Shared hosting, VPS and dedicated server are popular hosting types. You must decide which to use before you can purchase a hosting plan from a reliable provider and get a new website built.
Maybe you are feeling confused about which is right for you due to a lack of deep understanding, but don’t worry, this post not only includes the basics about the three hosting types, but also offers many suggestions about which you should use and when you need to make an upgrade.
Brief Information about the Hosting Types
Shared hosting is currently the most popular hosting type with the largest group of users. Using this service, you share the resources of a physical machine such as the RAM, disk space and CPU time with hundreds or even thousands of “neighbors”. This is like you are living in an apartment and sharing all the facilities with others.
VPS, which is the abbreviation of Virtual Private Server, gives you more freedom than shared hosting. Although you are still sharing the server with others, you have fewer neighbors and get a dedicated portion of resources which are not accessible to anyone else. At the same time, you are responsible for the security and performance of your own virtual server.
VPS hosting can be further divided into two types – managed VPS hosting and unmanaged VPS hosting. They are the same in terms of server resources but very different in server management and cost. For the details about the differences, read this in-depth tutorial at BestHostingSearch.
In terms of dedicated server, all the resources belong to you, so you do not share disk space, memory or CPU with any other. You are able to do whatever you want. No one else can create an account on the server unless you allow him/her to.
Shared Hosting VS VPS VS Dedicated Server – Detailed Comparison
You should have had some basic understanding about what the three hosting types are and how they are different from each other, but to make things clearer and more easy-to-understand, we will still compare them from several crucial aspects, such as cost, server control, ease of use and performance.
- Shared hosting: It comes with the least memory, CPU usage and disk space which are enough for small websites only. There are strict limits to the usage. If you consume excessive amounts of storage or CPU processing, your account will be suspended or terminated.
- VPS: Each virtual server is allotted with certain amounts of resources which can usually support the operation of a medium-sized business website or online store. The resources are dedicated to you, so even if you do not use them, they are there staying available.
- Dedicated server: It is the most powerful solution with sufficient resources for enterprises and large agencies. Even a cheap dedicated server can include more than 1 TB storage.
- Shared hosting: It is the cheapest because the cost of the entire server is also shared. Usually you can buy a good package at less than $10/mo. Some well-known providers like BlueHost also offer cheap plans which cost no more than $5/mo.
- VPS: It is more expensive than shared hosting but much cheaper than a dedicated server. Depending on the amount of available resources, the price may vary from $20 to $100/mo.
- Dedicated server: This is the most expensive option as you are the only one paying for the server. A cheap dedicated server is available at about $200/mo, while a high-end one can cost several thousands of USD per month.
- Shared hosting: You do not have much control over the server. The provider installs the operating system, programming languages and other necessary components, and you can only use what they provide.
- VPS: It performs much like a dedicated server. Since you are given root access, you can install the preferred operating system, run any software you want, and make some custom configurations on your own VPS.
- Dedicated server: You get complete freedom which allows you to perform any task.
Ease of use
- Shared hosting: You are provided with a control panel like cPanel which makes it easy to complete basic tasks like installing scripts, creating databases and managing files. No technical skills are required, so even beginners can get started quickly.
- VPS: You need to have some professional knowledge and skills about server administration especially when using an unmanaged VPS. You may have to install the operating system, control panel and anything else by yourself without any assistance.
- Dedicated server: You need an expert system admin with years of experience, or there should be endless errors and server problems.
- Shared hosting: It is less secure than the other two options. Because the server is shared by many people (maybe some are bad guys), your websites can be easily affected by others’ security problems. If a neighbor is hacked, it is probable that your website will also get blacklisted by search engines like Google due to the same IP.
- VPS: You are allowed to install malware detection and anti-virus software to fight against malicious attacks. Besides, websites hosted on a VPS are not likely to be affected by others. However, severe DDoS attacks launched toward another virtual server on the same physical machine can also impact your server and make it inaccessible.
- Dedicated server: The security is well guaranteed, but a technician is needed if you want to make enhancements.
- Shared hosting: There are more performance issues on shared servers than the other two. As the CPU time and memory are shared by so many people, you only get a very small portion. When your website grows, it can be lower. Besides, you may also be slowed down by the excessive consumption of the neighbors.
- VPS: It is able to handle many more requests thus guarantee much better speed. A good VPS can deal with thousands of daily visits well.
- Dedicated server: It is the fastest and the most reliable.
- Shared hosting: You can get support for both simple hosting issues and server problems. Most providers offer 24×7 free support, while the response time and quality cannot be guaranteed sometimes.
- VPS: The support team is usually more professional and knows much about server management. But most unmanaged VPS hosting plans do not include technical support.
- Dedicated server: The support requests from these users are always given top priority.
Which Hosting Type Is Right for You Now?
Still not clear enough about the choice? Then you can refer to the following suggestions.
Shared hosting is a suitable option if you want to:
- Try out web hosting with a small budget.
- Host a small personal website with moderate traffic and little dynamic content.
For shared hosting, the providers listed below are good options with excellent performance and around-the-clock support. You can read their reviews to know more about them. Also, we have a tutorial about how to choose a web hosting service.
VPS is recommended when you:
- Want to make your own customizations to the server.
- Would like to use a dedicated IP or install a private SSL certificate.
- Have to host some applications that are not supported on shared servers, such as Ghost.
- Manage one or several fast growing websites with dynamic content.
- Run an eCommerce site and require high performance.
- Host a large number of websites for clients.
There are many good VPS providers in the market. Below are some of the leading ones.
Dedicated server is designed for:
- Large businesses or enterprises with complicated d tasks to perform.
- Those who run online gaming sites and large online stores.
- Any other who demands optimal performance and absolute control.
If you are looking for a high performance and affordable dedicated server, check our best dedicated server hosting recommendations which have been offering the service for more than 10 years while maintaining a good reputation.
There are times that the previous solution is not sufficient and an upgrade is required. For example, when your website becomes slow because you are running out the disk space or bandwidth, you will have to consider purchasing a more advanced plan.
But remember, before switching to a higher level of hosting, make sure that you are well prepared with the necessary technical skills. Or you need to hire a professional to handle the server administration and customizations for you.