You probably bought a shared hosting plan because it was the cheapest option, right? I don’t blame you. Hopefully the shared plan worked well enough that your website traffic blew up, and now you have many daily visitors. If so, you’re probably wondering if you need to switch to a dedicated hosting plan.
A dedicated hosting plan gives you a lot more flexibility for the size, content, and software customization for your website. But all of those benefits will cost you: A dedicated hosting plan can cost up to 10 times more than shared hosting!
So how do you know if dedicated hosting is worth the price? Well, you can decide how important the following features of dedicated hosting are for running your website, and then you can decide if you want to spend your hard-earned dollars on a dedicated server.
You Get All the Resources
Shared hosting means shared resources. This means that you have to share the bandwidth, memory, etc. with all the websites on the same server. If you just have a simple website or blog, then you don’t need to worry about running out of resources. But if you have a lot of multimedia elements like videos or chatrooms, your site will slow down in a hurry once your traffic increases.
When you purchase a dedicated hosting plan, you get all the resources. So, you can build a large portfolio website with tons of photo galleries, a complicated e-commerce website, or a video tutorial blog. And you’ll have all the storage space you need.
You Choose the Behind-the-Scenes Technical Stuff
When you have your own dedicated server, you have a lot more control than in a shared hosting plan. First of all, you can choose which operating system you want to use, as well as the software and control panel used on the server and website. So, if you want to run a Windows operating system and update the software every time something new comes out, you can do so without any trouble.
Choosing a shared hosting plan means using whatever operating system that the host chooses for the server. It also means waiting for them to update the software, if they ever do. If customization is a big issue for you, consider paying more for dedicated hosting.
You Can Host All Your Websites
You can buy as many shared hosting plans as you want. But once you have five or more sites with decent traffic, what’s the point in keeping them all on a shared server? At that point, you’ll probably end up paying about the same amount per month as a dedicated server plan. Might as well switch so you’ll have complete control over all their software and resource needs, right!?
Bottom Line? Switch When You Outgrow
Still not sure whether or not you need dedicated hosting? The easiest test is to surf your website during peak traffic hours. If every page loads in under 10 seconds, then shared hosting is probably still fine. On the other hand, if your site is slowing down, or you’re experiencing downtime, then it’s probably time to switch. Happy with your current web host, but want a dedicated server? No worries, most web hosts offer both kinds of plans and let you switch right away, for example Hostgator.