The number of companies that build physical servers and networks on-premises and perform maintenance, management, and operation in-house is decreasing year by year. There is also a growing number of companies renting servers to reduce operating costs and management efforts. Rental servers are mainly divided into dedicated servers and shared servers, but what are the differences between these services?
In this article, we will explain in detail the differences between dedicated servers and shared servers, as well as their advantages and disadvantages.
Difference between dedicated server and shared server
There are differences between dedicated servers and shared servers in terms of operating costs and customizability.
Here we will explain the following differences in detail.
- Installation/operation costs
- Time required to start using
- Operational stability
- Functions that can be used
In terms of installation and operation costs, dedicated servers tend to require higher costs, while shared servers tend to be lower. The average price for a shared server is the initial cost of 0 yen to several thousand yen, and the monthly cost of a few hundred yen to several thousand yen. On the other hand, the initial cost of a dedicated server is tens of thousands of yen to hundreds of thousands of yen, and the average monthly cost is tens of thousands of yen or more.
Dedicated servers can be used exclusively by one user and are often equipped with high-spec servers, so they tend to cost more than shared servers.
Time required to start using
The difference in the time it takes to start using a dedicated server is that it takes longer for a dedicated server and shorter for a shared server.
The shared server will be ready for use within 1 to 2 hours after application. Many services are free to start with, allowing you to start testing before any payments are made, so you can start using them early.
On the other hand, with a dedicated server, the server is installed and constructed by the service provider, so it takes time from the time the user applies for the service until the server can be used. Some services provide a grace period of 1 to 30 days from application as a guideline for the operation confirmation period of the service provider. When installing a dedicated server, please apply with plenty of time in your schedule.
In terms of customization, dedicated servers have a high degree of freedom, while shared servers often have lower specifications. Customizability refers to the ability to freely change server configurations and resources, such as being able to freely select the OS and middleware, and changing memory and capacity midway through, in accordance with the construction of the services provided by the company.
For example, even if you try to expand resources when the number of accesses suddenly increases, the specifications of a shared server cannot be changed midway. To change it, you will need to sign a new contract, and it will take time to obtain a new IP address. On the other hand, with a dedicated server, you can change the specifications even during the contract, so you can freely customize it depending on the situation of the service you have built.
Operational stability tends to be higher for dedicated servers and lower for shared servers.
A dedicated server can exclusively use the disk space and internet connection, allowing stable operation without being influenced by others. On the other hand, shared servers cannot necessarily be used in a stable environment because they may be affected by other websites or systems that share the server.
Functional aspects that can be used
Dedicated servers tend to be more functional, while shared servers tend to be less useful.
For example, there will be differences in the following functions:
- automatic backup
- Unlimited transfer amount
- Multi-account feature
In many cases, shared servers generally do not have these functions. If you are running a large-scale e-commerce site where the number of accesses is expected to increase rapidly, you will not be able to operate a stable service if a transfer amount limit is set. This is because if the transfer amount exceeds the upper limit, users will not be able to access the web service.
Also, while shared servers generally do not grant administrator privileges, there are some services that allow you to take advantage of multi-account functionality on dedicated servers. The multi-account function is a function that allows permissions to be set for each website and each administrative user.
Until now, many services have granted administrator privileges only to the subscriber’s account. In that case, multiple services would be managed by one person, which could lead to mistakes and troubles. However, by using the multi-account function, you can set permissions for each person in charge of multiple services operated on one server. By distributing the management load to multiple people, you will be able to maintain and operate services stably.
What is a dedicated server?
A dedicated server is a service that allows one user to use one server exclusively. Because a single company can use a server exclusively, it has a large memory and storage capacity and is highly customizable. Monthly running costs are higher than other services because you can use the server exclusively.
For example, it’s like renting a house on an occupied lot. The house is equipped with necessary facilities such as a kitchen and toilet, as well as multiple rooms such as a living room and a bedroom. Similarly, dedicated servers can monopolize everything in the space, making it easy to ensure stable communication without being affected by the surroundings.
What is a shared server?
A shared server is a server that is shared by multiple users. Generally speaking, when we talk about rental servers, we often refer to shared servers.
While a dedicated server can be compared to a single-family home, a shared server can be compared to a shared apartment. Just as kitchens and bathrooms are shared with other residents, shared servers share memory and CPU among multiple users. Just as you have to wait if the time you want to use overlaps with someone else’s, the disadvantage of a shared server is that the connection becomes slow when access is concentrated.
People and companies recommended for dedicated servers
People and companies with the following needs are recommended to use a dedicated server.
- I want to use it as a dedicated mail server or file server.
- I want to build my own website
- I want to use it as a software development environment.
- I want to run a large-scale e-commerce site
- I don’t want to be influenced by other users
- I want to take all possible security measures.
Dedicated servers are generally better suited for businesses than individuals. This is because it can handle cases that require high-spec performance, such as the operation of large-scale web services. Also, since the operating costs are high, it is better to introduce it as a company rather than as an individual.
Professional knowledge is required to perform management and operation in-house, but if you choose a managed plan, the service provider will take care of management, operation, and security measures on your behalf. Although the cost will be higher, choose the most suitable method, such as using a managed plan or hiring an engineer with specialized knowledge.
People/companies recommended for shared servers
A shared server can be used immediately after application, and has the advantage of being able to operate the server at a low price. Therefore, this service is recommended for people and companies with the following situations and needs.
- I want to keep running costs down
- I want to start blogging or general website management.
- Lack of expertise to build and manage
- There are no plans to change the specs midway through.
- I want to open a website soon
The company providing the service will build and operate the server. Therefore, no specialized knowledge of server operation is required. This service is ideal for people and companies that do not have someone in charge of server operations.
Also, since it cannot be freely customized, it is suitable for companies that do not plan to change specifications midway through. Although the degree of freedom is lower, costs can be reduced accordingly, making this service suitable for small-scale needs for starting a blog or operating a general homepage.
Things to keep in mind when choosing a server
So far, we have explained the differences between the advantages and disadvantages of dedicated servers and shared servers. When choosing which service to use, you should choose one that best suits your company’s needs and usage.
Here we will explain the points to consider when choosing a server. Let’s mainly focus on the following items.
- Do operating costs match the budget?
- Are the specifications possible to build the service you provide?
- Does the provider have a complete support system?
The overall cost of operation varies greatly depending on the service contract period and the resources, functions, and specifications of the contracted server. Some services have free trial periods, so one way is to start using them on a test basis.
If you need to change the specifications after applying, you may want to consider installing a dedicated server. When signing a contract, you need to carefully consider whether your company can provide specifications suitable for the service you are building. On the other hand, if you are not planning to make large-scale changes to the server specifications, such as creating a general homepage or starting a blog, choosing a shared server may be more appropriate.
The support system of the service provider is also an important point when selecting a server. Do you have a support system in place such as a chatbot that allows you to ask questions and consult 24 hours a day, 365 days a year? Also, do you have telephone support that allows you to work while listening to professional staff? Let’s check it out.
There are differences between dedicated servers and shared servers, such as running costs, customizability, and the time required for implementation. If you are starting a blog or general homepage, we recommend using a shared server, which is relatively inexpensive to operate. On the other hand, if high-spec operations are required, such as when running a large-scale e-commerce site, you may want to choose a dedicated server.
Please understand the services that suit your company’s needs and choose the appropriate service. If you do not have specialized knowledge or skills but would like to use a dedicated server, we recommend a managed server.