There are two major kinds of servers you might use for your website: Shared and dedicated. Both are what they sound like. A shared server means that you’re sharing a server with a number of other clients. The more clients there are using a single server, the slower it will be and the more “jams” and clogs you’ll experience. The cost of shared servers can vary drastically depending on the maximum capacity as set by the web host.
A dedicated server is dedicated just to you. You’re not sharing it with anyone else and you essentially own the server. However, there’s a subset within this category: Managed and unmanaged. Most managed servers are owned by the client, but kept, maintained and managed in a server center. You’ll of course be paying regular management fees for this. Unmanaged servers mean that the server is sent to you with all the accessories so you can manage it yourself—don’t attempt this unless you’re an expert.
There’s a huge gap in pricing between shared and dedicated servers. Here’s why:
- It’s a timeshare for servers
You know how cheap it is to get in on a timeshare for a vacation property? The better quality the property and the fewer timesharers, the more expensive it’ll be. However, if the property is subpar and you’re splitting it with a dozen other people, it can be really inexpensive. The same is true of shared servers. Having a dedicated server is like buying a property vs. getting a timeshare. In terms of cost, there’s a huge difference.
- It’s a powerful, high tech device
The actual cost of a server is the same whether you buy it or “time share” it by going the shared route. It’s an expensive piece of equipment. High tech, it’s capable of storing sensitive data and keeping it secure. It’s what actually puts your website on the internet. This is no easy task, and tough tasks cost.
- It’s protecting you and your customers
You might not think you have sensitive information, but you do. Hackers like to target servers, especially ones that host popular sites such as mega gaming sites, as a show of power and to highlight how vulnerable servers/websites are. You’re not going to get a second chance if your customers’ credit cards are stolen—the security breach might be with your web host, but customers don’t know that.
- It’s a one shot deal
With a shared server, you can go to another web host and it won’t hurt the shared server web host much. They can fill your slot with another client. However, when you buy a dedicated server, that’s a one shot deal. It’s not like you’re checking it out and will return it so the retailer-web host can loan it out again. They need to make a decent profit on that single sale.
Wondering if a dedicated server is for you? It’s probably not unless you’re a mega company that gets thousands of unique visits every day. However, talk with your web host about your needs and see if you’re on the path to a dedicated server. If so, it’s best to start your research now.