Shared Hosting vs Dedicated Hosting: What’s the Difference?

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on January 7, 2020

So, what is the difference between a shared hosting plan vs. a dedicated hosting plan?

Top 2 Differences of Shared Hosting vs. Dedicated Hosting

Cost

On a shared hosting plan, the server’s resources are shared among several users – so operating costs are divided up among the users. This makes being on a shared server more affordable. Because a dedicated server is dedicated solely to one user, it costs more. However – there can be great benefits to a dedicated server!

Security

One a dedicated hosting, since your website is the only user, there are fewer chances to acquire viruses, malware and spyware because of poor neighbors and misconfigured security. While it seems counter intuitive, there is actually a higher risk of attack vectors being exploited through shared servers. As the adage goes: “Good fences make good neighbors,” and your own dedicated server is the ultimate “fence.”

To have a website, you need the “land” that it sits on – which is your hosting provider. It’s important to know what you are getting. I only host sites that I design due to the fact that in designing them, I know what is going on with the structure and content of the site and what has been done. I am extremely vigilant in making sure everything is working correctly with my clients’ websites.

No matter where your website is hosted, it’s important you know how to protect yourself and get the best out of your website.  Security and maintenance are extremely important.

First, before we dive too deep into shared vs. dedicated hosting, let’s take a look at what hosting really is.

What exactly is hosting? 

Like I mentioned above, think of hosting as the piece of land that a house is built on. Without the land, the house would have no foundation. Hosting is the foundation of your website. In order to publish your website online, your business website requires a web hosting service. There are two types of hosting that I want to discuss here. But before we dive in, let’s talk for a minute about hosting companies.

Web Hosting Companies

When you get a web hosting plan, you are borrowing a bit of one of the company’s computers (or a whole one, sometimes). This lets you put the files and software needed to run your website somewhere that it can easily be accessed by anyone who wants to view it.

To make this easier for you, they also provide tools for managing your piece of the computer and for building and running your website.

When you use a web hosting company for your website, your website isn’t in a cloud somewhere or floating in an alternate dimension. It is a collection of real, actual computer files sitting on a real actual computer somewhere, in a real building.

Take for example, Squarespace. They provide the hosting for you and when you build your website (i.e. your house), Squarespace takes care of all the maintenance, updates, security, backups, storage of your actual site, the bandwidth – meaning how much traffic can your website handle at one time. This usually isn’t an issue for the small business entrepreneur, however it is something to consider. Squarespace, and other platforms like this, such as Wix and Showit (which is pretty popular these days), they are all considered shared hosting, and that’s one reason why the cost can remain fairly low.

What is Shared Hosting?

With shared hosting, several web hosting customers (i.e you) share the same computer. All of the websites of all the different accounts are stored in the same drive, processed by the same CPU, and delivered by the same web server.

The upside is that it is significantly less than other hosting plans – usually between $3-$5 a month if you are in need of your own hosting provider, and slightly more if you go with a platform like Squarespace. Yes, it doesn’t cost much at all, but there are costly issues that could be potentially dangerous for your website.

The downside: Your website is on a shared platform, which means that you share your “land” with other websites and you are all competing for the same resources. You are also subject to “bad neighbors” in that if someone else’s website is compromised, yours could be too.

No matter how careful you are in securing your web applications, other people might leave their software vulnerable to attack and provide an entry point for attacks that affect your site as well.

Also, you share the same IP address with other sites on the same server. If one of them is using their account to send spam email, or is engaging in other bad behavior, you may find your sites being blocked by email filters and content firewalls.

So, for example, when you use WordPress to build your website, you are responsible for finding your own hosting provider and maintaining your own site. There’s different ways to go about it and the cost is a factor, but in the end, your hosting provider will take care of some things and you are taking care of all the rest, like updating themes and plugins and maintaining your site’s health and wellness. Yes, your website needs to be taken care of and treated with love, or you will find yourself disgruntled and frustrated by issues that arise.

If you choose a shared server through your hosting company, you could potentially run into problems down the road, and you are ultimately responsible for issues that on your website. Do you want all that technical stuff messing with your time and energy?

What is a Dedicated Hosting?

A dedicated server is essentially a rented computer that is available to one customer alone. And yep, that would be you! You have your own piece of land and while you are responsible for the upkeep and security of your land,  with the right hosting company, this can prove to be very beneficial and take a lot of the frustration and burden of your plate as a small business entrepreneur.

Dedicated servers can be an expensive solution (relatively speaking), but it also gives you peace of mind that your website is secure and has the ability to grow with you. Dedicated plans can run anywhere from $70-$80 a month up to $200+ a month. Whoa! Say what! Most small-business, creative entrepreneurs will stay away from these types of plans because of the cost. It is quite a hefty monthly expense when you are a one-woman show (or small team) and operating your business on a responsible budget.

And this is exactly why I have partnered with a wonderful company called FlyWheel to provide Managed Dedicated Hosting to my web design clients for under $50 a month. My Essentials Plan has the security and maintenance that you need for your WordPress website and a personal troubleshooter – ME! ? 

Access A Free Guide

The price you pay for managed hosting is 100% worth it compared to bottom-of-the-barrel shared hosting solutions! I’m sharing five reasons why managed hosting is the way to go!

Benefits of JoLi Design Solutions’ Monthly Care Plans

  1. Dedicated servers for a faster, more reliable website 
  2. 100% Uptime Guarantees: Dedicated FlyWheel staff monitor your website 24/7 to immediately fix any issues causing downtime and alert me of any potential issues.
  3. A dedicated person you can contact for immediate assistance with your website. Special email and quick turnaround time for VIP Clients
  4. Security features like SSL certificates and hardware firewalls to protect your website from hackers
  5. Detailed logging of threats and security actions
  6. Managed databases for peak performance and speed
  7. Complete backup and storage solutions, including disaster recovery

Do you maintain your own website? Do you have questions about hosting and what how to know if your websiet is secure? Share in the comments. This is a big deal for most small business entrepreneurs and not knowing what you can get for your money is doing a disservice to you. Let’s get your website healthy!

Lisa M. Williams

Lisa M. Williams

Owner & Designer

Welcome! I’m Lisa Williams, a former teacher turned website designer and am highly adept to swimming in the deep and navigating the “website waters”. With over 10 years of designing websites for my three businesses, and others, I’m here to take the vision you have for your business, and design your website so you can attract the dream clients you desire.

You deserve to share your gift and what better way to do that than to have a strategic, professional website that converts visitors to clients.

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