Picking The Right Hosting Plan : Shared vs Dedicated vs Virtual

By : Arundhati   Date : 04 Dec 2009
When you enter the world of hosting for the first time, you get tangled between hundreds of words, hundreds of definitions and you are at your wits end trying to figure out what would best suit your requirement – a shared hosting, a dedicated server, virtual private web server or collocation. At least this was what I went through at my first step into the hosting world. With the current trend, the flavors of web hosting are multiplying geometrically leading to confusions of selection.
Shared web hosting: Let us start with shared hosting. In shared web hosting several websites are hosted in a single server and enjoys the same facilities from the web host without knowing the owners of each website personally. A fixed bandwidth and disk space is allocated in this type of hosting and all the features and services of that particular server is enjoyed by all the customers who host their sites from that particular server.
The most important thing about shared web hosting is its cost effectiveness, the freedom from maintaining the server and the facility to avail the software services that are already installed in the server software. But the major drawbacks include low security level, resource limitation and the fact that a technical problem in some web sites of the same server will affect other sites as they share the same CPU, hard drive and other system services.
Is it for you?: Shared web hosting is the best option for first timers. It is also suitable for those website owners who need to focus on their web businesses with digging into the kernel of the host servers. Also a better option for low-key sites without much access to the server resources and also for those who require a personal email id, for example email@companyname.com.
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Dedicated web hosting: In dedicated web hosting, the client leases the entire server, without sharing with anyone, and so they have an autonomous control over the server, from operating system to hardware, enabling them to install and provide a secure environment for their site.
So what comes as a direct benefit from dedicated web hosting is control and reliability. When it comes to the repairing services, in dedicated web hosting you can interfere on your host’s repair services and provide solutions. You can even upgrade software, add patches or pluck performances with a 24 hour access to everything.

Dedicated servers fastens the loading of web pages and thus increasing the trafficking, strengthening the company’s image. And the direct disadvantage is the cost. But this disadvantage can also be overlooked as the cost is decreasing with the rising sun of the hosting industry. Another thing which can be counted as a drawback is the knowledge of technicalities that is required.
Is it for you?:  Dedicated servers are best suitable for dedicated hosting resellers, web designers and developers, enterprise-level sites, mission critical sites with their needs of custom server management and software implementation, complicated sites with rich traffic and protected information, corporate intranets, content restricted sites. It is also a better option for someone looking for third party applications as dedicated servers provide complete control.
VPS hosting: Virtual private server hosting is the intermediate between shared web hosting and dedicated web hosting. In virtual private servers a developer secures space on a server and has shared access to the server’s features. Virtual hosting can be IP-based or name-based, i.e. it can have different IP addresses for every website or multiple names running on each IP address. The host server analyzes the ‘name’ by which it is being called upon and then responds as per the name, keeping the visitor in dark about the fact that they are running on a single server.

The advantages of a VPS hosting service include more security as compared to shared web hosting and cost effectiveness as compared to dedicated servers. Other than that, a technical problem in the site hosted in the same server does not hamper the other sites of the same server as they are well partitioned. A virtual private server account is allotted with certain percentage of system resources which obstructs other accounts from grabbing the entire system resource. The main disadvantage is the extra memory required as each account holder runs their applications within the allotted resources and space. At the same time you must be well aware of the nitty-gritty of hosting.
Is it for you?: If you are not ready to bear the expenses of dedicated server, and the disadvantages of shared hosting are worrying you, then virtual private server are the solution. The expenses are lesser than dedicated servers and at the same time you don’t confront the disadvantages of shared web hosting. Best suitable for complicated and high trafficked sites that are unable or reluctant to bear heavy expenses, virtual private servers stand between the two extremes.
Co-location: In collocation hosting the customer buys his own server which is installed at the hosts datacenter. It is like leasing space from a professional datacenter. Collocation is basically for mission critical online applications and data-serving, which need a direct control over the hardware configuration of the server. The hosting company deals with environmental details and maintains the internet connection whereas the customer is responsible for the server’s upkeep.
Owning a server can be counted as its first advantage. To add to that other advantages include mobility as you are free from the tangles of intricacies regarding backups and restores. The fact that you are responsible and accountable for any twist in the server can be counted as its major drawback.
Is it for you?: It is the best option for websites that require custom software and hardware configurations, load-balancing and clustering and other advanced functions, i.e. for sites that thrive for power and resource.
Now it is up to you to decide what flavor of hosting to choose…….
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