Shared hosting or dedicated hosting? As an MSP looking to provide the highest and most consistent standard of service to your clients, this is a fundamental dilemma that you need to resolve.
In this article, we'll be comparing the two options, with recommendations as to which is the better choice
On a shared hosting platform, all resources allocated to subscribers come from a single, finite reserve, which is partitioned out to users. This means that server capacity, network bandwidth, underlying IT infrastructure, and services available are all shared between multiple tenants from the central provider renting out the space.
In practice, what this means is that the amount of storage space and bandwidth you are allotted is limited – and you're liable to be surcharged if your usage exceeds the limits stipulated in your contract. Some hosts may even add extra charges or penalties for transmitting and storing elements like videos or music, which typically come as large files and/or use a large amount of bandwidth. In some cases, these additional charges may apply even if you don't exceed your stipulated allowances.
Since your MSP business can only thrive if your customers are satisfied with the IT infrastructure and capabilities that you provide, operating under constraints like this can seriously impact your bottom line – and not in a good way.
With a shared hosting solution, basic infrastructure isn't the only thing affected by the presence of others on the platform. With other websites and organisations sharing the same cloud space and bandwidth, there can be performance issues as well. For example, heavy data traffic at certain times of day can seriously slow down information transfer to and from your operation – even if your own usage is moderate. That kind of slowdown won't sit well with your clients.
A shared online presence also means shared IP addresses – and this can have major repercussions if other users on the network engage in activities that contravene good internet etiquette and business practices, such as spam generation or malware distribution. All users under the same IP can be tarred with the same brush, even if just one user is flagged for such behaviour. And the damage which results may tarnish not just your reputation, but also the image of any of the clients associated with your MSP business by virtue of the services you provide.
Shared hosting also means less control. Even if the hosting company does its best to keep things running smoothly, it may prefer to keep a tight grip over how its servers and infrastructure are used. Ultimately, the company could be making choices on your behalf – a situation that can reduce your autonomy and your ability to fine tune systems for your clients.
On the plus side, shared hosting is generally a low-cost option (at least at the outset before any surcharges kick in). And if you're dealing with a reputable outfit, the hosting company may install powerful firewalls, server security applications and other software to safeguard your privacy and security. These are benefits that you can pass on to your clients.
On a dedicated hosting platform, you are the sole tenant. As such, you won't have to share resources and infrastructure with anyone else, meaning the services and functions you pay for under your contract are available only to you to deploy as you see fit. With flexible contracts, you can scale the resource levels up or down in response to changes in demand from your existing client base, the addition of new customers, or the conditions of your MSP business as a whole.
With dedicated hosting, you'll immediately have far more operational flexibility to deal with traffic spikes, customise your settings, or install specialised software to meet your needs and the needs of your clients. Your MSP business will have full control over the server capacity, bandwidth, and associated infrastructure covered in your contract. Over time, this level of control will translate into greater efficiency and improved service delivery – both of which will have a positive effect on your bottom line.
With a fully-managed dedicated hosting plan, you won't have to worry about the underlying infrastructure. Management, maintenance, administration, and security will all be taken care of by the hosting provider at source. Without the headaches associated with infrastructure management, you'll have more time to devote to your clients.
If you choose a "white label" dedicated hosting solution, you can even brand the platform's administration panel and other client-facing software with your own name and logo. In the eyes of your clients, it will appear that you have your own cloud infrastructure – raising the profile of your organisation, and inspiring greater confidence and loyalty.
Which Is Better for Your MSP Business?
On balance, it should be clear. Exclusive access to your own hosting space, the ability to scale your infrastructure in line with demand, the freedom to allocate resources to your clients in the way that you decide, and a single centralised hub for security and administration all combine to make dedicated hosting the better option for MSPs.
MSP-HOST is a white label dedicated hosting solution that provides Unifi cloud hosting to service providers who are looking for a streamlined, hassle-free and cost-effective solution for managing their clients’ hosting requirements. And as an MSP, you won't have to shoulder the hefty upfront costs of setting up your own hosting equipment.
Hosting packages start from as little as £19 per month. To sign up for a 30-day free trial package or arrange a free demonstration, contact an MSP-HOST representative.