Shared hosting means that the files for several different websites are hosted (live on or reside at, as some people say) on the same server. This is less expensive than dedicated hosting since many people are sharing the same resources. This is an option that most people choose when they are first starting out on the web because it is so affordable and widely available.
One thing to be aware of with shared hosting is its limitations in reference to the amount of data that can be stored as well as the speed at which it can be accessed and how much traffic the server can handle. Because the space on the server must be allocated to several accounts, there is a bandwidth limit. When the limit is reached, the website may no longer be available until the next billing cycle or until an overage rate kicks in.
Another issue with shared hosting is that users may have access to scripts or programs installed by the hosting company, but no customization of the server is allowed so if the free extras that come with the account do not meet the user’s needs, this option will not work. For most beginners and even those who have been around the net for a long time, shared hosting is more than adequate to meet their needs.
Dedicated hosting means that a particular server is reserved only for one user’s files, bandwidth and traffic needs. Users websites are therefore not competing with other websites for resources. Clearly, large companies with high website traffic need their own servers. The other main advantage of a dedicated server is the ability to customize with special applications.
Before you make the choice of which kind of hosting service is right for you, consider you immediate needs as well as short-term growth prospects for your online venture. Although there may be discount deals if you pay for multiple months at one time or even up to a year in advance, if you are a beginner, it is probably best to go month by month for a while rather than locking yourself into a commitment in order to give yourself and your web presence a chance to see how your projections meet the reality of your web hosting needs. You can always switch from one type of hosting to the other as circumstances dictate.