The most wonderful thing in the world is that of choice. The worst thing in the world is having to make one.
Website hosting (opens in new tab) for your website is often a highly complicated and contentious process. Likely this will be one of the largest decisions you will make which can possibly become the backbone of your business moving forward. It's not only a website hosting company, it is a valued partnership. Regardless of the size of your website or the traffic you will need to choose wisely in order to avoid technology pitfalls, cost sinkholes and mindless features.
Your best bet is educating yourself about the difference between some of the most popular plans like shared vs VPS hosting.
Shared and VPS hosting overview
Shared hosting (opens in new tab) is a type of hosting plan which can house thousands of websites on a single server. It is known to be the most affordable web hosting option on the market. Shared hosting is similar to living in an apartment. It is similar in the notion that there are a lot of people sharing limited resources.
When you rent an apartment, you agree to share the pool, the parking lot, the gym and so much more. When you purchase a shared hosting plan, you agree to share bandwidth and storage space with all the other tenants of the server.
This also means that you are directly affected by the actions of other tenants on your server. In an apartment, if your neighbor is being too loud at night, you can hear them through the walls. In a hosting environment, if another tenant of your server is occupying too much of the server’s storage then you might find the speed of your site slowing down.
VPS hosting (opens in new tab) is a hosting service which houses websites in dedicated sections on the server. It is very similar to owning a condo. There are still several amenities which are shared, but you are responsible for the property maintenance and repairs.
With owning and living in a condo, there are generally fewer people. This allows more breathing room. VPS hosting is very similar as there are fewer people on each server. It allows you to customise your dedicated section of the server to your website requirements. You still share some of the amenities with other neighbors, but you are not as restricted. This allows you to have more power and flexibility.
What are the advantages of shared hosting?
Shared hosting is one of the most popular types of hosting as it is the most affordable. One advantage of shared hosting is the ability to have unlimited disk space. No matter how large your website may grow in file size, shared hosting can store everything.
Shared hosting is perfect for websites which do not require a large amount of resources and have minimal traffic. As resources are shared across all websites, this allows smaller websites that aren’t as resource-demanding to run efficiently.
All of the maintenance and updates for your server are completed automatically by your hosting company. This gives you more time to focus on your website content or further building out your website with a drag-and-drop website builder (opens in new tab).
Getting started with shared hosting is a simple process and allows you to get your website live as quickly as possible.
What are the advantages of VPS hosting?
Similar to shared hosting, VPS hosting has its own advantages. Since your website is on its own dedicated section of the server, you can control resources, install software and truly configure your VPS to comply with your website requirements.
Another advantage of VPS hosting is having root access. This allows for greater configuration as well as increased ease of VPS management and updates. Having the ability to fully customize your VPS will also allow for increased server security. You will be able to manage all security features for your VPS.
For websites that are growing, VPS hosting brings a whole new level of power and resources to the hosting world. This means when your website gets hit with a large increase in traffic, it won’t experience downtime, allowing you to focus on your visitors.
One major advantage of VPS hosting is higher performance with increased bandwidth and resources. This allows your website to load at superfast speeds and for your viewers to experience optimal performance.
What are the disadvantages of shared hosting?
One of the disadvantages of shared hosting is the limitations of overall resources. Most shared hosting servers can host thousands of websites on one server. This negatively affects the overall speed of your website. If you receive a huge traffic spike or your website goes viral, your website may encounter sluggishness or downtime.
Security is a concern with shared hosting. Since your website is on a server with possibly thousands of other websites, there is no way to confirm that all security updates and maintenance tasks have been completed across each individual website. This can lead to a security risk as it is not possible to manage every CMS (opens in new tab) or the security of every website on the same server.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to perform server customization on shared hosting due to the ramifications that it could have on other customer websites. Due to this, you are required to use the standard server configuration.
What are the disadvantages of VPS hosting?
One disadvantage of VPS hosting is the limitation on bandwidth and disk space. VPS hosting does not come with unlimited disk space. If you reach your maximum disk space, you will need to either remove old website files or look at upgrading your VPS account.
Getting your website set up on VPS hosting can require some technical ability. Resource management and overall maintenance can be a bit complex throughout setup. This is where you need a hosting provider that can help you right away. Most hosting companies have 24/7 support, but after hours call are usually shipped overseas. If you feel you need a provider that understands the nuances of working in America, then you need to be sure to take a close look at 24/7 U.S. based support.
If you are really looking for some serious support, web hosting companies are now beginning to offer premium support. This service can provide a streamlined ticketing system (opens in new tab) that moves to the top of a queue, staffed with more senior experts and is guaranteed to move your issue along quickly to a resolution.
Shared vs VPS hosting in a nutshell
The key points of difference between the two can be boiled down to the following:
1. Resources: In shared hosting, as the name suggests, the server’s resources are shared between all the customers hosted on that particular server. On the other hand, a VPS, while technically being a part of a server, gives the impression of a dedicated server, thanks to its design. The advantage with VPS in terms of resources is that you’ll have access to a higher number of resources for your own private use as compared to shared hosting. This allows greater flexibility to scale your website.
2. Performance: A natural extension of the above is that access to a greater number of resources will result in better performance. While shared hosting providers use the latest hardware and software techniques such as SSDs (opens in new tab) and CDNs (opens in new tab) to guarantee performance, generally speaking you’ll get even better results with VPS. That’s because in VPS hosting, the performance of your website will not be affected by the pull on the resources by your neighbours as it is in shared hosting.
3. Security: Again, sharing resources also has a detrimental effect on security. While shared hosts do take adequate measures to ensure uptime, theoretically security breaches on a neighbour does compromise your integrity as well. With VPS hosting though you can take charge of the security of your website and take all necessary steps to thwart attacks.
Which hosting type should I choose?
The answer to this vital question is based on your website's needs and goals.
We recommend using shared hosting if:
- You want to launch your website quickly. If you want to focus on getting your website live without worrying about server configuration, shared hosting is the best option.
- You have a limited or restricted budget. As shared hosting is known to be the least expensive, it can be a great hosting package for getting started.
- You want to grow over time. Starting with shared hosting can be a wise approach. When your website starts to grow, you can reach out to your hosting company to upgrade your account.
We recommend using VPS hosting if:
- Your website has large amounts of traffic. Providing high performance through increased resources and customization, VPS hosting can handle high traffic.
- You want greater freedom, performance, and speed. Bringing power and resources to your website, VPS hosting gives you the freedom to develop and build your website the way you prefer.
- You want to install custom software and have full root access. VPS hosting allows you to fully customize your VPS exactly how you like it. With full root access, you can install any custom software.
Shared hosting is usually the best option for small websites to get started. It’s also the most affordable.
Whether you are an experienced website developer or a local business startup, VPS hosting should absolutely be considered. When choosing a hosting package for a larger website, VPS hosting is excellent in providing reliability, speed, as well as customization.
The main deciding factors between shared hosting and VPS hosting are the website’s requirements, your technical understanding, and your budget.
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