Shared or dedicated hosting: Direct comparison of both hosting models

Bringing a web application to market is not an easy task. In addition to content and technical planning and creation, the choice of adequate hosting is important, since the lack of hardware adapted to your needs would unnecessarily limit the possibilities of success and growth of the web project. For this reason, it is necessary to consider from the outset what capacities are needed exactly, both in the short and long term, as well as the means of financing available for the project.

If you do not operate your own server, but want to rent space from a provider, probably the most frequent results of your searches are shared hosting and dedicated hosting. These two models of hosting, both older than the now-ubiquitous cloud hosting, are characterized by their different approaches to allocating hardware resources (among various commercial pages). To find out what this exactly means and how dedicated and shared hosting differ in aspects such as cost, performance, and security, read this article.

Dedicated hosting and shared hosting: what’s behind these terms?

When you hire services from a web hosting provider, you are renting hardware on which to operate a web project. The provider offers ready-made servers, with the necessary computing power in the form of CPUs and work memories, as well as space on the hard disk for the operating system, network server, databases, etc.

If you decide on a dedicated hosting (only for you), the provider will assign you one or more specific servers whose resources will be exclusively at your disposal. On the other hand, shared hosting works in a different way: although in this model the provider also usually awards you one or more specific servers, the resources are shared with other clients. In other words, on a dedicated server, only your projects operate, while on a shared one, other users’ web applications also operate.

Summary of the differences between shared hosting and dedicated hosting

At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be much difference for customers between dedicated hosting and a shared hosting packages: after all, rented resources are managed remotely in both cases, so in principle, it is not noticeable whether in the Destination server will also save data from other clients or not. However, factors such as cost, security, or utilization rate quickly reveal that, in practice, both hosting model are very different. To facilitate the right choice for your web project, we have summarized the most important differences between shared hosting and dedicated hosting in this comparison.

Server-hosted sites

As already mentioned, the main difference between dedicated and shared hosting is that in the last one, the server not only hosts your projects, but also the websites of other clients. Users of this model cannot decide how many users they compare hosting resources with or know what kind of web projects their server partners have. With a dedicated server, on the contrary, you know at all times what data is stored on the server that you have rented since you are the only client that has access to it.

Security and data protection

Regardless of whether your website is hosted on your own server or on a rented one, security is always essential. The protective measures against malware, data theft, attacks DDoS, and brute force attacks are part of the mandatory equipment for any web administrator responsible.

The requirements to fulfill this responsibility differ greatly between shared hosting and dedicated hosting: Dedicated hosting users must install, configure, and monitor security measures and applications such as firewalls. In the case of shared servers, on the other hand, it is the provider who is responsible for installing and controlling the basic security measures, so that the user only takes an active role in this regard if he wants to install additional measures. It should be remembered that sharing the hardware with other users increases the risk for everyone, especially if the server is shared with clients who carry out insecure or not very serious web projects.

Bandwidth and performance

A key factor in choosing the hosting provider must always be the bandwidth that it offers. The provider’s computer centers usually have an excellent Internet connection, a requirement to be able to transmit the enormous amounts of data from different clients from one place to another at maximum speed. Despite this, of course, each client’s server has a bandwidth limit so that everyone gets stable performance without any losses. In this sense, there is a significant difference between shared and dedicated hosting.

In both cases, a minimum or maximum bandwidth is agreed with the provider when signing the contract. On a shared server, however, the principle of sharing resources may in practice lead to a considerable decrease in the agreed bandwidth if the web project of another client has already exceeded its limit and is limiting the resources of other users. It is what is known as thenoisy neighbor effect which causes, among other things, long load times, overloaded web servers, and technical failures, leaving many customers unsatisfied. These noisy neighbors are often kicked out of the service by the hosting providers if they repeat this type of bandwidth abuse.

Control over the rented server

The choice between dedicated or shared hosting also comes into play with how much control over the contracted server is needed or desired. On a dedicated server, you normally have root permissions and with them the possibility of installing your own scripts and programs. In addition, you can change the configuration of the server and the operating system as you wish. That also means, on the other hand, that you have more responsibility and that you have to take care of updates and maintenance yourself.

In shared hosting, on the other hand, there is no such obligation: updating and maintenance of the server and installed software is entirely the responsibility of the provider. For this reason, since it also has to guarantee that each user only has access to their own server and website, each client’s access rights are much more limited than in dedicated hosting. The installation of software or changes in the central configuration of the server can only be made by the provider, for which the client must first contact him or her, thus making many spontaneous or short-term changes impossible.

Risk of IP blacklisting

One of the biggest concerns of website administrators is to end up in search engine blacklists and be automatically deleted from the results. If this happens, your web project would be practically invisible to many web users: apart from those who type the URL directly in the address bar, only those who find it through links would see it.

Basically it is in your hands to prevent such a thing from happening: you just have to comply with the search engine rules when designing your website and host it with a reliable provider. If you go for a shared server, however, there is a risk of having neighbors who violate the rules or who directly send spam and malware through their website. In these cases, it is possible that Google put the entire IP range on their blacklist. Using a dedicated server, however, there is no such risk.


As it is not surprising, the prices of shared and dedicated hosting are also quite different. In the dedicated one, an entire server is rented with its full capacity, so the provider requires, of course, a higher price. This exclusivity is much more expensive than if an equivalent shared server were used, in which the costs would also be shared among the users following the same principle as with the resources. This lower price can be a good option especially if you don’t need a lot of computing power or storage space for the web project in question. For this reason, shared hosting is demanded especially in the private sector and for small companies.

Shared hosting vs. dedicated hosting: summary

The points exposed make it clear that dedicated hosting and shared hosting target different types of clients. The dedicated servers are the best choice for those looking for a hosting option with maximum freedom and are also willing to pay more for it. For clients with a smaller budget, on the other hand, a shared server is the most appropriate, as long as aspects such as power and server administration are not the most important for the project. These group servers are also a good option for projects that require a few hardware resources.

Shared hostingDedicated hosting
Pages hosted on the serverProjects of different clientsOnly your own projects
SecurityThe provider is in charge of security; risk for other users (spam/malware, IP blacklisting)Safety is part of your responsibility
BandwidthAgreed by contract, but not fulfilled in practiceAgreed by contract, it is fulfilled except if there are server failures
Control (administration)Limited access (only to the website itself and its part of the server)Extensive access rights or even root permissions

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *