Dedicated OR Shared Web Hosting? Word Count: 574 Summary: A website that uses dedicated hosting has the server all to itself, while a shared host is split amongst multiple customers. This article will help you choose the 1 that will work best for your website. Keywords: hosting Article Body: To have a website, you have to have a host. The 2 principal options available for web hosting are shared and dedicated packages. A website that uses dedicated hosting has the server all to itself, while a shared host is split amongst multiple customers. This article will help you choose the 1 that will work best for your website. Websites are stored on servers, which are simply computers that been set up to respond to data requests from the internet. Each server has an individual Internet Protocol (IP) address -- 4 numbers separated by dots such as 123.456.78.9. Dedicated Hosting With a dedicated server, all the resources of the server, as well as the IP address, are unique to that website and are yours to use as you want. It can be used to host just 1 site or many. You have access to the entire bandwidth of the server, and you can use as much disk space as needed. Companies with large complex websites that receive a lot of traffic really need a dedicated host. Sites with a dedicated server are also able to run any kind of script they choose. This is especially important for businesses that are developing new scripts and need to test them without affecting other websites. Shared Hosting Websites sharing a single server are sharing all the resources of that computer. Shared hosting places several websites on the same server, all sharing the same disk space, bandwidth, and IP address. The host will limit each site to a specified amount of disk space and bandwidth to be used per month, in order to provide sufficient service to all the shared sites. Sites that exceed their limit may be charged a substantial penalty or even temporarily closed down. The number of sites being shared by a particular server is not as important as the amount of traffic each is receiving. A server hosting 200 low traffic sites will respond much faster than 1 with 50 sites receiving lots of visitors. Arriving requests are dealt with on a first-in-first-out sequence. If there is a large queue, there will be a long wait as each server has a limited amount of bandwidth. The amount of traffic your neighbors receive can quickly impact how well your web site is displayed. Because the cost of operating the server is divided amongst many customers, shared hosting is a lot cheaper than dedicated. It's available for as little as $2 a month, while dedicated hosting can run over $100 each month. There are risks associated with shared hosting. If 1 of the neighbors runs a programmed script that goes bad, the entire server could be affected. In extreme situations this could shut your site down for a while. If a neighbor is banned from search engines for spamming tactics, that could also affect everyone sharing that IP address. It's a good idea to check with hosting companies first, to see what their policy is about third-party scripts and inappropriate activities. How To Decide Between The 2 Options Large complicated websites that expect to receive 1,000 or more visitors a day should opt for dedicated hosting. It's also a good choice for developers who expect to research and test new internet technologies. Small companies and individuals with small sites are probably better off with shared hosting. The cost is certainly more reasonable. Just be sure to choose a host with a good reputation who will protect your site from others that could put your site at risk.