Shared Hosting vs. VPS Hosting vs. Dedicated Server – Which Should You Choose?

When searching for a hosting for a website, shared, VPS hosting and dedicated hosting are usually the three most common hosting types you’ll find at any hosting provider. If you know how to evaluate the hosting requirements of your website and understand the advantages and disadvantages of each hosting type, it’s easy to choose the type of hosting that meets these requirements. For those who have yet to discover how each of these hosting plans compare to one another, and which hosting would provide the most benefits for their website, our article will attempt to give a thorough presentation of the benefits and drawbacks of each hosting type, so you can choose the hosting that will deliver the best performance for your website.

Since the hosting you choose can make or break your website, you shouldn’t rely on pricing alone to decide which hosting to choose, you’ll also need to understand the nature, the performance and security level offered by shared hosting, VPS and dedicated hosting.

Quick Comparison: Shared vs. VPS vs. Dedicated Hosting

Shared hosting is the low-cost option when it comes to web hosting. The shared hosting experience is often compared to living in an apartment complex, because just like in an apartment complex, where resources like the playground and swimming pool are shared by all residents living there, shared hosting accounts must share the resources of the same physical server they reside on. A VPS hosting plan on the other hand, allocates exclusive resources to the accounts residing on the same server, and these resources are always guaranteed and dedicated for each account. Not only that server resources are separate and allotted for each account, but unlike with shared hosting, there are even fewer accounts on the same server. Dedicated hosting is the ultimate hosting plan, and it’s compared to living in a house – all resources are yours to use and you don’t need to share anything with anyone, that is, an entire physical server is at your website’s disposal at all times.

For a more in-depth understanding of these hosting plans, here is a breakdown of the pros and cons of each hosting plan:

Shared Hosting

Server resources like CPU, memory and disk space are shared among all the accounts hosted on the same server. Although you don’t have a say in how the server is configured and how resources are shared between different accounts, shared hosting is how hosting companies can provide low cost hosting for their customers. A shared hosting is suitable for small companies who just need a static website and a limited number of email accounts, small personal blogs and websites with a low rate of daily visitors.

Advantages

  • Shared hosting is the cheapest hosting option available at any hosting provider;
  • It requires no technical maintenance of the server by the customer;
  • Extra storage may be provided on-demand;
  • One-click software installs are usually available.

Disadvantages

  • Resources are shared and limited, even with “unlimited shared hosting” plans;
  • Your website’s performance can be affected by other websites using up too many resources;
  • Your website’s reputation can be affected by sharing the same IP address with less reputable websites;
  • You are more likely to face security issues on a shared server;
  • You may not have access to around the clock customer support.

VPS Hosting

As a middle-ground plan between shared hosting and dedicated hosting, VPS hosting has many benefits. Unlike dedicated hosting, VPS hosting is more affordable all the while offering you the advantage of dedicated resources. While it borrows some of the characteristics of shared hosting in that several VPS accounts run alongside each other on the same physical server, they are kept separate from each other and one’s activity has no bearing on the other’s activity. Businesses looking for more resources, performance, security and customisability most often opt for a VPS hosting plan. VPS hosting is suitable for ecommerce websites and any high traffic website.

Advantages

  • Plenty of CPU, RAM, bandwidth and storage available only for you to use;
  • No speed performance issues because of other accounts;
  • Root access gives users the possibility to install and run custom software and applications (e.g. possibility to install custom firewalls) and configure the server as they wish;
  • Dedicated support is available 24/7;
  • VPS subscriptions can be upgraded and downgraded at any time.

Disadvantages

  • Demands a higher level of technical knowledge from their users;
  • Is costlier than shared hosting;
  • You may encounter problems with certain applications that may not perform well in virtualised environments.

Dedicated Server Hosting

When it comes to bulletproof solutions for your resource-demanding websites and applications, a dedicated server hosting provides an unmatched hosting experience in terms of speed, performance, resources, reliability and security. It’s no doubt the best that hosting has to offer. With a dedicated server hosting you have an entire server’s resources at your disposal to run the scripts and apps you want, configure the server as you wish, and implement the security measures you need. Dedicated hosting is suitable for storing sensitive data, payment processing, huge traffic websites and resource intensive applications.

Advantages

  • The Holy Grail of webhosting – ample disk space, bandwidth and RAM dedicated for your needs;
  • Ultra-customisability in terms of operating system, software and hardware;
  • Premium support 24/7;
  • Dedicated IP address for better privacy and security;
  • Highly secure and reliable hosting environment with maximum uptime;
  • Ideal hosting environment for ecommerce websites, online stores and websites dealing with financial transactions frequently.

Disadvantages

  • Dedicated servers require serious networking know-how;
  • It’s more expensive than other hosting options;
  • Website owners have to deal with the complexities of setting up, maintaining and troubleshooting the server, aspects that cannot be performed by those without technical experience.

Which one to choose?

Whether you possess the necessary technical expertise to manage a server or not, the nature and evolution of your website or online business will have the last word in your decision over which type of hosting to choose. Shared hosting may seem like the no-brainer choice at first, but if what your business is set out to do can no longer be achieved with a shared hosting, sooner or later, you’ll be finding yourself looking for a VPS or dedicated hosting plan. While costlier than unmanaged plans, fully managed hosting plans can help in compensating for the shortcomings you may have in the field of server management.

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