There are several benefits and drawbacks to owning and running your own servers as opposed to running your site on shared servers, but either strategy will work for businesses and individuals running at different levels. Consider some of these comparison points to determine what’s best for you.
Sharing servers saves on overhead costs. You pay a third-party service provider, with their own rack server, to host your site on their equipment. You won’t need to buy routers, firewalls or backup hardware, which can be a hefty expense for small companies. This setup is great for small businesses just starting out because the hosting company pays all the hardware costs to maintain the servers, security measures, bandwidth, backups and any other services you contract from them.
Hosting companies often have better resources. Larger companies can often afford costlier, high-performance equipment that will serve your web-pages faster than your own hardware ever could. Large data-centers are usually located on a backbone-connection, too, which comes with also enhances your site’s response times. For some businesses, better performance can translate into significant gains in revenue.
Shared services often come with limits. Your provider may throttle your bandwidth at a certain level or limit your disk-space on their hardware. And if you share a server with a high-traffic, high-bandwidth site, your site’s traffic will be competing for RAM and CPU time.
You’ll have more control. On your own rack server, you control every aspect of site operation and resource management. You also manage your bandwidth, so you don’t have to compete with other sites using the same server. When you own the hardware, you can run demanding applications, like e-commerce software, without restrictions.
The benefits come with a price tag. Dedicated servers and their associated equipment are a big up-front cost that needs to be budgeted for. Depending on the size of your implementation and how many rack servers you maintain, you’ll need skilled personnel to maintain and troubleshoot the equipment. A server environment has to be maintained, and the larger your site and traffic, the more potential problems you’ll have monitoring bugs and pulling the best possible performance from your hardware.
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