In the web language, many terms are often seen. Among those terms, the notion of web hosting is really popular. If it’s frequent to hear about web servers, it can still be difficult to understand their importance and mainly, the specificities of each one of those web servers. In order to help companies to have more information to choose wisely their web server, it’s important to highlight the differences between dedicated server hosting and shared server hosting. To do so, let’s explain the differences between these two types of servers. Let’s also highlight the advantages and disadvantages of each one of these types of server.
Definitions of dedicated server and shared server
A dedicated server also called physical server is a server which is installed on a physical machine. This kind of server is reserved for personal use. The person benefiting from this server has all the resources of the machine and is free to configure it as he sees fit the best. Thus, that person has access to the operating system, RAM, storage capacity, powerful computing, bandwidth and many other parameters.
A shared server also called virtual server is a physical server which unlike the physical server is shared and therefore, accessible to several people. The physical machine is here divided into several virtual partitions. Thus, the resources of this server are shared between several people. Those people do not have the possibility to fully access to the resources of the machine or to configure it. In web host process, the term virtual private server or VPS is used to highlight this sharing of the same machine between different users. The partitions here are independent of each other and autonomous.
Advantages and disadvantages of the physical server
Advantages of the physical server
Generally used for high traffic sites, the physical server allows a user to enjoy all the resources of the machine and configure it as he wants. It also allows to manage the communication network of the company and thus, to secure it. This type of server also allows the centralization of the management of all the computing equipment of a company.
With a physical server, a company can deploy custom applications in its network while keeping hosted many high traffic websites. In addition to that, the company will have access to 100% of the resources available on the server, whether it is the processor, the RAM, the bandwidth or else.
The physical server allows a company to benefit from great flexibility and ease of control. Indeed, the physical server gives to a company a full control of its environment, the ability to install all applications, all scripts and all the tools it wants. The company can then adapt the server according to its needs.
This server also offers better security that a company could have with a virtual server. Indeed, as there is only one user on the server, the risk of being hacked is highly reduced.
The physical server allows a company or a person to enjoy a great stability. This type of servers offers its best performance because it is not divided into several compartments. In doing so, there is no risk of a decline in the regime usually due to an increase of the traffic volume on one of the hosted sites.
Disadvantages of the physical server
The biggest disadvantage of the physical server is its cost. Indeed, performance, autonomy and security have a cost. In addition to the cost of renting the server, companies must also think about the services offered by this server (if the company wants to outsource this part).
In the case where the company would like itself to take care of the administration of the server, it will also be necessary to take into account the hiring of adequate skills. These skilled people will therefore be in charge of the execution of the tasks essential to the good management of the server. This recruitment need also generates additional costs.
Still in the cost that represents the acquisition of a physical server, it is important to remember that the management of the server also requires investment on certain points such as: the purchase of software licenses or the recycling of the server.
Another disadvantage related to the physical server is its lack of live maintenance. Indeed, during the maintenance process of the server such as updating the hardware (adding hard disk, RAM, etc.), it will be necessary to observe a downtime in order to realize the different installations.
Advantages and disadvantages of the virtual server
Advantages of the virtual server
The virtual private server offers a good compromise between shared and dedicated. It reduces the costs associated to the personal use of a physical server while enjoying multiple features offered by physical servers. Thus, its cost is relatively lower than the cost of the physical server although the performance of the virtual private server is close to the physical server’s performance. This is because the costs of managing the machine are shared between the different users.
According to the sharing of the server between different users, the hosts set powerful machines which are able to support the various loads increases that the server may face. These performances help for companies opting for the VPS to ensure a high reliability in storing backups.
Although the VPS is basically a machine shared between different users, this point does not preclude it to be secured. Indeed, each partition is independent and autonomous. Therefore, each user is the only one to be concerned by his virtual server. In addition to that, the hosts set up security systems and have professionals who ensure the safety of the machines.
Disadvantages of the private virtual server
Although it has many advantages, the virtual private server is not as efficient as the physical server. Also, it does not offer the configuration possibilities offered by a physical server.
If a company experiences a large increase of traffic, the virtual private server might take some time to adjust. This loss of time will slow down the site hosted on that server. This is because spaces are clearly defined since the beginning. To have a better speed of execution, it would then be necessary to increase the package.
Also, the virtual private server does not offer the possibility of being personalized by adding more efficient components as needed. Also, it does not allow making configurations such as creating a network between multiple servers or the separation between one and other servers of a company.
So, Should you prefer physical server or virtual server?
In summary, the big companies with big traffics on their web site(s) should choose the physical server. Although its cost is relatively high, it offers excellent performances to these companies. It also allows them to customize their server while having great security assurance.
For other businesses of all sizes with moderate traffic, the best alternative is the virtual server. It allows them to have good performances capable of assuming the loads produced by a medium or large company and this, at moderate cost.
Then, physical server will suit to big companies and shared will better suit to all over sizes of companies with moderate traffic and particulars as small businesses, bloggers or website showcase.