The Crucial Differences Between Shared and Dedicated Web Hosting Explained

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The world of hosting can seem vast and complex. But while multitudes of hosting providers offer what appear to be numerous options, web hosting solutions, whether physical, virtual or cloud, can be boiled down to two - shared or dedicated.

The difference between shared and dedicated hosting is analogous to public and private parking. In a shared environment (public parking), many websites are “parked” in the same “garage”. Dedicated hosting, on the other hand, is more like renting a private parking space. Deciding between shared or dedicated hosting is the first step in deciding what type of web hosting environment is right for your website.

Below we share a few of the main differences between shared and dedicated hosting you should understand.


Shared hosting costs a fraction of dedicated hosting - at a minimum 10 to 20 times less. Why? Going back to our parking analogy, parking a car in a public garage is a very different situation than parking in a private space. In a public garage, all cars are treated equally in terms of services, such as access, management, and security. The price of public parking is commensurately lower than private parking, where services can be customized per the owner's requirements.

As they say, "You get what you pay for." And as we explain below, while shared hosting, similarly to public parking, may serve the needs of many websites, its lower cost, does not offset limitations in serving the needs of all websites.


In a shared hosting environment, performance is a function of all websites living in the environment. Other websites sharing the environment can affect the performance of your website. In addition, a shared environment can not be configured to benefit the performance of a particular website.

For websites where optimal performance is a key indicator of success, shared hosting may not be an option. In a dedicated environment, the danger of websites other than your own affecting the performance of your website does not exist. And any number of configurations and customizations can be implemented to enhance performance as required.

Bandwidth and Storage

Shared hosting plans are often marketed as providing “unlimited” bandwidth and storage. In reality, bandwidth and storage are unlimited only as long the needs of a particular website do not threaten the stability of the shared environment as a whole. Depending on a website's requirements, this “unlimited” limitation, may or may not be a problem.

With dedicated hosting, storage and bandwidth requirements are only limited by the amount of capacity included in the hosting plan. In this sense, capacity is limited only by how much the owner is willing to spend on storage and bandwidth.


Customizing a hosting solution can be critical to optimizing an environment’s security, reliability or stability. In fact, many websites, due to high traffic levels and many other factors, would not function properly without heavily customized hosting solutions.

A dedicated hosting environment can be customized as needed to support traffic or whatever features the website needs to provide visitors an optimal experience. Customization in a shared environment, on the other hand, is limited to those allowed by the hosting provider.


Hosting management is a service whereby a web host provides services, such as backups, monitoring, patching, and updates, along with a web hosting solution.

In a shared environment, a standardized set of management services comes automatically with the purchase of the shared hosting plan. This might sound like a benefit, unless, as detailed above, the host’s management of performance, customizations, and capacity does not support your website’s needs.

Dedicated hosting solutions, on the other hand, may or may not come with management. If not, you will need to manage the hosting environment yourself. If so, make sure you clearly understand which management services are provided and which not, as well as what your management service package means in terms of the health and performance of your website.

If you are interested in learning more about hosting your website, contact Avatar New York today.

Avatar New York is an innovating, award-winning web design New York firm dedicated to providing clients with responsive websites that help grow brands and convert visitors to customers. With an expertise in web development, branding, cloud hosting, mobile app development, and CMS and e-commerce solutions, Avatar New York creates intelligent websites for any type of business.