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Do I Need a VPS?


HostGator offers many options to cover your hosting needs, and at some point, you may wonder if you should upgrade to a Virtual Private Server (VPS). In this article, we'll consider what you get with a VPS and whether or not it's right for you.

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What's in the Box?
VPS vs. Shared Hosting

When you're on one of our Shared servers, your resources are shared. CPU, RAM, Storage, Bandwidth, etc... are all shared with dozens or hundreds of other websites. While our administrators work diligently to avoid it if any of those other sites start using more than their fair share, your site(s) could be impacted.

On the flip side, a VPS comes with dedicated resources, meaning you have full use of the CPU, RAM, and Storage you paid for, and it is easy to upgrade if you find you need more.

PlansSnappy 2000Snappy 4000Snappy 8000
vCPU2 Cores2 Cores4 Cores
Storage120 GB165 GB240 GB
Unmetered Bandwidth
Dedicated IP2 IPs2 IPs2 IPs
Root Access
Operating System
CentOS 7 & 8, 
Ubuntu 16.04,18.04 & 20.04
Debian 8, 9 &10
Free content transfers
Maximum outgoing emailsUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited

Our blog is also an excellent resource for more information about VPS Hosting and more! Throughout this guide, you'll find more blog articles and links to other resources outside of our Knowledgebase that can help you in your journey of exploring VPS Hosting as an option and delving deeper into the different aspects of managing your server.

Send All the Emails!
VPS Hosting to Send Unlimited Emails

The Shared environment also limits how many emails you can send in a single day. While our administrators work to ensure all resources are shared evenly, if any of your neighbors start sending out a bunch of spam, it could cause everyone on that server, including you, to be flagged as spam for a short period. However, if you have a VPS, you are far less likely to end up on a blacklist due to someone else's reprehensible conduct.

As for limits on how many emails you can send, there are none with a VPS! You have to follow some rules because laws are a thing, so we recommend that you familiarize yourself with the Dedicated Mail Policy, but outside of that, you're free to exchange as many emails as you need to. So start planning that Black Friday email campaign now!

Want to stay on a Shared server but get around email limits? Try utilizing one of the many addons we offer, like Constant ContactGoogle Workspace, or Microsoft 365.

Storage, CPU, and RAM, Oh My!
VPS Storage & Other Resources

You have unmetered resources in our Shared environment, meaning there isn't a set limit on RAM, Storage, Bandwidth, or CPU. This is an excellent setup because there are plenty of resources. You don't need to know how much you need before choosing a shared plan, and our administrators keep an eye on things to ensure everything is shared evenly. However, if anyone exceeds 25% of the server's resources for more than 90 seconds, they could be incurring a Terms of Service (TOS) violation.

With a VPS, you can choose the level of resources you need, and if you find you need more later, you can upgrade. In contrast, there are no Shared hosting packages that you can upgrade to provide more Storage, CPU, or RAM.

More Power
VPS Root Access

On Shared, you share almost everything, like living at home with your parents and siblings. You use all of your home's amenities but must share them. So if someone uses all the hot water, you get a cold shower to start the day! Also, you're not in charge, you're responsible for keeping your room clean, but someone else is responsible for all the significant maintenance and upkeep.

Moving to a VPS is like getting your apartment. It may be smaller than your shared house, but now you're in charge! So, while you may have access to more resources on Shared hosting, your resources are only being used by you on a VPS. No more cold showers!

When you move to a VPS, you get root access, which means you can manage everything for your server with root WHM (rWHM) and Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM), which is available to new customers starting April 13, 2021, or Virtuozzo on legacy VPS accounts.

With root access, you can create multiple cPanel accounts, restart services, access all of the DNS zones, keep an eye on your server status, and install (or request that we install) many programs.

For those on a legacy VPS with Virtuozzo, you will need to contact support to set up Softaculous; after the April 2021 upgrade to KVM, Softaculous will automatically be available.

As Uncle Ben said, you have all this new power, but that comes with more responsibility. These articles explain more about managing your customers in WHM, tips & tricks for properly managing cPanels, and other best practices.

Means More Responsibility
VPS Backups, Restores, and Maintenance

However, with all of this freedom comes more responsibility.

Backups & Restores

In our Shared environment, we maintain backups of your cPanel daily/weekly/monthly to make it easy to roll back when needed. 

When you're on a Legacy VPS, though, we only maintain weekly backups of the entire container, meaning everything on your VPS would be restored to the way it was at the time of that backup, not just one site/cPanel. And our backups are provided as a courtesy and are not always guaranteed, so no matter what type of hosting you have, we strongly encourage you to keep regular backups.

On your KVM  VPS, maintaining regular backups is something you will be able to manage in rWHM with daily, weekly, and monthly options, or you can utilize a third-party backup service like CodeGuard. 

Important Note:
Since we've recently updated to KVM, HostGator no longer keeps courtesy backups. Customers on the new KVM VPS platform must manage and maintain their backups.
While we offer CodeGuard as an addon for our Shared hosting customers, it is not available through us for VPS and Dedicated servers. To obtain their services, you must visit their site, CodeGuard, for VPS and Dedicated Servers.

And managing your backups means you have the power to perform restores when you need any files or a cPanel restored instead of having to wait on a support ticket because you can do it yourself in WHM.

Software Updates

In addition to running backups, you're also responsible for updating most of your software, PHP versions, modules, etc. You can install third-party software; for instance, if you don't opt-in for a cPanel, you can install and use a different control panel. But then you would need to keep track of when that software has updates or patches rolled out because updates become available if any vulnerabilities or issues are identified in addition to new features.

Suppose you decide to use CentOS and WHM/cPanel. In that case, our administrators will handle scheduling the routine updates to install them automatically and push out patches if any significant vulnerabilities are identified. Sometimes, they may notify you that the updated version of something like PHP is available on your server. Still, they won't automatically switch any of your sites to use it because you may need to make changes or perform some testing before implementing it.

If you're ready to proceed with a VPS, you'll want to add these articles to your reading list. In addition to our Knowledgebase, cPanel's documentation will be an invaluable resource for more information on managing your server in WHM.

Helpful Blog Articles

cPanel Documentation

You Are the Manager!

Another option on a VPS is adding a Web Host Manager Complete Solution (WHMCS). A WHMCS license is not included with any VPS plans because a VPS is not ideal if you're hosting multiple resource-heavy sites. However, it can be a great way to try it out if you're considering moving to a Dedicated server and want to try out the features before making that commitment. It will allow you to set up a billing portal, create hosting packages, and purchase more addons from WHMCS to add additional functionality like managing your business from your iPhone or Android device.

So, What's It Gonna Be?

Is VPS the solution for you? Should you make that move? Well, let's break it down.


  • Root Access
  • Ability to install custom, third-party programs
  • Dedicated Resources
  • Ability to create a sandbox environment
  • Cheaper than a Dedicated Server
  • No email limits
  • Scalable Resources
  • Ability to reboot the server and restart services
  • Ability to perform your restores
  • Ability to access and manage your server with industry-standard tools


  • Requires more advanced knowledge, such as Linux management
  • You're responsible for backups
  • Set limit of resources, so upgrading is necessary if more are needed
  • Costs more than Shared
  • Not a solution for TOS violation by utilizing too many resources on Shared

If you have the technical skills or the patience to acquire it, want more control of your hosting environment, or want to try out what it would be like to have a Dedicated server without the more significant price tag, then moving to a VPS could work for you.

If you don't want to be responsible for all of the maintenance, are intimidated by Linux or computers, or need much more resources, VPS may not be your option. HostGator offers many hosting plan options, so you can choose what works best for you and upgrade if/when you need to. And with any hosting plan, you qualify for free site migrations within 30 days of purchasing the plan, so moving from your Shared plan to a higher-level VPS or a Dedicated server can be done quickly!

Hopefully, this guide was helpful and answered all of your questions. If you need additional assistance, HostGator's Support is here to help. Please contact us via phone or Live Chat so we can assist!