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When does a shared hosting user outgrow their space and services? When should you make the jump from a shared hosting server to a dedicated or virtual one for your website? This article deals with the decision of when to upgrade your shared hosting account.

Website or user expansion

If you are adding more of anything which doesn’t fit into your standard account, then it’s definitely time to upgrade. This does not only mean using up all your web space or data transfer limit. It could mean adding more domains into your account or having more than the permitted number of email addresses for your plan. If you are making a drastic jump in terms of overall expansion for your company or website, then it is time to look beyond shared hosting. If you are making small changes to your setup, then try out shared hosting and if you still feel the need you can always make the jump to something better.

Resource limits being hit

A common cause for switching from shared hosting to a VPS or dedicated server is when you are continuously hitting the resource limits of the server, which have been allocated to you. Being a shared server, the server has limitations as to how much of CPU or memory it can allow a single user to take up, without affecting the performance of the server or depriving other users on the same server from using the resources comfortably. Most hosts will allow you to have a spike in the usage, so that short bursts of high usage are permitted. But on a long term basis, if you are looking at consuming greater resources over a longer period of time, then it’s time to switch to something beyond shared hosting. This could either mean going in for a Virtual Private Server or going in for a

Dedicated Server. Complaints from your webhost

More often than not, before you realize that you are hitting resource limits on the server, your web hosting will contact you to point out the issues. Web hosting companies need to balance resources on their server, by constantly monitoring and throttling resources, when normal use becomes abusive. This means that the host will be automatically alerted when you have hit certain limits and will be able to immediately identify why your account is taking up resources. Web hosts usually send out a warning of resource usage, before taking any corrective steps. If you continue to consume high resources, depriving other legitimate users from using them, then web hosts will require to step in and may even suspend your account. The normal practice is to warn the user of high usage and give them an opportunity to upgrade their service or correct the issues leading to the abnormal behavior. If after repeated warnings a user does not restrict the high usage, then web hosts may throttle the resources or even suspend the account.

Unsupported features

If you are looking at certain features for your website or web applications, which are not supported by shared hosting, then it is obvious that you need to upgrade yourself. Some options which may not be available with shared hosting is “root access” or administrator access to modify system files or OS files on the server. Similarly access to the shell or command prompt is restricted at most hosts. Also access to server configuration and firewall settings cannot be altered by shared users. Since all these options affect every tenant on the shared server, these places are restricted. The only way of getting access and customizing these options is to get your own server i.e. either a Virtual Server or a Dedicated Server, but do remember that managing your own server requires expertise and lots of time.