So it’s time for you to get your website up and running. You’ve chosen a domain name, you’re starting to think about building your website and you’ve worked out all the logistics to get your products from the warehouse to your customers’ doorsteps. But, creating an e-commerce website is a little more complicated than building a website and clicking live. Your website needs to be hosted, so that customers can view your information and purchase from you, at any given time.

Choosing the right hosting package is vital to your website’s performance. The choices can be confusing though, and every package offers different features and pricing options. 

We take a look at the difference between shared hosting and dedicated server hosting in South Africa, to help you figure out which option might be best for your business. 

What is shared hosting?

Shared hosting houses multiple websites from multiple businesses, on one server, and resources are spread over and shared among the users. These shared resources include memory, disk space, and CPU usage. Shared web hosting is a very common option for businesses owners as it’s more affordable, due to less performance, security and flexibility related features.

What is dedicated server hosting?

Unlike shared hosting where a number of websites have a server’s resources shared amongst them, a dedicated server allows one website to have their very own server. This server and all of its resources are dedicated entirely to one website. A business owner can host as many domains as they wish on the one server, and have the ability to scale up if necessary.

With that in mind, we compare their main features to help you decide which option will work for you.


A shared server offers management features ideal for website owners who don’t have the technical skills and/or time to control more complicated processes. Admin access is limited, and features can’t be customised but through the cPanel interface, you can set up email addresses, add domains, restore your website and manage files and databases.

Dedicated servers on the other hand, give you the ability to manage the server entirely on your own. With admin access (also known as root access), you can make changes and check up on processes without any limitations or restrictions. It is important to remember that the maintenance and upgrades of your server are up to you.


As shared hosting means you have to share the resources of one server, website speed and data storage is limited. This option is ideal for websites that don’t receive high volumes of traffic and don’t offer a high number of products, that allow thousands of customers to check out and make payment at once. Small and static websites will benefit from shared hosting.

A dedicated server on the hand offers a website owners a larger amount of bandwidth, data storage and fast load times. This offers a solution to websites that experience a high amount of daily traffic and multiple e-commerce processes.


While shared hosting does offer basic security features such as an SSL certificate and firewall, the fact that an IP address is shared with other website owners can put your website at risk if the other websites haven’t invested in sufficient website security

With a dedicated server, the risk of a security breach is far less as you’re not sharing your space with other, less secure websites. Additionally, you can install more layers of security to your current SSL certificate and firewalls.


Shared hosting is a more affordable option due to the limited, shared resources, while dedicated hosting is more costly due to provision of flexible and unlimited resources. However, this doesn’t mean that one is better than the other. The options depend entirely on what your business needs in its current state.

Consider the following questions to help you make the decision between shared hosting and dedicated hosting:

  1. How much control do you want over your server and its functionalities?
  2. Are you expecting your website traffic and checkouts to remain stable or  increase significantly in the near future?
  3. Do you require basic security features or layers of high performing security?
  4. What is your monthly budget for a hosting package?

In summary

Consider the following features when comparing shared versus dedicated hosting to ensure you get the right hosting for your website’s needs:

  • Server management
  • Website performance
  • Website security
  • Hosting costs

Deciding on a hosting package can take some time upfront to figure out. But, getting the right one for your website and ultimately business needs, is vital to online success.