Here’s the thing. When you’re a brand new WordPress website owner with a small website and little traffic, a shared web hosting plan is often the perfect place to start.

Shared hosting means you rent a portion of server space from a web hosting company like HostGator. That server powers and protects your site and the site’s of every other website owner that accesses the same shared server.

Shared servers are big and powerful, but there comes a time when a website may outgrow a shared server. When a website starts getting loads of traffic or has files that take up a lot of storage space, website owners often need to look for a more suitable hosting arrangement.

Enter VPS hosting for WordPress as an affordable hosting option.

This article will cover the following questions:

  • What is VPS hosting and what are its advantages?
  • How do you know you need VPS hosting?
  • How do you pick a VPS hosting plan?

What is VPS hosting and what are its advantages?

There are several different hosting options in the web hosting world, each offering different features, benefits, and solutions for websites of different sizes.

As mentioned above, shared hosting is when a website owner rents a space on a server with other website owners. It’s kind of like going to a restaurant and sharing the dining space with other patrons.

A dedicated server is when a website owner rents an entire server that no other website can access. It’s like reserving the entire restaurant just for you. Fancy.

A VPS hosting, or virtual private server hosting, is the solution in between a shared hosting plan and a dedicated hosting plan. To continue with the restaurant analogy, it’s like renting a private, closed off booth or room in a restaurant that no other restaurant patrons can access.

WordPress is a content management system (CMS). You can install WordPress and create your own website using any of these types of hosting plans.

web hosting infographic

What Is a VPS?

A VPS is an independent partition of a physical server. In other words, a hosting company will create various virtual partitions of one server, meaning each site and its respective files are kept completely separate, but on the same server.

If you start to outgrow your shared hosting account, a VPS hosting plan may be the perfect fit. Consider the following advantages:

  • Control and flexibility. One benefit of a VPS is administrative access. When you have administrative access, you can install and configure software and customize it to your liking.
  • More power. Since you are not sharing your server with a bunch of other website owners, you have more space to store your files and to handle larger amounts of concurrent traffic.
  • Security. Since a VPS is a private partition on a server, you can rest assured that your files will be more secure.
  • Cost. While a VPS plan is more expensive than a shared hosting plan, it’s significantly cheaper than a dedicated hosting plan. Not to mention, you get many of the same benefits of a dedicated server.
  • Multiple cPanel accounts. A VPS plan also allows you to create multiple cPanel accounts for different websites. This means you can manage additional sites or create accounts for other website owners.
  • Technical growth. Getting the most out of your VPS will require a bit of learning, but you’ll also gain additional technical prowess as you learn more about VPS maintenance, cPanel creation, software updates, and more.

How do you know if you need VPS hosting for your WordPress website?

With all the different web hosting options for WordPress sites, you’re probably wondering how you know whether or not you need a VPS plan — or if a basic shared hosting plan will work fine.

Here are some scenarios that mean it’s time for a VPS upgrade.

1. You start getting more traffic

The more concurrent traffic a website gets, the harder the server has to work. If you start seeing your website slow down during peak traffic times, then congratulations! Your website is growing and people are interested in your website.

When your WordPress website starts getting too much traffic for your shared hosting plan to handle, it’s time to look into a VPS hosting plan.

2. You’re worried about security

Hackers rarely worry about small websites, but they do pay attention to websites that get more traffic, have more private data, and accept payments online. 

If you build a WordPress website that captures customer data, then added security should be one of your first priorities. VPS hosting plans are a great option for enhanced security.

3. You plan to scale your website quickly

Sometimes it makes sense for a new website owner to start with a VPS plan from the get-go, instead of starting with a shared plan and upgrading later.

If you know you are building a large website, will start getting a lot of traffic immediately, or plan to start accepting online payments as you launch your site, then it makes sense to start with a VPS hosting plan.

4. You want to install your own software

If you’re more technically minded and want to install your own software, install modules or apps that aren’t supported by shared hosting, or configure your own settings, then skip the shared hosting plan.

A VPS hosting plan allows you to configure your settings how you like and also install software. In other words, it gives you more control on how you want your server and WordPress site to work.

5. You want a virtual dev environment for testing

A VPS isn’t all about expanding storage and capabilities for one, single website. It’s also a great resource when you want to test your own software development. 

A VPS allows you to set up a virtual dev environment to test out your own thing. 

If you are a beginner, have low traffic, and only want the basics like WordPress, FTP, and cPanel, then a shared hosting plan is the perfect fit. If you plan on doing anything beyond the basics, then VPS is the way to go.

How do you pick a VPS hosting plan?

Just like there are different types of servers, there are also different types of VPS hosting plans. HostGator goes above and beyond to make sure you have enough resources on your VPS plan, but also that you never have to overpay for storage or CPU that you may not use.

All of HostGator’s VPS hosting plans come with dedicated resources, full root access, unmetered bandwidth, and easy scaling.

The difference in the plans lies mostly in how much RAM, CPU, and disc space you will need. Here is a deeper look into what you get with the three different plans to help you pick the right VPS hosting plan for your needs:

  • Snappy 2000. The Snappy 2000 plan starts at $19.95 a month and comes with 2GB of RAM, 2 cores CPU, 120 GB of disc space, unmetered bandwidth, and 2 dedicated IPs. This is a good choice for website owners that need more storage than shared offers or want root access, but don’t have high demands.
  • Snappy 4000. The Snappy 4000 plan starts at $29.95 a month and comes with 4 GB of RAM, 2 cores CPU, 165 GB of disc space, unmetered bandwidth, and 2 dedicated IPS. This is our recommended plan for people who want to try out a VPS hosting plan. It gives you enough storage to build a robust website, but leaves room for you to scale.
  • Snappy 8000. The Snappy 8000 plan starts at $39.95 a month and comes with 8 GB of RAM, 4 cores CPU, 240 GB of disc space, unmetered bandwidth, and 2 dedicated IPs. If you plan on building a large website that gets a lot of traffic or accepts payments, this is a great plan. This is also the plan to select if you want to start a gaming server or host other people’s websites.

A VPS plan is an excellent choice for a WordPress website. If you have questions about selecting the best plan, any one of our customer support team members would be happy to answer your questions.

Get started with a VPS hosting plan for WordPress today!

A VPS hosting plan is the perfect choice if you’ve outgrown a shared hosting plan and want most of the benefits of a dedicated server at a fraction of the cost.

HostGator is one of the top web hosting companies, and we offer three different VPS plans to suit your needs as your site grows. Learn more about our VPS hosting plans today.

Ashley R. Cummings is a professional freelance writer specializing in SaaS, tech, and advertising/marketing. In a previous life, she was a Russian teacher at Brigham Young University, a corporate trainer, and a grad student—all at the same time. When she’s not writing, you can find her traveling the world with her 2 kids and husband, reading poetry or taking a deep dive into the fabulous world of comedy. Connect with her on Twitter at @ashleyrcummings.