Hosting on your own server, hassle or serenity?

I guess there isn’t a single webmaster that did not ask himself this question, at least once. Frankly, few years ago this idea would not deserve a second thought, but nowadays, with Windows-powered cloud instances (or VPS if you prefer) available from $9.95/month (and I’m talking about premier providers) it becomes very attractive solution mostly because versatile usage options that in most cases are not available with shared hosting.

But before I state my reasons why I think your own server is always a better solution, let’s shed some light on advantages of cloud computing in general, so-called 4S advantages:

Stability - unlike dedicated servers, cloud server instances are not hosted on a single physical machine, but rather on a server farm, which makes it highly fault-tolerant. When something goes wrong with your dedicated server’s hardware, your server is down until you (or someone else) repair the failure. On the other hand, when the hardware running your server instance fails, the cloud itself takes care of restarting your instance on some other hardware on the same server farm. Most of the systems are designed to sustain simultaneous multiple failures at hardware level including CPU, storage, network and power.

Safety - your server image (including all your data) is stored on redundant storage servers with huge storage space ready for instant use. This kind of storage ensures that your server instance and your data will be fully accessible even after multiple hard drive failures. Also, most of the systems include very simple and easy to use backup systems that keep your data safe without overloading your CPU or HDD.

Speed –unless your physical server is high end (read "extremely expensive”) piece of hardware, cloud server will always perform better than dedicated server with same resources (CPU/Memory/Network). Needless to say, the connection speed is awesome and you might even want to limit it because of outbound bandwidth costs.

Scalability - upgrading cloud instance resources (memory, storage, CPU) on the fly is a routine task, as difficult as filling the form. This gives you the ability to start small and grow with demand in real-time, keeping your costs at minimum.

Now let’s see what would be the main advantages and downsides of having your own server compared to having a shared hosting.



Sites Hosted on the Server

You have no control over sites hosted on the same server and in some cases on the same IP address. You also can not control the number of sites sharing same resources.

In most cases you will host only your own web sites, but in ALL cases you will be the one to decide what will be hosted on your server.

Server resources

You have limited resources on the server (bandwidth, disk space, in some cases CPU time) and you will be charged extra surpass you allotted amount, or your service will lose its performance until new accounting period.

You own all the resources and you decide how you use them. Additional resources (if needed) are much cheaper.


Your provider installs firewall, antivirus, server security applications and programs and defines all the security rules. If you need anything different, you might find that very difficult to get from your provider.

You are completely in charge of security which indeed is a huge responsibility but also a huge advantage, especially with Windows Server 2008 and 2012 user friendly interface and predefined server roles. On the other hand, you may need stronger security measures than those provided with shared hosting.

Also, being a single user on the server you have less chances of acquiring viruses, malware and spyware.


There is more of a risk of being blacklisted by search engines because someone else on the server engaging in such practices as spamming may get the entire IP address blacklisted.

You will not get blacklisted unless you engage in unethical internet practices.


With other sharing the same resources, allot of traffic can be generated which could drain resources such as bandwidth or CPU power, which could lead to slow response time and slow loading time.

Because you are not sharing resources, your sites will have all the power of the server for their full operation.

Level of Control

Very limited. Basically you can use what provider has already installed on the server. Requests for installing custom software are denied in most cases.

You have full control to install and use any software you have including your preferred programs, applications, and scripts. You will have improved flexibility and security which is very beneficial.

Required Technical Skills

Due to limited level of control, you will not require much technical skills as maintenance and security are managed by the provider.

You will need IT skills to set up, administer, and manage the server. However, in case of cloud instances initial setup is free and usually provides all the necessary configuration.


Since you share all the resources and the server itself with other users, you also share the expenses, so the cost is in the lower range.

Little bit higher, but worth every penny. Decent cloud server costs from $20 to $50 per month depending on resources and additional services.

Of course, the above reasons are not enough for most web site owners to move from shared to dedicated hosting and if you have only one non-profit, template based web site, powered by open source CMS, shared hosting is probably the best solution for you. However, there are plenty of other usages of reliable and fast server with fast broadband connection besides hosting a web presentation.

Here are just a few ideas:

  1. Collecting data on-line - it is very simple and easy to build password-protected HTML form with background script that will allow your visitors to add data to your database (regardless of the type - MySQL, MS SQL, Access or even Excel)

  2. On-line database applications - you can use your dedicated server to build simple solutions that will allow authorized users or general public to browse your database, add records, change existing data, etc. Data that can be shared are always more valuable and more useful.

  3. Extranet - shared data and supporting applications accessible through web to authorized users - for example, geographically dispersed project teams.

  4. Backup and storage - use your cloud server as safe and secure storage system for keeping backup copies of important documents you do not want to store on public storage like Google drive or Dropbox.

  5. Document sharing - build simple application for easy and safe sharing documents with your co-workers, clients and partners.

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