Hosting, VPS

Shared Hosting or Virtual Private Server (VPS)? Which is right for you?

It may be a daunting task to figure out which type of hosting would be right for you. Should you go with Shared hosting or would VPS be a better choice? In this article we’re going to take a closer look at the differences between the two so you can choose your hosting solution wisely.

Why Choose Shared Hosting?

Shared hosting is the most popular solution for individuals and small businesses. If you’re a blogger, a photographer or a web designer looking to set up an online portfolio to showcase your work or if you own a small business, then shared hosting might be exactly what you need.

The reason why it’s so popular is down to cost and ease of use. As you share space with other websites, costs are reduced for each individual site. So, a single web server hosts several sites and the server’s resources, like CPU and RAM, are also shared with your server neighbours. Unlike a VPS, which places a lot of responsibility on the owner to manage it, your web host deals with all software updates and actively manages your web server’s security, speeds and software for you. However, this does result in a slight reduction in flexibility and what you can install.

In other words, while a dedicated server is like having your own private car (sometimes with a chauffeur), shared servers are like having access to the subway: fast, cheap and effective. When is shared hosting the right choice? When you’re just starting out with a blog or a simple, low-traffic website and need an affordable hosting solution to get you started; when you don’t need to run custom processes and are ok with the standard features includes in the available plans.

Why VPS Hosting?

With VPS you get the space and performance you need to run a busy site with full control and customisation. VPS is a great solution for individuals or businesses who are rapidly growing, are running complex applications on their site or receive lots of visitors.

To get a better understanding, while with shared hosting the server resources are shared among all accounts on that server, with VPS you get your own private and secure virtual environment where you get to use the available resources as you see fit. You can install custom software and applications and also customise multiple aspects of the server thus giving you more control over your virtual private server.

VPS are also highly scalable which means you can upgrade your VPS resources to match the growing needs of your site.

VPS are often sold as unmanaged, which means you have responsibility for your server’s software and security. This requires a certain level of server administrations skills, although graphical control panels such as cPanel and Plesk make this a lot easier.

When is VPS the right choice? When you have a fast-growing site that needs more resources than shared hosting can provide; when you want more control and need to run custom processes.

When it’s time to Upgrade from Shared Hosting to VPS

While shared hosting is perfect for most users, if your site grows and needs more space than a shared account can handle, then it may be time to move up to a VPS. Think of it like having a growing family. When it’s just you and your partner, a one flat might be enough but when your family grows, you’ll need more space which means you’ll need to move to a bigger place. When choosing a hosting provider, it’s important to find one that allows you to easily move from a shared hosting package to a VPS.

Article written by Alex Gavril copywriter and content curator for VPS providers

1 Response

  1. Porter
    May 22, 2013

    The reason I featured this guest post is due to its relevancy to my personal situation a month or 2 ago. Basically I had a shared hosting solution with Host Gator in the US. This solution was always sufficient for my personal site’s, until the server started encountering performance issues, constantly falling over due to other users on the server.

    After 3 weeks of constant issues and receiving multiple 404 alerts in my Google Web Master Tools account I knew it was time to look for a more robust solution. I also knew that for performance I should have a UK based host and not a US based one to.

    The idea of a shared server was now out of the window as the potential for other users on it causing me issues was a problem, so the next level, without paying for a dedicated server (not necessary for my current needs) was to look at VPS solutions.

    VPS servers are ideal as they have the performance that I need at an affordable price and can be scaled quickly if ever required,allocating more storage space, ram or processing power to name but a few features.

    My initial scope for a VPS was to find the most powerful solution for my budget that had all of the resources and features such as cPanel that I would need. After researching the VPS solution from 123 Reg was top of my list, despite me having issues with their systems and support in the past (long story). I decided to give them a try despite my better judgement and encountered issue after issue with configuring my domains on the server, with no resolution and long response times from their support that never fixed the issue.

    A week of trying to resolve the issues with my site down, I decided to give them 3 more days to help me resolve things and get everything going whilst I look around at other hosts. In the end the only choice that I had was to cancel the service and go with Heart Internet’s VPS which was my second choice, only based on price alone.

    The difference in pricing was not that massive and a positive experience with them in the past should have made them my first choice anyway. With Heart Internet ticking all of the boxes in terms of them being a UK based host (also like my self based in Nottingham) with a good reputation and a VPS that was scalable, affordable, had cPanel etc. I signed up and got my VPS configured.

    Initially there were a few minor issues and questions that I had to raise, but the support staff were almost instant in their response, professional and helpful, ironing out any issues straight away and answering all of the configuration questions that I had.

    As for the VPS itself, it is ideal, giving me great performance exceeding that from my old shared hosting solution, improving page load speed (also due to it being UK based) and giving me instant scalability, allowing me to add an extra IP, RAM and CPU core almost instantly.

    This is not me being paid to write a feature, but me giving my personal experience on the article which was so relevant to my situation a month or 2 ago and hope it helps others in making the decision, knowing that a slight cost implication initially may save of time and expense at a later stage.


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