The shared v dedicated topic is very similar to renting office space. Is the entire building occupied only by your organisation? This is dedicated hosting. Or does the building accommodate lots of different organisations, each with keys to their own offices? This is shared hosting.
This is because the entire server belongs to you, therefore you can better control (lock-down, limit) security accordingly. On a shared server, multiple organisations have their own accesses to different parts of the same server. Those organisations will be running software that you have no control over, and which may or may not be regularly security patched.
If the server is properly configured and professionally managed, then the difference should be small. Therefore you should NOT consider shared hosting to be inherently insecure.
That said, if security is a top priority for your organisation – e.g. because you store or transmit content that could be considered somewhat confidential or sensitive – then lean towards dedicated hosting.
Dedicated hosting is more stable than shared hosting. By “stable” we mean that your site or sites on your dedicated server are less likely to be negatively impacted (e.g. slowed down) by the activities of other websites, owned by other organisations, on the same shared server.
For example, let’s say there are other websites on a shared server that have large disk storage needs, and have very high peaks of visitors at certain times, ad-hoc or regular. This might slow your site down when:
- Backups are running (typically overnight) and/or
- All those visitors are hitting those other sites.
If your organisation has a mission-critical website, and wants to keep downtime/sluggishness to a minimum, lean towards dedicated.
Unless you’re comparing a very expensive shared hosting account with a very economical dedicated hosting account, then shared hosting will always be cheaper than dedicated hosting. Sometimes quite significantly, because you’re sharing the server costs between lots of organisations.
If you’re just starting out, highly price-sensitive, and/or an SME, lean towards shared hosting.
Does your organisation have any specialist software or hosting requirements? For example:
- You need your site(s) to be backed up every hour, when normally it would be daily.
- You need to allow custom 3rd party access – systems or people – to your site(s)
- You want to run special software on your site, but additional non-standard server software must first be installed to support it.
On a shared server, some of the above may not be possible, i.e. it might be against the policy guidelines of the server administrators to accommodate certain custom change requests.
Itomic offers both shared and dedicated hosting services, all based in Australia. You can see our shared hosting packages here. We customise dedicated hosting services to your individual requirements, and price accordingly. Most of the websites we service and support are hosted on our own infrastructure, but that’s not a prerequisite for working with us on your next online project.
Still not sure? We’d love to chat.
More about website hosting at Wikipedia.