If you are in the process of launching an ecommerce website, the question of whether you need a shared or dedicated server is one of the first you will need to answer. There are good reasons for going with both, but before making a decision, you need to understand the differences between the two.
A shared server is basically what it sounds like—a server that shares space among multiple websites. The basic idea of a shared server is that many websites do not consume enough bandwidth to merit an entire server all on their own. A single server may house hundreds or even thousands of websites.
Many smaller ecommerce websites choose shared servers because of several key benefits:
· Lower cost – Shared servers are incredibly cost effective. You can find website hosting plans for as low as five dollars a month in some cases.
· Ease of use – Shared servers are easy to set up and get started with. You don’t have to have much tech knowledge at all to get your website up and running quickly.
· Same benefits – With a shared server you can still enjoy advantages like top level domain names, database services, and a unique IP address.
There are disadvantages to shared servers, however:
· Limited bandwidth – Because your website is sharing bandwidth with multiple websites, if you see a sudden boost in traffic you could see performance issues. This is a problem especially with “value” hosts that may store your site with a large number of other sites.
· Security issues – If you deal with sensitive information, a shared server could put you at an increased risk of data theft.
Dedicated servers are servers that are dedicated solely to your website. You are in complete control of what is put onto the server, and you can decide whether you want to host a single web domain or multiple. Dedicated servers are used by larger ecommerce website because of the stability and flexibility they offer.
Benefits of dedicated servers:
· More control – If you have a dedicated server, you can do exactly what you want with databases, email addresses, and applications.
· More bandwidth – High traffic websites benefit from a dedicated server because it allows them to have as much bandwidth as they need.
· Higher cost – The primary drawback of dedicated hosting is its cost, both in terms of monthly fees and paying for the IT expertise necessary to maintain the server.
Which Should You Choose?
If you are just starting out, you may choose to go with shared hosting to save money until you establish your web presence. Make sure that if you go this route, you sign up with a reputable hosting service that has near-100 percent uptime and good reviews. You get what you pay for in many instances.
If your brand is already well-established, however, it’s probably worth it to spend the extra money for a dedicated server. You’ll have more control over your website, and you will be able to give your customers a better user experience.
John Hodge is a writer for RackMountPro. When he’s not writing he loves computers and everything related to them, gaming and spending time with his family. In addition to selling Linus and Windows servers. RackMountPro has been producing and selling rackmount servers and storage since 2001.