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Don’t overpay for your website hosting

Did you know there are different types of website hosting? Do you know what you have? There are some big differences, especially in cost.

The main two types are ‘shared’ servers and ‘dedicated’ servers. If you’re really keen on learning more, you might like to research ‘virtual private’ servers and ‘cloud’ servers too. But I’ll stick to the main two here.

A dedicated server means your website is effectively on its own computer, isolated from the world. A shared server means you’re sharing a computer with loads of other websites. The easiest analogy is that a dedicated server is like driving your own car, whereas a shared server is like taking the bus.

Instinctively, you might think that you’d rather drive your own car. But taking the bus is a lot cheaper, and in everyday traffic can be just as fast. In addition, you can just sit back and enjoy the ride. If you drive your own car and something goes wrong, you might be glad you paid extra for a breakdown service, and you might have to allow for an equivalent with a dedicated server.

That said, the dedicated server can give you the performance level you’re prepared to pay for, whereas the shared server will be more limited. The dedicated server is probably going to be a more secure environment, and you’ll always be able to scale up your needs easily. It can also give you some SEO benefits.

Typically, a shared server will cost you £5–£10 a month, and a dedicated server £50–£100. I’m often surprised to find businesses which are paying dedicated server rates to an agency for a shared server, without receiving anything for the extra cost. Good web hosts can offer pretty decent support nowadays even for a £5–£10 a month customer. I have several sites running on a single £5/month shared server package, yet when I had a problem recently, we sorted it out through online chat in under an hour.