Shared Environment vs. Dedicated Environment

HostGator offers a variety of hosting options that can accommodate even the most demanding website.When planning out your website, take some time to consider the appropriate hosting environment. While there may be some cases in which a dedicated server is required, most shared hosting plans have the potential to cover the needs of almost any website, business model, user base and software type as long as the site stays within certain parameters.


Types of Hosting

HostGator has a variety of plans to cover almost any web hosting need. Please review the plans listed below to obtain a better idea of which plan will best suit your particular needs.

Shared Environment

  • Linux Shared is the most common type of shared hosting which provides resources that will satisfy the basic needs of almost any website.
  • Reseller Hosting allows you to sell hosting packages that you create, manage and bill using the server space and resources provided by HostGator.
  • Windows Shared is another common shared hosting environment. Uses the Windows operating system instead of Linux to allow access to alternative components such as ASP .net and MSSQL.
  • VPS Hosting is commonly mistaken for an alternative to a dedicated server, but this version of shared hosting allows the sharing of server hardware. While VPS hosting permits the installation of some specialty scripts, it has more limitations than dedicated hosting when it comes to processes and mail usage.

Dedicated Environment

  • Dedicated Hosting allows the user to have full control of the server as well as the server's full resources. The hosting tends to have very little limitations applied in terms of CPU usage, processes and email.

For a more detailed explanation of the differences between hosting plans and types, please refer to the following article:

Keep in mind that regardless of the hosting environment, you will always have access to HostGator's award-winning technical support.

Shared Hosting

Hosting Account Limits and Restrictions

While a shared hosting environment is able to cover the basic needs of smaller scale websites, please remember that there are some restrictions put into place as the server must be shared among multiple users while hosting their own websites.

These restrictions are in place to ensure that server resources are available to all customers. These limits affect several items and services on our servers, including but not limited to backups, bandwidth, inode counts, mail, processes and SQL connections.

For a thorough explanation of all the limits that are applied to our servers, please refer to the following article:


How VPS Differs from Shared and Dedicated Hosting

A VPS is an advanced shared environment in the sense that it has shared physical hardware and will allow you to install custom software and perform advanced tasks such as hosting a video or audio stream. A VPS has many characteristics that a dedicated server would have, such as root access with restrictions similar to other shared environments.

VPS accounts do not reach parity with the resources available to a Shared or Reseller account until approximately level 5 or 6. However, despite resource limitations, VPS hosting allows a much larger degree of freedom in how the server is configured compared to a shared or reseller server. This is because VPS hosting provides you with root-level access inside your virtual container.

Please Note: VPS hosting is NOT a substitute for a dedicated server, nor is it an upgrade for a Reseller account. In many cases, a VPS can actually have fewer resources available than shared accounts.

Only choose VPS hosting if you have specific specialized needs that do not require a full dedicated server.

More information on VPS Hosting can be found in the following articles:


Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated servers are not part of a shared environment and allow the user to have complete access to the entire server's resources in addition to permitting the implementation of various custom specifications and applications. Root access and custom configuration options makes dedicated hosting the ONLY solution for resource-intensive or high-traffic sites.

Dedicated Server Management

HostGator's dedicated servers are fully managed, which means you will still receive the level of support you have become accustomed to, as long as you have a control panel! In the event that you choose to purchase a dedicated server without a control panel, it will be semi-managed with limited support.

For more information on the differences between semi-managed and fully managed, please refer to the following articles:

Note: Upon placing an order for your dedicated server, please note that HostGator only supports WHM/cPanel and Plesk control panels.

For dedicated servers with custom or no control panel, it is recommended that you seek out a developer or administrator for assistance with your management needs.

Reasons to Consider Dedicated Hosting

If you are experiencing resource issues with your current site on a shared server, a dedicated server may be the solution. The most common reasons that a dedicated server should be considered include:

  • If there are constant resource issues on your site with a shared account
  • If suspensions have occurred on your account multiple times for TOS/CPU reasons
  • If the current plan you are on isn't able to handle times of high traffic or additional loads
  • If there is a need to upgrade beyond a Shared, Reseller or a VPS plan

When a Dedicated Server is Required

If there is a special need to perform tasks that you are already aware will not work on a shared environment, then you will need a dedicated server. The most common reasons that a dedicated server would be absolutely required include:

  • If full server access is essential
  • If full use of the entire server is desired
  • If there is intent to run a game server