting account.
The Limitations of Shared Web Hosting
Although the promise of “unlimited bandwidth” at a nominal fee is very enticing, the reality of the situation is that promise has parameters. A shared web hosting account is as the name suggests – shared. Your website might sit on a server alongside upwards of 3000 other websites, all plying for the resources a server has to offer. A successful website by definition has more visitors, and therefore uses more bandwidth and server resources, and at that stage overuse of resources can become “disruptive” as far as the other accounts on the server are concerned. Although to be fair, it doesn’t often happen that often, as I recently found out to my cost, a shared hosting account can be suspended simply because you have websites that receive enough visitors that your account starts monopolizing a server’s resources at the cost of other accounts.
The Benefits of Dedicated Web Hosting
What then is the answer for successful websites? The solution would be to cast away the shackles of shared resources and head in the direction of a dedicated server. As this name suggests, a dedicated server is yours – all of the server’s resources are dedicated to your websites as none are shared with other accounts. This means your websites can utilize all of the CPU and RAM available to the server and you can accommodate as many visitors as the Internet can provide. The result is a better user experience and peace of mind as far as you are concerned – dedicated hosting is the only approach to hosting that offers real reliability and genuine guaranteed uptime.
Alongside dedicated resources a dedicated server offers a range of other advantages. Simply put, you are in control. As websites grow, they often become more sophisticated. As such, it might prove that you might require custom built or otherwise ‘unique’ software that shared hosting accounts simply cannot cater for. Shared hosting often has configuration limitations, and when your sites need very specific configurations, dedicated hosting becomes a practical solution. Dedicated hosting offers Root Access, and this means you can install any software and customize a server in any fashion you require, and that again equates to reliability and uptime as far as your visitors are concerned.
The Disadvantages of Dedicated Web Hosting
What then could be the downside of dedicated hosting? Well, not least the cost – renting a dedicated server is substantially more expensive than shared hosting. A quick search on HostSearch.com shows “cheap” dedicated servers are around the $50 a month mark, while a more realistic mark for a quality dedicated hosting solution is likely to be in excess of $200 a month. Then, of course, there is the technical aspect of utilizing a dedicated server. For instance, do you know the difference between dual or quad core? Along with the myriad of additional capabilities that come with a dedicated server is the need to know how to use them - there is a significant difference between the technical knowhow required to operate a shared hosting account and managing a dedicated server. If there is a gap in your knowledge, it might be necessary to engage a web host’s services to help with your server management and maintenance, or you might have to employ staff to assist you, and that of course means additional cost.
So, what’s the decision…
If your website is getting enough traffic that you can’t rely on shared hosting anymore, then you have to do something. Although there are a range of hosting alternatives available to you, none will offer you complete control and none will dedicate a server’s entire resources to your websites. If your revenue can justify the additional expense, and you can either invest time in acquiring the knowledge you need to operate a dedicated server, or cover the costs of management/someone to look after your hardware, then a dedicated solution would be by far the best solution. And with all that additional power at your disposal, who knows, your website might really become the next big thing on the Internet.