Dedicated servers are very attractive, and for good reason: who doesn’t want their own private server somewhere with all the hardware and software issues managed for them? All that space, bandwidth, and computing power sounds good when you’re looking for ways to spread your ideas or business to the world. There is, however, one considerable drawback: The price tag.
Let’s take a look at some hosting sites and see what I mean. LiquidWeb’s cheapest dedicated server solution begins at 189$ a month, a price similar to Fastserver.net’s 198$ a month or LayeredTech’s 169$ a month. All of those are the cheapest packages, providing only basic service and limited setup options. For an individual blogger or gung-ho startup, those are pretty rough prices. Most likely bloggers or startups are only going to use a fraction of that computing power and bandwidth, essentially throwing away the rest of their money each month.
If only there were a way to pay a fraction of the price for a fraction of the power…
Shared hosting to save the day! If you’re someone who doesn’t expect their website to generate tons of traffic or need beefy computing power, shared hosting may be the way to go for you. Basically, shared hosting is a service that allowed multiple websites to share a single server. Access to the server is usually controlled by an easy-to-use web interface, and many hosts even have services that install applications like Joomla or WordPress for you. Most of the time the price is right, too: LiquidWeb’s cheapest shared hosting solution, for example, is just 14.95$ a month. That’s a far cry from 189$, and if your website doesn’t need the bandwidth your wallet will definitely thank you.
There are downsides, however, to shared hosting. The first is obviously the limited resource capacity; you’re sharing computing power with other sites and sometimes it shows. Though uncommon, it’s possible that the company can mismanage resources and cause your site to be slow to load due to another site’s traffic load or vice versa. Access to the server is also extremely limited; you normally have no access to the actual system itself, and you are constrained by whatever software limits the administrators of the server chooses to impose upon you.
So is it for you? If you’re a small-time blogger or business owner that doesn’t need tons of computing power or customized applications and configurations, shared hosting might be ideal for you. If you’re a business owner running a customized eCommerce software solution (or just a mischievious tinker!) who needs the flexibility of a dedicated server but can’t afford it, a virtual private server, the next installment of our starter server series, might be the best fit for you!