Shared Hosting vs VPS Hosting

James Kramer

With plenty of different hosting options, without any technical knowledge, you may be stuck in a daunting task with plenty of options, let alone finding the best web hosting provider for each hosting type. It’ll this articles job to help you find which hosting type is best for you, we’ve collected plenty of data to help you choose.

Two of the most popular are shared hosting and VPS hosting which are both moderately cheap. And we’ll be focussing on those two today.

Shared Hosting Vs VPS Hosting

While there are four main types of hosting services provided by various web hosts, the two most popular ones are shared hosting and VPS hosting. Whenever a business owner wants to create a website, they are suggested to choose from these two primary options.

So, what is it that sets them apart, and what are the main differences between these two? Which one will work best for you? Let’s find out by going through some of the key differences.

The main differences between shared and VPS hosting are it’s performance and security. Shared hosting is where you’re sharing a server rack with a selection of different websites whereas VPS hosting replicates a dedicated server hosting setup ensuring better security and performance.

1. Server Resources

We will start with the basic difference, which is the server resources.

As the name implies, in shared hosting you have to share the server as well as various resources with all the other websites on that server. Although it does help you a lot if you’re on a budget, there are certain things that can be problematic. For example, the CPUs, memory, and disk space will be limited. So, if one website takes up too much bandwidth, it will have a direct effect on the other websites and they will suffer from slow speed and other issues. However, this won’t be much of an issue if your business is small-scale and doesn’t generate high traffic or require a ton of space or processing power.

When we talk about server resources on VPS hosting, although the server will be shared with other websites, the disk space will be greater and so will be the memory and CPU. Furthermore, in this type of hosting, you get root access which enables you to install additional software and edit server files. In short, your website’s performance doesn’t depend on other websites. Therefore, if you want to expand your business and move on to something that goes beyond the basic shared hosting level, VPS hosting is what you need.

2. Security

Creating and running a website may seem like a very easy task, but there are some factors that need to be closely considered, security being one of them. When you select a web hosting service, you do it after proper research and much contemplation. So what is security like with shared hosting and VPS?

Although shared hosting is considered to be safe, you should keep in mind that a single server cannot guarantee 100% security. The reason being the many other websites sharing a single server. If any one of these websites faces an error, it will likely affect your website as well. However, if your website doesn’t require the personal information of the users, you are good to go with shared hosting.

On the other hand, if you’re using VPS hosting, it offers more robust security features. You can even implement a better customer support service by paying a bit more.

Now, that you’re well aware of the security features of both hosting plans, you should know that if your website processes the personal and classified data of the users, you should definitely choose VPS over shared hosting.

3. Speed and Uptime

When we refer to the performance of a website, we mean the bandwidth, uptime, load time, and how smoothly it runs. Research shows that users usually leave a website if it takes more than 3 to 5 seconds to load. Similarly, if your website crashes due to a spike in traffic, it won’t really help if you want to attract customers.

If you have shared hosting, you should keep in mind that the bandwidth usage by others will affect your website too. This is something you will have to compromise on if you’re on a budget. However, this won’t be an issue if your website has limited performance demands, and ease of maintenance is your first priority.

Coming to VPS hosting, you get your own allocation of bandwidth, which can easily handle a traffic surge without a website outage. Therefore, higher bandwidth means a smooth running website. But don’t forget to have a dedicated system administrator to keep the server running smoothly.

So, if you have high traffic and multiple websites, VPS hosting would be the recommended option to avoid crashes and other issues.

4. Server Administration

If you’re not very tech-savvy and would like the web host to take care of everything, you should choose shared hosting. In this type of hosting you don’t get to maintain the server as the host handles all the hardware and server settings.

This means that there’s almost no technicality involved from your end and you can enjoy the basic server administration. This also means that you don’t have to pay any additional costs or spare your time. So, if you don’t need the extra burden on yourself due to dedicated system administration, shared hosting is the ideal choice.

On the contrary, if you want to tweak a few server settings here and there, you need a hosting service that grants you root access, and that’s where VPS hosting comes in. With this feature, you can install your own operating system and software to increase the security and performance of the website. This feature is especially for developers who like to customize their website by configuring their choice of applications.

5. Scalability

If you own a personal website or a blog that generates a limited amount of traffic and doesn’t require much scaling up, then shared hosting is perfect for you. But when you realize that you are running out of storage and the increasing traffic is exceeding server space, then it’s time you switched from shared hosting to some other hosting, perhaps VPS.

As mentioned earlier, VPS hosting is the best option for a growing website. When a small-scale business goes medium or large-scale, its requirements also increase and shared hosting doesn’t seem enough. This is when we advise the users to opt for VPS, which is one level higher than shared hosting. The catch is that you have to pay extra money to increase bandwidth and other features so that your website’s increasing demands can be met.

6. Price

The price you have to pay for your web hosting service is also one of the most important factors to look for before the selection process. While deciding on the type of hosting very much depends upon the nature of your business and how much traffic it generates, everyone wants to pay less for more.

Having said that, there is a major difference in the pricing of shared hosting and VPS. Also, the more features you need for your website, the more you have to pay.

If we look at the pricing of some of the most popular web hosting services, we can easily see the difference in price for both shared and VPS hosting.

Web Hosting Service

Shared Hosting

VPS Hosting

Hostinger

Starting at $0.99 – $3.99 per month

Starting at $3.95 – $38.99 per month

Bluehost

Starting at $5.95 – $18.95 per month

Starting at $18.99 – $59.99 per month

Dreamhost

Starting at $3.95 – $4.95 per month

Starting at $13.75 – $110 per month

HostGator

Starting at $3.95 – $4.95 per month

Starting at $19.95 – $39.95 per month

A2 Hosting

Starting at $2.99 – $14.99 per month

Starting at $34.99 – $69.99 per month

This table shows the monthly pricing of shared hosting and VPS hosting, starting from the basic plans to the professional plans. Here, we would like to mention that shared hosting mostly provides the basic things required to create a website, therefore its prices are relatively low.

Meanwhile, in VPS hosting, you get higher bandwidth, storage, and memory, which can be increased by paying additional charges. Also, you have control over the server settings and can customize them according to your requirement. Hence, its pricing is a bit towards the higher side as compared to shared hosting.

Pros and Cons of Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is the best option for small-scale and startup businesses, with its basic features and low costs. Let’s have a look at some of the plus points that give it an edge over other types of hosting services, after which we will go over the points that can be improved for a better user experience.

Pros

✅  It is comparably more affordable than other hosting plans because the server and resources are shared among the users.

✅  It is the perfect pick if you run a personal website, blog, or a small business.

✅  You don’t have to get into any sort of technicalities, as the web hosting company takes care of it all. This way you can focus on running and optimizing your website only.

✅ It uses cPanel which makes it quite simple to manage your own website, without the need of a server administrator.

✅ You get a domain name for your emails.

✅ You don’t require any previous knowledge about Windows, Linux, or any other technical details. This is especially in favor of people who aren’t very tech-savvy.

✅ Most web hosting companies offering shared hosting plans also provide MySQL and PHP support.

Cons

❌  You cannot run or install additional software other than the ones provided by the web hosting company.

❌   Due to the server being shared, it has limited security features.

❌   The bandwidth usage by other websites can slow down your website.

❌    It is more prone to getting hacked, but if you choose a good web hosting service, it will be able to take care of this issue and take preventive measures.

❌   If the server gets overloaded, your website can freeze or even worse, crash.

❌  Customer service is not much helpful in shared hosting and you will end up troubleshooting most of the issues yourself.

❌   You don’t have root access, therefore there’s limited backend access.

Pros and Cons of VPS Hosting

Following are some of the advantages and disadvantages of choosing VPS hosting for your website:

Pros

✅   A VPS hosting plan is customizable, as you can pay for any additional features you might need. This also means that you only pay for what you need; nothing more and nothing less.

✅   VPS hosting plans can be conveniently scaled. You can start with a basic plan with minimum resources, and then increase your resources as you grow, to accommodate your needs.

✅    You have root access which enables you to have more control over your server. You can install additional software and other utilities according to your needs, which is not possible in shared hosting.

✅   When you’re signing up for a VPS hosting plan, you have the option of choosing between semi-managed or fully managed services. This means you can decide whether you want the web host to handle the technicalities or you want some control over it.

✅    VPS hosting offers more memory and bandwidth as compared to shared hosting.

✅   VPS has a shared server but the resources are split individually. This means that traffic spikes on other websites won’t affect the performance of your website.

✅   Due to separate resources, VPS hosting is much more stable, faster, and secure as compared to shared hosting.

Cons

❌   The first and foremost issue regarding VPS hosting is the high cost. Although, it does offer greater resources, but that results in an increased price as well. So, as compared to shared hosting, VPS hosting is more expensive.

❌   Another issue that users face while using VPS hosting is the improper distribution of resources by the web hosting company. It sometimes oversells the space, which results in some websites using more resources than allocated. This can cause issues that will have an effect on the other websites also. So, web hosts should be aware of how many accounts are sharing a server.

❌   As VPS hosting gives you root access, you need to have some technical knowledge in order to manage your website effectively. So, if you’re a newbie with no prior experience with computing methodologies, you should think before opting for this type of hosting.

Types of Web Hosting Services

Although our topic of concern in this article is the difference between shared hosting and VPS hosting, we will first give you a brief overview of the types of hosting that are available.

There are four main types of web hosting services that are provided by almost all web hosts: shared, dedicated, VPS, and cloud hosting. Let’s introduce each service individually, so you can better understand the difference between them.

1. Shared Hosting

Whenever a person decides upon setting up a website for their business, the first and most popular option is to go for shared hosting. In this type of hosting, you get to share a single server with many other websites. To put it simply, this means that you have to share space and resources with others. These resources include CPU time, memory, and storage space.

Why do new website owners go for this plan? The answer is simple; shared hosting is the most cheapest and economical option available. So, if you own a small website with minimal traffic such as blogs and personal sites, it is best to go for this plan, because you have a limited budget and sharing costs with others, makes it affordable and convenient for you. As your website grows, you can switch to a virtual private server or VPS hosting.

2. Virtual Private Server (VPS)

A virtual private server (VPS) is recommended when your website grows and the traffic level increases. In this type of hosting, you still share a server with other websites, but you get your own set of resources that won’t be affected by the other users.

So, even if your website traffic spikes, you won’t have to worry about it, as you will have the basic resources like bandwidth at your hands, to handle all the customers.

3. Dedicated Hosting

As it is apparent from the name, dedicated server hosting is a server especially for you. It belongs to you for your personal use, and you don’t have to share the server or the resources with anyone else. To top it off, you can configure the settings according to your specifications.

Dedicated hosting is a bit expensive than the others, but as you get high performance and security, it equals out the high cost.

4. Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting is relatively recent as compared to the other types of hosting. It is similar to shared hosting in a way, but it involves getting resources from a network of other existing servers. To be precise, you have to share a server and resources with other users, but as there are multiple servers involved, each user gets more resources, and high website traffic is handled without the site crashing.

Also, it is known to be more reliable than other hosting plans because if one server goes down, it is instantly replaced by another. So, if keeping your website online at all times is what you’re looking for, with close to none downtime, cloud hosting is what you need.

Why Choose Shared Hosting?

Now that we have gone over the main differences between shared hosting and VPS hosting, and the various positive and negative aspects of both types of hosting, it is time to talk about the reasons for choosing each hosting type.

Starting with shared hosting, it is usually recommended for people who are building a blog or a personal website or who own a small business or startup. If your website is expected to generate a small amount of traffic and your budget is also not very elaborate, then you should start with a shared hosting plan.

Another factor to keep in mind is web development. If you’re not up to date with web developing skills, then shared hosting is the best choice, as the web host handles all the technical and backend issues. So, all you need is to churn your brain to get new ideas to kick off your website, instead of worrying about administrative issues.

Why Choose VPS Hosting?

If you own a business that is doing well, and is expected to grow substantially in the future, then you should switch to VPS hosting. It is an ideal choice if you can afford to invest in your website and pay additionally for increased resources such as bandwidth, storage, and memory.

Also, if you have a knack for system administration and development, then it’s even better, as you get root access with VPS hosting. This way you can make changes to the server according to your liking, by making use of your expertise. Therefore, being a technoid, who wants to revamp the default server settings for their website, VPS hosting is the recommended option.

Top 3 Web Hosting Companies for Shared Hosting

After reading all about shared hosting, its features, and pricing, I’m sure you are curious to find out about the web hosting companies with the best shared hosting plans. Therefore, we have listed our top picks for 3 of the best shared hosting web hosts out there.

1. HostGator

When it comes to shared hosting, our very first recommendation is HostGator. With an unbeatable uptime of 99.99%, you may only experience a downtime of hardly an hour per year, which is what ranks it among the top web hosting companies. Its shared hosting plans start at $2.75 per month, which is well within an affordable range for small-scale businesses.

Other features offered by HostGator include unmetered transfers and disk space, unlimited email accounts, an SSL certificate, and of course a cPanel. Although it doesn’t have a free backup or domain, I think the provided features are good to go for a website with basic requirements.

2. InMotion

If you’re looking for a web host with unlimited features and fantastic customer support, InMotion is the best choice. Before getting to everything it has to offer, we would like to bring your attention to its customer support staff, who are given specialist training and can provide you unparalleled expert advice. Many web hosts lack expert customer support, which leaves InMotion unrivaled in this area.

Also, InMotion offers unlimited disk space and an SSL certificate in its basic plan, which also gives it an edge over the competitors, because usually users are required to upgrade to avail unlimited features.

Other features include unmetered transfer, free backups, a free domain, and unlimited email accounts.

3. A2 Hosting

If security and responsive customer care is what you’re looking for, then look no further as A2 Hosting provides that and much more. It has a 30-day full refund policy, and a split refund policy after 30 days, which is a very rare offer. Also, its customer support is quite responsive with 24/7 online, chat, and phone support, which shows that customers are their top priority.

Then they have cPanel, unlimited disk space and transfers in their basic plan, and also backups for an additional price. Therefore, if you’re looking for a web host with amazing shared hosting features, A2 Hosting it is!

Top 3 Web Hosting Companies for VPS Hosting

After trying out and reviewing several web hosting services, we shortlisted the following 3 web hosts for providing amazing VPS hosting plans:

1. Bluehost

A web hosting service with super responsive customer service, great uptime, and reasonably priced packages, Bluehost is an excellent choice when it comes to VPS hosting. It powers more than 2 million websites worldwide and is known to be one of the most reliable and dependable web hosting companies in 2020.

It has an uptime of 99.98%, which is one of the highest in the industry. When it comes to pricing, we can proudly say that unlike most web hosting companies, Bluehost has relatively lower renewal charges. Its VPS hosting plans start at a monthly price of $18.99, with renewal at $29.99 per month, which makes it stand out from the crowd.

So, if you are running a business website that needs to go beyond the basics while staying well within an affordable range, Bluehost is the web hosting service for you.

2. Hostinger

The web hosting service that ranks second in our list of the top 3 VPS hosting companies, is Hostinger. It is known for providing more for less. This means that it offers a variety of features at competitive prices, which is what most of us look for when choosing a web host.

Hostinger’s VPS hosting plans start at just $3.95 per month and can go up to $45.95 depending on the features you want to add to your plan. Also, its renewal prices start from $9.05 to $72.75 per month, with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Furthermore, its multilingual customer support, Windows hosting, email hosting, and Minecraft hosting, all give it an edge over its competitors and make it one of the most popular and widely used web hosting services.

Therefore, for a wide array of features and great value for money, Hostinger should be your choice for amazing VPS hosting.

3. DreamHost

Not a technophile? No problem, as our third pick for the best VPS hosting company, DreamHost doesn’t require you to have the extensive technical knowledge to set up your website, we found this in our DreamHost review. It is a very easy-to-setup and convenient web host with the best rates in the industry.

With an uptime of 99.94% and a load time of a whopping 648 ms, it is ranked amongst the most reliable web hosting companies around. The various plans offered by DreamHost include WordPress, website builders like Wix and Weebly, and its own builder called Remixer, with unlimited bandwidth and storage, combined with a 97-day money-back guarantee.

So, if you want a web hosting service that has fully-featured basic plans, reliable uptime, and above-average load time, Dreamhost should definitely be included in your list of options.

Summing It Up: Shared Hosting vs VPS Hosting

The process of choosing a web hosting company for your website can be quite exhausting if you are not aware of the types of hosting and how they differ from each other.

Therefore, to sum it up:

Differences

Shared Hosting

VPS Hosting

Server Resources

Shared server and resources.

Shared server but individually allocated resources.

Security

If any website faces a security breach, all other websites on the server are at risk.

You can install security software to protect your website and the customer’s confidential information.

Performance

The resources are shared, so if one website has a traffic hike, the performance of the others can be slowed down.

You can increase bandwidth, memory, and disk space according to your requirement, without affecting others.

Server Administration

No root access or backend control means no customization.

It gives you root access, so you can install additional software to customize your website according to your liking.

Scalability

Not many options for scalability, except what the web host provides.

You can scale your resources as your website grows.

Price

Low prices affordable by businesses of all levels.

More expensive than shared hosting.

Shared hosting and VPS hosting are the most common hosting services used by website owners. Hence, we hope that this extensive guide about the main differences between them, and their various advantages and disadvantages will help you in choosing the one that suits the needs of your website better.