We discussed about hosting and servers. Now let us understand the distinctions between shared and dedicated hosting services. You need to decide which kind of hosting you need so you can opt for the same. This article is essentially written to help you evaluate both types of services and decide on the best type of hosting for your company.

Shared hosting. This is a big server where several websites are hosted. The hosting company installs, programmes and maintains the server and ensures that it is up and running through and through. As a webmaster your responsibility is limited to administering your website. This is the most cost effective option for small and medium businesses. While cheap, there is one big disadvantage. Due to various sites drawing varying amounts of traffic all the websites may become slow in loading.

Dedicated hosting. When you lease an entire server for your website alone then you are opting for dedicated hosting. This costs several times more than shared hosting, but the speed will be high. There are two distinctly different types of hosting offered when you lease a server: un-managed hosting and managed hosting. The former costs less but the onus on you will be higher, the latter while being expensive offers you a lot of advantages in terms of support, maintenance, security and services.

You have to carefully consider various issues such as costing, enterprise requirements, internet necessity for your business, future growth plans of your company etc before deciding on the type of hosting you need to opt for. If you wish to host a small and static site with little or no interactivity then you need to opt for shared hosting. But if you have a site where people can buy, pay online and interact with your employees then you should opt for dedicated hosting.

Given below is a small list of questions you need to ask yourself before you decide on the kind of hosting you need to go for in order to move your business online.
> How old is your enterprise?
> What do you deal with? What is your unique selling proposition?
> What are your basic and advanced requirements for hosting? If a hosting company is offering lot of services which you may not use should you opt for it?
> What is the space requirements for our company website? How much does it cost if our requirements increase over time?
> In shared hosting, is there any guaranteed bandwidth for my site?
> Does the hosting company set limits on traffic my site can get?
> Does the hosting company has growth plans like our business?
> What tracking mechanism do you employ to manage traffic to my site?
> Do you have any reporting mechanism to monitor traffic to my website?
> Does your company offer 24 hr support?
> Do you have methods to ensure that my website remains active even if your server is down?
> What about data security? How do you prevent hackers from demolishing my website?
> How do you backup your data? In case there is a fire or any natural disaster how do you prevent data loss?
> What will happen to us if your company goes under loss and closes down?
> How will you ensure a smooth transition if I wish to move to another server?
> Can they give you a few references?

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