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Website Hosting- Shared vs. dedicated hosting

Setting up your own website can be a challenge.  Before you even begin designing your site, it’s important to ensure you do not make a mistake in your website hosting choices.  To the amateur, it may seem like all service providers are offering the same product- hosting for your website.  But in reality, cheaper is not always better and there are some important points to consider outside of the price tag alone.

What makes website hosting cost just a few dollars a month on one service provider and significantly more on the next?  What you are probably seeing is the difference between shared hosting and dedicated hosting.  Below we will take a closer look at the benefits of each, so you can find exactly what you need for your particular website.

Shared hosting is the most commonly used form of hosting for smaller websites that expect to get a minimal amount of hits per month.  It is significantly more affordable due to the fact you are sharing a server with multiple other websites.  For just a few dollars a month you will likely get your domain name, design tools and email capabilities, which is all the average small to medium sized website will need to be successful.  Be sure to look at the fine print, and find an option that allows unlimited disk space and monthly transfers to avoid hidden costs down the road as your website grows.

While shared hosting is by far the most popular option due to its low cost, the trade off is in the lack of control you have over the server.  If one of the other websites hosted on the shared server sees a huge increase in traffic, it can negatively affect the performance of your own website.

A dedicated hosting plan is a bit more complex.  The server that hosts your website hosts your site alone.  You can choose between managing your own server in your home or place of business or having your service provider house and maintain the server for you.  If your website is very popular you will most likely want to choose a dedicated hosting solution as you have the ability for near unlimited traffic.  The actions of other websites will not affect your site, making it much more stable for your fans.

Regardless of whether you choose to buy or lease your dedicated server, there is a significant investment to be made.  Aside from the initial cost of the equipment there is maintenance to consider.  You will choose the operating system that will run your server, customize your tool sets, file structures, programming languages and special features.  A dedicated server is generally not a task you will want to undertake unless you have the knowledge to properly maintain it, however if you do a dedicated server is a powerful tool than can be an excellent investment over the shared hosting options.

You should carefully consider the needs of your website, and find the solution that best meets those needs.  As with any investment it is best to check the reliability and customer satisfaction of the service provider you choose.