When you’re ready to build a new website one of the first things you’re going to need is hosting. But, how do you know which kind of hosting is best for your site?
Your web host will play a big role in your site’s performance, security, uptime, rankings, and lot more. Choose the wrong type of hosting and you’re only going to hinder your success.
When you’re first getting started online there are two main types of hosting you probably come across more than most. Those are VPS hosting and shared hosting.
At their core, you’re getting the same thing, a place to store your website’s files—but how they function and the features you’ll have access to differ greatly.
Below we take an in-depth look at web hosting VPS vs shared options, so you can decide which form of hosting is best for you.
By the end of this review, you’ll know the distinct benefits of each web hosting service, and what type of website owner shared and VPS hosting plans are best suited for.
What is VPS Hosting?
VPS stands for “Virtual Private Server.” This form of hosting definitely offers you more performance and storage than a shared hosting plan. VPS hosting technically is shared hosting, but its configuration is wholly different than a standard shared host.
VPS hosting uses multiple physical servers to create a large virtual server that operates like a dedicated server. In this sense, it’s similar to shared hosting, in that there will be more than one website using the same machine, but the technology used to separate users and assign user resources is much more technical.
When compared to shared hosting there are a lot fewer users using the resources of a single server. This makes your VPS hosting environment much more private, and using it feels similar to using a physical dedicated server.
Advantages of VPS Hosting
One of the biggest advantages of VPS hosting is that you’ll be getting considerably more bandwidth and space. So, if your site is experiencing high volumes of traffic, or your site is growing rapidly, then this style of hosting can easily fit your needs.
VPS hosting is perfect for sites that demand reliability and stability. Downtime can lead to a serious loss of revenue for large websites and even significant losses for smaller sites as well. If you want to avoid downtime at all costs, then consider VPS hosting.
Beyond having a greater level of server resources at your disposal, you’ll also have the ability to scale your site without any friction. VPS hosting is very flexible, you’ll be able to scale server resources up and down as you see fit. It’s not as instantly flexible as cloud hosting, but the flexibility offered greatly outshines shared hosting.
With VPS you’ll also have greater control over your server’s configuration. If you, or your team, have the necessary technical skills you can greatly configure your server to help get the most out of your site. But, even if you’re not technically inclined most hosting companies offer a higher level of support for users on VPS accounts.
Finally, VPS hosting also offers you higher levels of security. Now, shared hosting is still incredibly secure. But, most VPS hosting plans go above and beyond existing shared hosting levels of security.
Disadvantages of VPS Hosting
When comparing VPS and shared hosting the biggest disadvantage you’ll come across is the price. Since VPS offers you a greater list of features, along with higher levels of bandwidth and storage this will undoubtedly come at a cost.
However, it still might not be as steep as you think. Since VPS servers still rely upon a shared physical server framework, these costs are still diversified across multiple users—unlike dedicated server hosting, where you have to pay for the entirety of the server resources yourself.
But, if you’re making a decent amount of revenue with your website, then this cost will be negligible. Especially, when you consider what you’re getting for higher monthly rates—incredible uptime, improved performance, greater scalability, and improved server flexibility.
Beyond the added cost, there’s one more downside to using VPS hosting. Having a greater level of control over your hosting environment can be either advantageous or disadvantageous, depending on your technical skills or your existing team.
Since VPS hosting gives you access to improved levels of server configuration, you might need a team member with the necessary technical skills to manage your server. Even bringing on a full-time team member might be necessary depending on how much traffic your site receives.
Before you purchase VPS hosting make sure you find a plan with bundled technical support and configuration.
Who is VPS Hosting Best For?
If you’re in the process of learning how to make a website, then you probably won’t need VPS hosting. But, if you have a well-established business, and you know you’re going to start receiving a high-volume of traffic from the very beginning, then you might want to start with VPS hosting.
A lot of website owners also choose to upgrade from shared hosting to VPS hosting as their needs change. If you have steadily increasing levels of traffic, or your storage requirements have greatly increased, then VPS hosting just makes sense.
Finally, if you’re looking for greater server flexibility and customization, then go with VPS. With VPS you get the power of a dedicated server but at a fraction of the price. If you have a rock-solid technical team behind you then you’ll be able to get the most out of your server and in turn your website.
Lastly, before you make the jump to VPS make sure your site is making enough money that it’s within your budget. But if your traffic levels are high enough to make the switch a necessity, then your website is probably generating enough revenue to pay for itself, and then some.
What is Shared Hosting?
Shared hosting is the most basic form of hosting. With this style of hosting you have multiple sites sharing a single server. This helps to reduce overall costs, as you’re sharing server resources.
Each site on the server is allocated a certain amount of server resources. This does make it difficult to expand your site, but up to a certain point, this level of hosting can be very high-performing and economical.
Even though you’re sharing this server space with other users, each space is partitioned and completely secure from other sites on the same server. So, there’s no need to worry about your security being compromised.
The number of different websites you’re sharing the server with will depend upon how and what kind of limits it places on each server.
Advantages of Shared Hosting
One of the biggest reasons people use a shared hosting solution is the cost. This is the main attractor for most people who are getting started building a website online. If you don’t have a huge budget just starting out, then this will probably be the best option for you.
Shared hosting is not only cheap, but it’s packed with a ton of useful features that can support your site until you’re getting tens of thousands of visitors per month.
Plus, shared hosting is very user-friendly for beginners. If you’ve never built a website before, configured hosting, or registered a domain name, you’ll find a variety of tutorials and walkthroughs that’ll help you setup everything in a few hours tops.
With shared hosting, your hosting provider will take care of most of the technical tasks for you. For example, if you need web hosting for your WordPress site you can use one of the built-in apps to install and configure WordPress in a couple minutes.
With shared hosting, you can easily setup and manage your site with virtually zero programming or technical skills. This level of hosting can easily serve you and your site until you’re getting hundreds of website visitors per day.
Disadvantages of Shared Hosting
One of the main drawbacks you’ll find with shared hosting is its inherent performance limitations. Since you’re sharing server space with hundreds or thousands of different websites, server resources can run low.
You’ll feel this the most if you’re experiencing a large surge in traffic, or if your site’s traffic has been steadily rising. Shared hosting doesn’t normally have the bandwidth to handle a large volume of traffic. So, if your site’s been scaling quickly, then you might run into the limits of this style of hosting rather quickly.
There’s also the chance that your site’s performance can be impacted by other sites sharing the same server. For instance, if a site you’re sharing the web server with is experiencing a large volume of traffic, then your site might load more slowly.
If you don’t get a large volume of traffic, and your site is relatively small, then this might not be an issue for you. But, if your site is growing, then you could experience higher levels of downtime and slower performance overall.
Who is Shared Hosting Best For?
Shared hosting is probably going to be the best solution for a lot of website owners. If you’re building out your first website, then shared hosting is a no-brainer. It’s cheap and will give you everything you require to setup and start growing your site.
If you’re still in the planning phases of building your website and haven’t launched yet, but still want to be ready to pull the trigger, then consider shared hosting. This style of hosting is not only easy to setup, but you can go through the process of purchasing hosting, configuring your web server, and start building your website in a few hours tops.
Shared hosting works great for relatively small websites. If you only have a few pages of content and don’t get a lot of traffic, then you can use shared hosting until you notice performance start to decline.
Overall, almost every single website owner has probably used shared hosting at some point during the life of their website. When you’re first building out your site there’s really no point in paying for a more expensive package, until your website’s needs change.
However, there are some situations, such as if your website deals with very sensitive information or data, or you’re expecting a large surge of traffic as soon as you launch, that will warrant a different style of web hosting services from the start.
But, if you’re starting from scratch, and growing your website the old-fashioned way (i.e. you don’t have an existing audience to tap into right away), then shared hosting is probably a great fit.
How Do VPS Hosting and Shared Hosting Stack Up?
When choosing between VPS web hosting and shared hosting there is no best choice. Instead, it’s whichever is the best hosting for your needs. Every website has different hosting requirements, and your decision will come down to what hosting features you require and your overall budget.
If you’re just getting started online and building your first website from scratch, then shared hosting is the way to go. Shared hosting is easy to setup and makes managing and growing your site dead simple.
However, if you see your site growing fast, or your traffic needs continue to increase, then VPS could be a solid choice. With VPS hosting you can address your most pressing needs of support for greater bandwidth and storage, while still having room to scale up in the future.
VPS and shared hosting both addresses separate needs of the hosting market. Instead of being seen as competing forms of hosting, they can be seen as being linked together. A user starts on a basic shared hosting plan, but as their site grows they run into the limits of shared hosting. In that case, they upgrade to a VPS hosting solution and continue to scale.
Is VPS vs. Shared Hosting Best for You?
Hopefully, you have a better understanding of how VPS and shared hosting stack up against each other, and why web hosting is important for your site.
Both offer their own unique advantages and disadvantages. Shared hosting is the most beginner-friendly option, while VPS hosting offering a flexible and scalable solution to large and mid-sized website owners.
Regardless of which type of web hosting services you choose, make sure that you spend time taking stock of your needs as a website owner, along with the respective features that different hosting packages can offer you.