Shared or Dedicated Server? How to Choose Between the Two


Starting a website can be complicated to a beginner, especially if you’re not familiar with the technicalities of online information systems and digital technology. Perhaps even choosing a server is a daunting task for you. When choosing between a shared and dedicated server, here are some things to remember.

What’s the Difference Between the Two?

The main difference between the two is the number of websites they serve. A shared server, as the name implies, is shared by numerous websites. In most cases, shared servers have 1,000 or more users. This does not immediately identify traffic, though.

For instance, a major website like Huffington Post receives around 100 million unique visitors per month, and it’s easy to say that they have their own digital information system with an in-house server. In other words, they have a dedicated server built by their own team. Most websites don’t even have 1% of the unique monthly visitors this big e-magazine site has.

A shared server may have 1,000 users but if each user only generates less than 1,000 unique page views per month, they are only generating as much traffic as Huffington Post as a whole. Some sites don’t even have this many unique visitors.

A dedicated server is the complete opposite of the shared one. A single server is provided to you and you alone, and you can use its maximum capacity without having to deal with co-users who complain about their sites getting slower. Paying for a dedicated server is much easier instead of building your own, unless you have the time, tools, resources, and knowledge to set it up.

How do you decide between the two?

Choose a Shared Server If…

•   You have a small website
•   You don’t intend to add all kinds of sophisticated codes and elements in your site
•   You’re using your website for basic blogging
•   You have a low budget
•   You don’t mind sharing storage with other users
•   You’re not savvy and you just want to keep your website’s accessibility

Choose a Dedicated Server If…

•   You have a big website and a shared server is no longer enough to keep it operational
•   You have a membership website with more than 100 registrants
•   You have an online shop with many products
•   Your business is SaaS (software as a service)
•   You want to get root access to your website
•   You want to use complicated code and script on your website
•   You get a lot of visitors and you want to increase your website loading time

When it comes to deciding which server to use, it all boils down to the type of website you’re running. A shared server may be affordable and secure, but it might not match the specific needs of your website. Likewise, a dedicated server may have all the added benefits, but if you don’t need them, what good would they be?

If you’re not sure how to proceed, ask the hosting company that you want to purchase from. They will be able to help you understand the real features of these servers and how your website can benefit from them. That way, you will be able to weigh your options wisely and choose the best option specifically for your business.

Author bio:

Maude Doggett is graduate from San Diego State University, with a Bachelor’s in Computer Science and Public Relations.  In her free time she enjoys freelance writing about exercising, discounts and shopping, food and dieting and many more.