Choosing a web hosting plan that matches your business needs can be a very tricky affair as the various plans and unlimited offers offered by many companies are attractive yet baffling. Opting a suitable plan also demands utmost diligence, as the various factors like present and future of the business, ongoing and expected network traffic, budget, overall turnover and return on investment comes into the picture. Needless to say, the technicalities and the associated merits and demerits concerning the difference between shared, dedicated & cloud web hosting could also leave an amount of confusion.
The following is a simple guide that shed light on the differences between major hosting methods and is devised to help you choose a hosting plan that matches all your business needs.
Shared Hosting
A shared hosting, as the name implies, is a simple hosting method where the resources of a physical server are shared among various users. In other words, hosting companies provide a space on a server where your website can coexist with other websites. A fixed amount of disk space, bandwidth and basic security measures are provided in shared hosting.
Dedicated Hosting
In dedicated hosting, the entire resources of a physical server are dedicated to the smooth functioning of a single website. A dedicated hosting can be easily configurable, reliable and easily customizable to achieve the specific needs of the website.
Cloud Hosting
Cloud hosting happens when more than one dedicated servers are connected to the cloud and the resources required for the hosted websites are used up as per need basis. Cloud hosting provides the advantages of scalability and reliability and also ensures more uptimes to websites.
Both three hosting methods have its own advantages and disadvantages. Now, we can break down the various elements of these hosting methods to get an idea of which hosting methods is an ideal suite for your specific needs.


Shared Hosting:
The basic nature of shared hosting makes it an ideal choice for static as well as dynamic websites with moderate traffic. As the entire resources of the physical server are shared among users in shared hosting, chances are high that your website may be adversely affected by the activities of the many unknown websites hosted in the same server. That is; If you are experiencing high-quality traffic; shared hosting may not provide the necessary performance you are expecting.
For example: If a website hosted in a shared server that you are also being hosted, runs a successful marketing campaign and attracts a huge amount of visitors, then the server lend its resources to manage that huge incoming traffic. This scenario may play well for the concerned website, but it may cause you and others websites hosted in the server to end up having very limited resources and the thousands of visitors coming to your website will experience slow loading pages. This situation may also ultimately results in your website facing considerable downtime.
There can also be another scenario where hosting providers charge you extra if it is your website that surpasses the provided amount of resources.
In simple words, a website run on shared hosting makes it hard for you to be certain about performance. However, shared hosting is an ideal choice if you are a startup, blog or a small business that have very few traffic. But the decision to take up shared hosting should also depend upon the type and nature of the business you are having. That is: A startup or a small e-commerce website should be better off in a well managed dedicated hosting plan than in a shared server limited by resources.
Dedicated Hosting:
Since a dedicated web hosting plan uses a dedicated server and stores its data locally, it has an edge over the other two; as shared hosting is limited by resources and cloud hosting stores its data in the cloud and introduces delays in retrieving and processing information.
In normal conditions, dedicated hosting and cloud hosting comes in par on performance. But cloud servers need to access data from the Storage Area Network (SAN) and the requested data must be processed by a processor before it can be handled. This causes additional processing time (milliseconds), and cause delays when high computing and financial transactions are to be done. However, cloud hosting is as fast as dedicated servers for operations that don’t require high computing needs.
Since dedicated hosting stores data locally, and by configuring the server properly with additional resources, it can experience any amount of traffic with less frequent downtime. A business that experiences a huge amount of visitors can opt for dedicated hosting and can also take advantage of the locally accessible and customizable ample resources provided by dedicated hosting to ensure consistent speed and good user experience.
Cloud Hosting:
Cloud hosting is a fast and reliable hosting method leveraging the multiple physical servers connected to the cloud. Since cloud hosting store its data in multiple cloud servers, it needs to transfer and receive data in an organized manner. To maintain better performance and to prevent speed degradation while data transmission, a hypervisor is used to process data from the physical server resources. The data processed by the hypervisor add an extra layer of latency in addition to the processing time.
Since cloud hosting demands the processing of the data to be through the backend infrastructure, the request for the data to be processed has to be routed through the hypervisor and move through the allotted processor. This back and forth data transmission may result in considerable delays making it less attractive for doing high computing needs. However, cloud servers provide more room for customization in storage size, RAM and other resources for ensuring better performance.

Security & Control:

Shared Hosting:
The characteristics of shared hosting inherently make it less secure than other two hosting methods. As the websites in a shared server dwell in an ecosystem occupied by many others unknown websites, it attracts major concern, as a malicious script sourced from an illegitimate website hosted in the same server can cause havoc to all users in the server and may also ultimately result in the entire server to crash.
There can be another scenario where the websites that are being hosted on the same server may engage in malpractices causing the entire IP address of the server to get blacklisted. Businesses who use email as a primary communication method or who engage in email marketing campaigns may face loss as the email recipients may not receive important email updates.

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Shared hosting limits the amount of control on the backend server since it is managed by the hosting provider itself. Thus, advanced webmaster skills are not required for website owners. A few drawbacks are also concerned with shared hosting as certain kind of scripting language and files are restricted and Users are limited to have advanced applications and features.
Dedicated Hosting:
If security is your major concern, then dedicated hosting is the ideal choice as it gives you total control over your server and hence ensures better security. Webmaster skills are required to maintain a dedicated server.
But If an enterprise lacks the necessary technical knowledge and experience to manage such an account, then they can consult server management companies to maintain it for them at an affordable cost. Hiring a server management company can ease up the many problems that you may face and save much time. Round the clock server monitoring, security updates, and server hardening methods are done by server management companies, making it easy for businesses to concentrate on the core aspects of their business.
A dedicated server also helps webmasters to get root server access to make the necessary configuration for smooth functionality. Dedicated server has a unique IP address and the server can be configured to maintain data transmission only through the unique IP address. This helps to make the website and its data secure from malicious entities. Moreover, websites can also engage in email marketing campaigns in dedicated hosting without much worry about the IP address being blacklisted by other websites as in the case of shared hosting.
Cloud Hosting:
Dedicated hosting when compared comes fall short in reliability against cloud hosting, as it’s vested in a single server, while cloud stores its data on multiple servers. Any mechanical failure to the single dedicated server may result in down times until backup arrives for dedicated servers. While in the case of cloud hosting, even if one server crash or any mishaps happen, it remains functional with the same performance by lending resources from the other parts of the node until the issue is resolved.
Since cloud hosting stores it files in the cloud, you are putting all the sensitive data of your business to the cloud service provider and this calls for a security risk. However, cloud servers separate the data of different users to protect data privacy and security.

Bandwidth & Disc Space:

Shared Hosting:
Most web hosting companies have cheap shared hosting plans with their limited to unlimited bandwidth and disk space. However, every hosting plan has hidden limits up to which its resources and disk space can be utilized. You need to analyze your monthly bandwidth and disk space usage and then select a hosting plan that matches your numbers and decide if shared hosting works best for you.
Dedicated Hosting:
If you have growing traffic, then more bandwidth and disk space are required and in this case, dedicated hosting is the right choice for you. The performance in a dedicated web server is very fast and helps to serve the thousands of visitors flooding to your website at the same time. The locally stored data on a dedicated server helps to load all the elements of the page faster and this, in turn, helps to increases visitor retention and make way for better customer satisfaction.
The available bandwidth and disk space allocated to the server can be used without any limitations and the dedicated servers are easy to configure to match the needs of the website.
Cloud Hosting:
The major advantage of cloud hosting is it allows to manage peak loads easily by adding additional resources from the node. Moreover, cloud hosting also enables websites to use the resources as needed and this helps to maintain consistent speed and performance.


Shared Hosting:
The main reason to consider shared hosting is its attractive price tag which many startups and small businesses founders find affordable in their early stages. There are many web hosting providers who offer good plans at reasonable prices.
Dedicated Hosting:
The flexibility, reliability, and performance of dedicated web hosting make it very attractive and at the same time costly. Dedicated web hosting demands webmaster skills to manage technical issues. But, if you are a company who needs a team to manage your server, there are various outsourced server management companies with cheap server management plans to make things simpler for you.
Cloud Hosting:
Cloud hosting uses multiple dedicated servers to work and its billing is done by the consumed resources and the volume of traffic received. Cloud hosting gives room for businesses to grow and play beneficial for the fluctuating traffic experienced by websites. Since there are no monthly rentals, cloud hosting saves money when there is very less traffic on your website.
With all the advantages cloud hosting gained more users that the dedicated server hosting, the various advantages of very less downtime, scalability, reliability makes cloud hosting a very desirable hosting method.

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Key points of Shared, Dedicated and Cloud Hosting:

Shared Hosting:
The major advantages of Shared hosting are you can cut overall hosting costs to a bare minimum, helps to monitor and control the usage of resources like disk space, monthly traffic, email accounts and FTP accounts.
If you are a startup or small businesses; shared hosting is ideal for you as it allows you to concentrate more on your business than bothering about server issues as the shared servers are managed by professionals assigned by the hosting companies.
Dedicated Hosting:
Dedicated hosting is ideal for websites that have a good amount of traffic and needs more security and control of its resources. Since the dedicated server has a physical server, companies can physically protect it from any harm by external entities.
Cloud Hosting:
Cloud hosting gives the advantage of the scalability and gives more resources to make the website a very friendly. You can easily add more server resources and unlimited storage, RAM and other resources as your business grow to ensure greater speed and power.
The above points summaries the difference between shared, dedicated & cloud web hosting. Before making a wise decision, you can easily use our free consultation services.

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