Do I need dedicated hosting?

If you have ended up here trying to determine whether shared or dedicated web hosting is better for you, you are probably one of four kinds of people:

  1. You are just starting out and have not bought your first domain name yet.
  2. You have a website but are concerned with performance issues (core web vitals, loading speed, CLS, LCP).
  3. Your site is doing great and has lots of traffic; maybe too much traffic to be supported by your current hosting plan.
  4. Your website is for a large business, has sensitive information, or deals with heavy file transfers.

In this post we cover the difference between these types of hosting plans and determine what is preferable for your use-case.

What’s the difference between shared and dedicated hosting

The table below simplifies the differences between the two types of hosting services for the layman and for the purposes of this article. A detailed and technical comparison between shared and dedicated hosting is available on this page.

AspectShared HostingDedicated Hosting
Resource AllocationShared with other websites. Someone else’s busy and heavy website on your server can slow your website downExclusive
PerformanceNormal speed for normal people, Slow for the enthusiastsFast
ControlLimitedMore control for advanced users
SecurityShared with others.More secure
ScalabilitySite with slow down with more traffic. But you can always upgradeNo speed problems but might be unnecessary for low traffic
Ideal forSmall websites, BeginnersLarge websites, businesses, advanced users

Do you need dedicated hosting?

Going back to the four personalities in the introduction, lets see whether you need shared or dedicated hosting for your website.

Just starting a blog, registering a domain for the first time

If you are planning to start a blog, it means you currently have no published content nor any traffic. So what do you need a super fast dedicated server for? Go for a cheaper, shared hosting service. In most cases, especially with reputatable hosters like bluehost, dreamhost, hostgator etc, the speed of the servers will be fine for your needs. Most hosting services also offer the option to upgrade your plan to a dedicated server when the need arises. Right now, without any content or traffic, you do not need a dedicated server.

Your website is having performance issues (core web vitals, loading speed, CLS, LCP)

You have had this website for a while and your traffic is normal. However, one day google search console and page speed insights tell you that you are failing your core web vitals and have cumulative layout shift issues, long load time, and a bunch of other issues. In short, they call your website “slow”. What does google mean by a slow website anyway?

Truth is, your website is “slow” from a user experience perspective and it does not necessarily mean that your server is slow. Your website is just poorly optimized or not cached properly. So before you go running to upgrade your shared hosting plan to a dedicated server, try optimizing your website. You can go through this guide on how to improve your websites user experience using caching and CDN. Don’t worry, its quite simple.

Conclusion: No need for dedicated hosting

Your blog is getting lots of traffic which is causing server loads

This is a good problem to have. And it is easily solveable with a few clicks on your hosting service provider’s platform.

Go ahead, upgrade your site to a dedicated hosting service. Just keep in mind that your server costs and traffic generated revenues suit your needs.

For new bloggers reading this bit, substantial traffic means atleast tens of thousands of monthly visitors. When you start seeing such numbers along with good revenue, it may be time to consider the upgrade.

Your website is for a large business, has sensitive information, or deals with heavy file transfers.

Just use a dedicated hosting service. Dedicated servers often come bundled with 247 technical support, content delivery networks, backups, web development and optimization services, and other hassle-free advtanges. For this kind or website or even a popular blog generting millions of monthly visitors, a shared server just wont work.

Depending on the nature of your website and activity, it may be worth considering establishing your own server. However, if you are the type of person who could build their own self supported server, you probably would not be reading this article.