Before deciding on a web host, it is important to know that web hosting is available in many different variations. Two of the most common forms of hosting are shared and managed hosting. While quite similar, the differences set these types of web hosting apart by far.
Differences Between Shared and Managed Hosting
Shared hosting services are meant for small to mid-sized websites. In fact, the moment your website moves to the mid-sized category, it is recommended that it should be upgraded to a managed hosting plan.
Most of us start out hosting our websites on shared servers, so we don’t come across the word ‘managed’ at all. The term only really applies once we start looking for VPS hosting, semi-dedicated hosting or dedicated servers.
What is the difference between the two types of hosting services and what will you get additionally when you upgrade? We will explore these points in the following guide.
Shared Hosting – In shared hosting, your website and emails will be hosted on a shared server. There could be hundreds of other users on that same server. Bandwidth, processing power, storage, memory – everything has to be shared between these accounts.
If one website exploits more than its share of the available memory, all the other sites on the same server will experience after-effects because of this one ‘neighbor’. This means that one troubled website has the potential to cause thousands of unrelated sites to load slowly, or not at all.
Managed Hosting – In this case your site and email accounts will be running on a server without being shared with any other account.
Performance & Cost
Shared Hosting – If you have a website that requires average performance and must be maintained in a budget, this can be the ideal option.
Managed Hosting – Managed hosting is for websites that require better than average performance and generate more than enough revenue to enable you to afford this plan.
When it comes to managed hosting services, you will not face the issues which are common with shared hosting plans. This means that managed hosting is a technically better in almost every way.
Shared Hosting Limitations
Today, almost all web hosts advertise shared hosting features as “unlimited.” So you can find them claiming unlimited diskspace, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited emails and some even offer unlimited domains. It is important not to fall for these “unlimited” offers. These hosts are simply lying because there is nothing unlimited on a server. You will have access to only limited diskspace and bandwidth and the moment your website crosses that limit, it will go out.
The concept of unlimited is contrary to the very name of shared hosting.
Managed Hosting Advantages
Some of the main features and benefits of managed hosting services include:
- Constant monitoring
- 24×7 customer support
- Practical server support (hardware and software)
They will also have systems in place for handling any surge in traffic or other potential issues that require load balancing of traffic between multiple servers. In a “managed” hosting environment it is the job of the web host to ensure that your website is up and running smoothly.
While shared web hosting is also meant for those who don’t want to deal with complex technical configurations and settings, managed hosting also has a similar concept. But in this case you will be able to customize the hosting plan based on your specific requirements. There is no option for customization in the case of shared hosting.
Who should Choose Managed Hosting?
If you have a website that receives tons of web traffic or if you have an ecommerce site or if you have site that runs mission-critical applications, you must choose managed hosting. Your site will have all the resources of the server at its behest – CPU, space, RAM and software.
So there is a world of a difference between shared and managed hosting. The choice of the hosting plan will depend on your website’s needs and scale of operations.
How important is your website to you? Not getting hacked, fast load times, reliable uptime? If you’re just starting out, there’s little reason to spend the big bucks and go with managed. Go with shared until you have too much traffic and then just upgrade!
Remember, you shouldn’t be stuck in any contract forever, so you can always go one route and change later. Some hosts even have free migration services.
Let us know your experiences in the comments.