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Should I rent a dedicated or shared Web server?

Shared, or virtual, servers are usually more than adequate for low volume or entry-level sites. Sites with highly sensitive information, high volume, or special software requirements will probably need a dedicated server. The items below detail the major characteristics of shared and dedicated Web servers.


  • Able to install customized e-commerce or database applications
  • Access to server operating system
  • More expensive
  • Increased security; ability to manage firewalls and all password access
  • Managing and estimating traffic levels is up to you
  • Requires technical skill to administer


  • Restricted to software and operating systems offered by the host
  • Limited access to OS
  • Less expensive
  • Less secure; a breach of security on another site on the server could affect your site
  • No control over total traffic on server
  • Needs little technical ability to administer

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