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Virtual Hosting versus Dedicated Hosting: Which is Right for You
By: Jennifer Sullivan Cassidy
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    Table of Contents:
  • Virtual Hosting versus Dedicated Hosting: Which is Right for You
  • Virtual Hosting IP Risks
  • Dedicated Hosting Advantages and Disadvantages
  • Do You Really Need Dedicated Hosting?

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    Virtual Hosting versus Dedicated Hosting: Which is Right for You - Do You Really Need Dedicated Hosting?

    (Page 4 of 4 )

    If you are exceeding your monthly bandwidth limits on a continual basis, you may actually not have to decide at all how much traffic is too much.  You may get a nice email from your web host telling you that you need to stay under your limitations, or there will be consequences:  added cost most likely, but there are even more extreme measures the web host may take on repeated offenses.  It is in your web host’s (and their customers’) best interest to determine which sites are bogging down their servers, and take appropriate action.  This may mean additional cost, moving the “offending” site to its own server, or booting it altogether.  While this kind of action may not be seen favorably by a web site owner who is the target of such action, a host has to weigh the cost of losing dozens of other customers due to overwhelmed server resources, or the cost of upgrading versus keeping the business of a single customer.  Bandwidth is expensive; not just for you, but also for your web host.  Even they have allocations provided by their ISP, and they need to make sure the expense of bandwidth is going to outweigh the revenues that are coming in.

    Regardless, you should already be aware of the symptoms of the need for your site to have its own machine.  So how much traffic is too much traffic?  Well, normally if you ask me this question, I would say this: there is no such thing.  But in this case, it really is up to your web host to determine what too much traffic and transfer is.  Just ask them.  I’m sure they’ll tell you.

    Another guideline to use to determine your need for a dedicated server is the purpose for which it will be used.  If you are simply moving your site to a dedicated server to “escape” the risks of virtual hosting, then this may not be a good enough reason.  Don’t misunderstand me, there is nothing “wrong” with going with a dedicated server for this reason, but it may just be a waste.  But if your purpose for having your site on a dedicated server is for functionality of the site, then there is good reason to assume that this is a good reason.

    Another good reason for you have a dedicated server is the ability to customize both the hardware and the software.  With a virtual host, you don’t get to choose which CPU or how much RAM is in the machine; on the same token you usually don’t get to decide what software is going to be installed on it either.  If your company requires that you use Novell Networks as your email client, and you need to customize it to the needs of the company or you require a fast, customer service live support console that has to have minimal downtime, chances are good that you’ll need a dedicated server.  There are multiple examples of why a company would want a dedicated server, but ultimately they fall into three categories:  customizable hardware, customizable software, and unlimited bandwidth without server load issues on or from other sites.

    So what if you decide you don’t necessarily need your own whole machine to host your website on, but don’t wish to take the risks of sharing your IP address with bad neighbors?  You may not be ready to switch from a virtual host to a dedicated server, but you may need your own IP address, especially if you are using your own SSL certificate or running an ecommerce store, or for SEO purposes.  Most virtual hosts allow you to pay for a dedicated IP address, which may serve to keep your site protected from some of the other risks associated with virtual hosting.

    Hopefully this article can help you make an informed decision about which type of hosting you really need for your website, and which type is really right for you. 

    DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.


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