Shared Hosting or Dedicated Server Hosting: Which is better for the Professional Photographer?

Shared vs Dedicated Server for Photography Hosting

The web hosting industry is tremendously large, with more companies for you to look at than you could sift through in an entire week. Their services vary greatly, but some features are more common than others. Arguably the most common is the dedicated server. Right from the start the consumer demand and customers needs for such technology were clear. A shared hosting environment can have hundreds of accounts on any one server. All it takes is one of those accounts to either be extremely busy or to do something really insecure, and a few hundred web sites are knocked offline for at least a few minutes, often hours, and occasionally days. Alternately, that one really busy account could be you, and you might need something more.

There is a large difference between the kind of services that you get from being on a shared hosting account as compared to being on your own server, and a large cost differential that goes with it. There are good reasons to fork over that extra cash, but you need to make sure that your site is hefty enough to warrant it. Here is a list of things that you might want to consider.

Do they really, really like you?

The main reason you would want to consider a dedicated server above all other options is if your web site experiences large surges in traffic, either regularly or occasionally as a result of some one-time action. For example, if your site normally gets a moderate amount of interest, but you expect it to be featured somewhere soon that might result in a large surge of traffic, like, for example, a TV/radio special or a very popular news or social media web site, you are going to want to be somewhere that is strong enough to handle even the most memorable of traffic tidal waves.

To underscore the importance of this, note the worst-case-scenario regarding what happens if you get this much interest suddenly and you aren’t on your own server: your site can be shut down right when it matters most. You don’t want to respond to the biggest audience you’ve ever served with a “Site not found” error. Even if your host responds by getting you on your own machine at breakneck speed, it might not be fast enough to recover the lost interest.

It’s complicated.

The other main reason you would want to consider your own server is if, in conjunction with a lot of traffic, your site also used some software that really taxes the CPU. As a photographer this shouldn’t happen too often, but technology has a way of always introducing something new, exciting, and really complicated. This isn’t to degrade it, just to recognize that, like having a lot of traffic, this can result in an unscheduled talk between you and your web host if it impacts their other users too heavily.

Dedicated hosting – Hosting for the stars

Having your own server is a large financial undertaking for your site, especially given that shared hosting accounts these days can be had for pocket change. It’s definitely a valid option with advantages for the true rock star photographer: just make sure that that rock star really is you!

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