Shared vs Dedicated Hosting

This is one of those topics that confuses the hell out of non-techie people, but it is pretty important if you are thinking of starting your own website, so I will try and go over the basics so you can make an informed decision. Lets start with the type of hosting most people come across first, which is shared.

Shared hosting is kind of like catching a bus to work. It’s cheap, but a bit slow and you’re not entirely sure what germs you might catch on the way. If it’s a very busy server you could be sharing your webspace with 50 other sites. There are however some advantages. A lot of the dev ops ( development operations) work is done for you, there’s no need to worry (or know) about the apache or nginx server settings for instance. There will be a nice friendly GUI (graphical user interface) with lots of default options, maybe even a standard WordPress install that does it all for you. In short, it’s beginner friendly. You do have to know some bits, especially when it comes to DNS (Domain Name Server) settings. But this is what I started out with, and in my first few years I found it really friendly and useful,, and if I managed to stuff it up (which I did several times) I could always email the support team and they managed to get out of trouble. Personally I used UK2, but there are hundreds if not thousands of shared hosting options. 

Next we come to dedicated hosting. Now this is more like a custom sports car. It takes a lot more work , but it is faster, totally customisable, and you can be sure who you have in your car with you ! However there are some downsides. If it breaks down, it’s generally upto you to fix it. It’s a lot easier to break things, and the starting knowledge required is a lot more than shared hosting. You need to know linux, a healthy dose of dev ops, how to setup a web server, and how to configure your file permissions, and that’s just the start. However sites run a LOT faster, and you can do things that are simply not possible on shared hosting. For instance, to setup and run a Laravel site on dedicated hosting is easy(ish). Try to do it on a shared hosting platform and you will run into problems almost instantly. 

So there you have it! I use dedicated hosting with Digital Ocean, and have done for several years. I appreciate the speed and flexibility, but it took a long time to learn the stuff I needed to use it.