Shared hosting and VPS hosting are equally popular among website owners. The former is more budget-friendly and the latter offers more resources to websites that need it. In this article, we’ll explain the characteristics of both types of hosting with their impartial strong and weak sides.
Plus, we’ll compare shared hosting against a virtual private server by such parameters as security and performance, control, server administration, and scalability.
Brief Characteristics of Shared Hosting
As its name suggests, this type of hosting means that you’ll be sharing your web resources with several third-party sites. We’re talking about such resources as CPU, disk space, and memory. It’s the most cost-efficient type of hosting that you may come across. On the flipside, your bandwidth will be limited. When sites hosted on the same server as you experience a traffic spike, yours might start to work slower too.
Shared hosting is optimal for the following categories of clients:
- Blog or personal site owners
- Businesses with small to medium-sized sites
- Those on a limited budget
- Those with limited expertise in web development
Shared hosting provides a standardized setup. You won’t get root access and your access to the back end will be limited.
Distinctive Features of VPS
VPS costs more than shared hosting but it justifies its price. Your site will be hosted on the same physical server as several others sites. But you’ll get a specified set of resources that you won’t need to share with anyone.
You might want to opt for VPS hosting if you meet one of the following criteria:
- Run a business that might start to scale one day
- Expect high traffic for your website in a few months or years
- Have a budget that you can afford to invest in hosting
With a VPS hosting plan, you’ll get root access to your server and much more memory and bandwidth, compared to shared hosting. Spikes in traffic of other websites hosted on the same server won’t affect your site. Your hosting will be fast, stable and easily scalable.
You might need certain technical expertise to manage your VPS. Or, you might opt for a managed plan: in this case, your provider will be in charge of all the technical aspects related to hosting.
Shared Hosting vs VPS Hosting: Which Is Better?
Now, let’s compare these two types of hosting by the four most essential parameters.
Security and Performance
Both shared hosting and a VPS are rather stable and secure. Yet if you opt for the former, your site might be affected by errors on another site, hosted on the same server as yours. If other sites eat up too much of the shared bandwidth, your site might get slowed down. You might fail to notice that your site is loading slower than usual if its traffic is not too high. But if many users try to access your site at the same time, the difference in speed will be obvious.
A site hosted on a VPS should always load quickly. But it might face errors if you try to manage it yourself while lacking technical skills. To make sure everything operates as intended, you might opt for a managed plan and entrust all the technical operations to your provider.
A VPS gives you more control than shared hosting. With the former, you’ll get root access to the server. You’ll be able to install your own OS, a control panel, and software to optimize your website’s performance and security. With a shared hosting plan, you’ll get only standardized server setups.
Shared hosting providers offer the following set of services to their clients:
- Set up the shared server
- Install and upgrade the necessary software, including the control panel
- Monitor the servers to maximize uptime
- Take care of the back end
You’ll hardly need to do any technical maintenance yourself.
With a VPS, you’ll be able to do the following:
- Get root access
- Tailor the back end to your individual demands
- Customize and configure applications and software to enhance your website’s performance
But you’ll need technical knowledge to understand what exactly you can and should do.
Shared hosting is not recommended for websites that are planning to scale. It’s good only for small web projects, such as a personal blog. Or, you might want to launch your website on shared hosting to save funds at the initial stage — and update to a more advanced hosting plan as soon as you can afford it. If you begin to scale on shared hosting, your site will fail to cope with increasing traffic numbers.
A VPS, by contrast, provides easy scaling opportunities. VPS hosting might be a great investment for those who can predict their sites’ growth. Before signing a contract with your hosting provider, you should double-check the terms and conditions of scaling. You should get to know how long it will take you to get more resources for your site, how much you’ll need to pay for that and which technical operations you should be ready to carry out.
How Can You Realize It’s Time to Switch from Shared Hosting to a VPS?
Before upgrading from a shared hosting plan to a VPS, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I need more options and freedom for managing my server?
- How likely is my site to face a considerable increase in traffic in the few next months or years?
- Can it happen so that one day, I need to host more than one site?
If at least one of the answers is positive, you should consider switching to a VPS.
Hopefully, you found this article informative and now you better understand the difference between shared hosting and VPS hosting. If your online business is just getting started, you might want to start with the former: it’s cheaper and you’ll be sharing resources with several third-party sites. With a VPS, you’ll be required to pay more but all the resources will belong only to you.