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Shared Hosting vs VPS: What’s The Difference?

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WRITTEN BY
Timothy Shim
UPDATED
January 27, 2023

Shared Hosting plans combine the resources of a single physical server and allow multiple accounts to use them in turn. Virtual Private Server (VPS) accounts also populate a single server, but each account gets an isolated environment that mimics a dedicated server.

 

If you’re looking to get your website or blog up and running, sorting out your web host is one of the most critical steps. There are multiple types of hosting available, so it can be confusing for beginners to know which option is best for them.

 

Today – we compare the two most popular hosting types.

 

 

First – What is Shared Hosting?

 

Shared Hosting is the most basic of all web hosting plans. These plans pool server resources among many users, rotating them between websites as necessary. Because of this “round-robin” resource allocation, shared hosting is often the cheapest and most popular type of plan.

 

It is common practice for web hosts to “oversell” shared hosting plans. Overselling means selling more hosting plans than the server resources can support. Because of this, shared hosting plans can cause erratic website performance.

 

Think of shared hosting as many people living in a communal home. Essential home resources like the bathroom and kitchen are shared. You’ll need to wait your turn if someone else uses the kitchen or bathroom.

 

roommates sharing a bunk bed

 

For a more detailed breakdown of shared hosting plans, head to our guide on “what is shared hosting?

 

Pros and cons of Shared Hosting

 

Pros

  • ✓ Least expensive
  • ✓ Easy to manage
  • ✓ A good starting point for new users
  • ✓ Little technical knowledge required

Cons

  • • Little control over the server
  • • Performance inconsistencies
  • • Poor security

 

 

So, What is VPS Hosting?

 

VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. These hosting plans divide servers into multiple partitions. Each VPS account gets dedicated resources, including Operating System (OS) type, memory, storage, and CPU power.

 

The main benefit of VPS over shared hosting is performance consistency. With VPS, you know precisely how many resources are available for your website at any time. There’s no need to worry about slow performance due to resource usage by other web hosting accounts on your server.

 

Think of VPS Hosting as living in a condo. Each resident gets one unit with its bathroom, kitchen, and other resources. However, they all still reside in the same building.

 

building art

 

Pros and cons of VPS Hosting

 

Pros

  • ✓ Dedicated resources
  • ✓ More server control
  • ✓ Flexibility in configuration
  • ✓ Excellent scalability
  • ✓ Good security

Cons

  • • More expensive than shared hosting
  • • Managed services can be expensive
  • • More challenging to self-manage

 

 

A Detailed Comparison Of Shared Hosting vs VPS Features

 

If you’re having trouble choosing between VPS and Shared Hosting, a detailed breakdown of their main characteristics can sometimes be helpful.

 

1. Performance and reliability

 

Website performance relies on many factors. However, the resource allocation and handling difference between VPS and Shared Hosting mean that VPS will almost always perform better than Shared Hosting.

 

The isolated environment in VPS also means higher levels of system integrity. That leads to a somewhat better reliability profile. However, there should be no noticeable difference in the hosting uptime and overall service reliability.

 

2. Security

 

Those searching for a secure web host should always choose VPS over Shared Hosting. The lack of borders between accounts in Shared Hosting servers raises security risks significantly compared to VPS.

 

Any security breach in a Shared Hosting plan can result in severe consequences for everyone on the same server. VPS plans can mitigate this thanks to the isolated environment in which each plan resides.

 

3. Plan management and control

 

Shared Hosting plans are the easiest to set up and manage, even for novice users. Expert technicians at the web host will handle most administrative and technical functions. However, this simplicity means much less control over server configuration.

 

VPS Hosting plans come either Managed or Unmanaged. Technical teams will assist Managed VPS users in handling server maintenance and configurations at premium prices. Overseeing Unmanaged VPS plans can be challenging without adequate server and network administration skills.

 

4. Scalability

 

Although you can upgrade Shared Hosting plans, resources generally have a low upper limit. This limitation makes scalability less apparent in Shared Hosting. VPS plans are typically more scalable. Depending on the service provider, you can sometimes even choose the precise resource to scale up.

 

5. Pricing

 

Shared Hosting is usually the cheapest form of hosting available. However, that is mainly a view of entry-level Shared Hosting plans. Some mid to high-level Shared Hosting plans can cost more than entry-level Unmanaged VPS plans!

 

Remember that prices are not always all-inclusive, regardless of the type of web hosting you choose. For example, while most web hosts offer free SSL, those running commercial websites often need to consider SSL certificate prices for better options.

 

 

Choosing Between Shared Hosting and VPS

 

vps vs shared hosting featured image

 

Shared Hosting and VPS Hosting are two commonly used hosting options. While both have advantages and disadvantages, the choice to use one or the other depends on your specific needs.

 

When to use Shared Hosting

 

There are two main situations where you should opt for Shared Hosting. If you’re just starting a website and don’t know how many visitors your site will receive, shared hosting is probably the best option because it’s affordable and easy to set up.

 

Shared Hosting is also suitable for those who need a simple web presence. These often run basic websites that don’t see large volumes of visitor traffic. The easy management and low cost of Shared Hosting are ideal.

 

Examples of good Shared Hosting use cases include;

 

  • Personal blogs
  • Portfolio websites
  • New websites
  • Basic hobby websites

 

When to Use VPS Hosting

 

The affordable cost of VPS and its reliable performance makes it suitable for a broad range of applications. Remember, you don’t need to be a business to use VPS for your website. Individuals who run medium to high-volume traffic websites can also benefit from VPS Hosting plans.

 

VPS Hosting is an excellent option for businesses that need more control over their website’s infrastructure. It’s also ideal for sites experiencing growing pains, such as traffic spikes, or for sites with large databases requiring more significant resources.

 

Examples of good VPS Hosting use cases include;

 

  • Business websites
  • Online stores
  • Affiliate marketing websites
  • News websites

 

 

Wrap Up : Picking The Right Option For You

 

Unless you’re a website veteran, it’s almost always the case that you will start with Shared Hosting. These simple plans are generally the gateway into website ownership, thanks to low prices and widespread availability.

 

Remember that even if you’re unhappy with the performance of Shared Hosting, many web hosts offer free hosting migration from Shared to VPS Hosting plans. However, the same may not be true of the inverse – downgrading from VPS to Shared Hosting.

 

 

 

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About The Author

Timothy Shim is a former tech journalist who has turned his experience towards his business as a writer, editor and content strategist. Today, he helps businesses craft compelling messages and advises on SEO, content marketing, and social media strategy.