VPS vs Shared Hosting

Many people reach a point in their Web development where they would like to get a Website running or are considering upgrading from a shared Web hosting account to VPS hosting. There are several factors that need to be considered, what are the advantages and disadvantages? Do you have experience with Linux? Server management?

Let’s take a look at the options;

  • Shared Server (Web Hosting) — A Web server that is shared with multiple users. This type of Web hosting is low cost and intended for Websites that are small and relatively low on resource usage. Shared hosting providers include a control panel used for managing your account and is packed with features, making site management very easy;
  • VPS Server (Virtual Private Server) — A VPS is a lot like having your own server. With VPS hosting you choose an operating system, install the software and configure the system as you want. Think of Virtual servers like apartment buildings, where each VPS server is isolated from one another and setup how the owner chooses;
  • Dedicated Server — A physical server that is all yours, use it as you want! You can install any operating system, any software and you can use up all the resources. It’s like having your own house instead of an apartment.

It’s best to start with a shared hosting account, you can always upgrade later. In the grand scheme of things shared hosting accounts are for small, low resource sites and are designed to be low cost and feature-rich. VPS servers are meant for small-medium sized sites where a specific, or a proprietary configuration may be required. Dedicated Servers are good for heavy resource requirements and large websites.

You’ll know when to upgrade as your Web host will send you warnings about resource usage. Most users upgrade to a VPS when they have an excessive amount of database queries, high page generation times — meaning the site is using excessive amounts of CPU from the shared server, high memory consuming scripts or large databases causing high I/O on the shared hosting server. In many cases optimizing scripts and database queries can elevate high resource usage.

In some cases, a Site owner may not have any experience with managing a VPS server, but they have outgrown shared server hosting. In cases like this a managed VPS hosting plan is a great solution. With a managed VPS server the provider will maintain and configure the server for you, while you run your site.