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Shared Website Hosting versus Dedicated?

Feb 25, 2008
There are two basic types of web hosting packages, shared website hosting and dedicated website hosting. I will explain what the terms mean and how to choose an appropriate type of hosting for your website.

Websites are stored on servers which are nothing more than special networked computers that respond to data requests over the internet. A web site that uses dedicated hosting has the server all to itself. This means that all the resources of the server as well as the IP address are unique to that website. Shared website hosting, on the other hand, places several websites on the same server, all of them sharing resources and the same IP address.

Shared website hosting is much cheaper than dedicated hosting because the cost of operating the server is split between many different customers. Shared hosting is available for as little as $2 a month but dedicated hosting could cost up to $100 a month or more.


As we mentioned above, websites that share a single server are sharing all the resources of that computer. This includes disk space and bandwidth as well as the IP address. In order to provide adequate service to all sites on a server, your host will limit each site to a certain amount of disk space and bandwidth used per month. Sites that exceed these limits may have to pay a hefty penalty.

Since each server has a limited amount of bandwidth, the amount of traffic your neighbors receive can affect how quickly your website is displayed. Each request coming in to the server is dealt with in the order it was received, so if there is a large queue, there will be a long wait. The number of sites that are sharing a particular server is not as important as the amount of traffic each site receives. A server hosting 200 low traffic sites will respond much faster than one which has 50 sites that are receiving a lot of visitors.

There are some risks associated with shared website hosting. If one of your neighbors runs a badly programmed script that runs amok the entire server could be affected. In extreme cases this could cause your site to be inaccessible for a time. Another risk is that if one of your neighbors is banned from search engines (for spamming tactics, for example) it could affect everyone sharing that IP address. Check with your hosting company to see their policy about third-party scripts and inappropriate activity.


With a dedicated server all the resources are yours to use as you please. You can use it to host a single site or multiple sites. Companies with large complex websites that receive a lot of traffic need to have dedicated hosting. Sites that use a dedicated server are also free to run any kind of script they wish. This may be ideal for those who are developing new scripts and need to test them without affecting other websites.

Small websites are usually better off with shared website hosting. The cost is more affordable especially for small companies and individuals. A reputable host will be careful not to allow activities that could jeopardize your site. Large complicated sites that receive more than 1000 visitors a day are better off with dedicated hosting. It is also a good choice for developers who wish to experiment with new Internet technologies.
About the Author
Juel Moen is author and advisor of the wildly popular information site - Website-Hosting-Advisor
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