Important differences between cost, features and scalability(SHARED OR VPS HOSTING)
If you are looking to put an internet site online, you have probably found two alternative ways to do it: shared hosting and VPS hosting.
Some companies offer one, others the opposite, others both. So what is the difference between shared hosting vs VPS hosting?
Simply put, shared hosting is renting a bit of file storage in the cloud and therefore the hosting company takes care of making sure those files are on the web. VPS hosting is about renting a full computer of your own within the cloud, and it’s your job to line up that computer and get it to display your website.
It’s like the difference between renting a bedroom and renting an apartment. During a bedroom, you cannot move things, but the cleaning finished with you. In an apartment, you have to wash, but you will have the furniture you want. And both are useful; there is no one that is better than the opposite, but they adapt to several things.
Your job, when deciding between them, is to choose what is important to you and what is not, whether you prefer simplicity or flexibility.
Here we will take a look at the pros and cons of each to help you create that call.
When you buy a VPS what you are doing is renting a machine; all software that runs on the machine is your choice. This gives you a lot of freedom to hack and modify that software and to make a decision on what you would like to run and how, but it also places the burden on you of keeping up with security patches.
Running your own VPS requires you to take a lot more responsibility for the software and you would like to mitigate the risks yourself. All software has bugs and security issues, then new versions of server software are released all the time.
If you are a WordPress user, you will be familiar with this. WordPress notifies you when an update is available and asks you to put it in. In most shared hosting, this is often still your responsibility – keeping WordPress up until now is up to you. But in VPS hosting, whole machine security there are a few things you would like to keep track of, not just WordPress, but also:
- Web server software (Apache or Nginx)
- MySQL database server
- Underlying OS
All of these things need to be kept up to now, and you would like to give it a try because your VPS hosting provider won’t roll for you.
Configuration and Software
Your VPS device setup is up to you. This will be quite honest if you are tech-savvy, as it gives you the power to fine-tune your website performance and tailor your website performance to the number of tourists you expect.
But you have to understand what to do and you have to understand how to roll in the hay.
With shared hosting, your hosting provider does all of that for you, but you don’t have the option to create changes to it, you get what they give you. Again, this is often an option for you to train yourself between flexibility and ease. If you recognize what you’re doing, then the fixed nature of shared hosting may want a straitjacket. But if you’re not looking to be tech-savvy, VPS hosting is often baffling, especially if problems occur.
The number of a VPS hosting providers that will help you with this will also differ greatly between providers. From their point of view, they are responsible for providing you with a machine for you to use. Any problems that arise with the machine or its supply are things that they are definitely going to fix.
However, problems with the software that you simply installed on the machine are a special story. They have no obligation to help you at that time. Some VPS providers will continue to offer assistance or guidance on what software to install and how to configure it. This is something that often needs to be seen when reviewing different providers if you think you will need it. You will want to look at managed VPS hosting for real support during this, which we will cover later.
If you’re not a technical professional, shared hosting may sound like a much safer choice for you, but it has both pros and cons that need to be taken into account.
Setup and Limitations
As mentioned, the hosting provider takes care of a lot of configuration for you, but this has the limitation that you are cursed with the configuration they plan to provide, and you almost always don’t have the option to vary this in the least. This is hardly a technical aptitude, most shared hosting providers only allow a particular set of programming languages or environments, and these are rarely on the cutting edge of technology.
If you are using WordPress, for example, this is unlikely to be a problem: WordPress is written in PHP and works hard to be backward compatible with that language. So if the hosting provider is using an older version of PHP, that is unlikely to affect the WordPress installation.
But if you are using other software that needs newer versions of PHP, you will need to make sure that the shared hosting you are looking at actually provides that newer version. Similarly, shared hosting is generally limited to HTML and PHP hosting, eliminating a reasonably large list of web software that uses other languages like node.js, Python, or Ruby. To use software written in these, you will almost certainly have to move away from shared hosting entirely and switch to a VPS, or infrastructure-as-a-service provider.
Shared hosting setups are also often quite limited in terms of storage space, or can charge quite a bit to be used as storage. This may not be a drag on your website, but if you are storing tons of images or multimedia, video, or audio files, then it is important to see what proportion of storage a shared hosting plan you are considering provides. VPS hosting is generally much more generous with storage space than shared hosting (although, again, this is something you’ll just want to see).
Problems and Complications
Shared hosting is shared too, hence the name. What this actually means is that you are renting a small amount of space on a computer where many other companies also host their websites. This is not a security issue – different websites accessing an equivalent provider are isolated from each other. But it may mean that the amount of bandwidth and processor time available to your website is often affected by the occupation of another site not connected.
If you are sharing your hosting with another website that suddenly becomes popular, this could make your own site run slower, even if it has nothing to try with you. A high-end shared hosting provider will spot this example and bring it up to speed so other unconnected sites aren’t affected, but the cheaper end of the market probably won’t.
This issue is generally touted as a significant flaw with shared hosting, which it is not. In practice, collisions between shared hosting websites are rarely really a drag, but it’s still something in mind.
One of the benefits of sharing hosting is that the provider can offer you add-ons, additional features, and functionalities, which are available to you without work. A shared hosting system can provide:
- Automatic backups
- Visitor logs
- Statistics and analytics
- File manager
- One-click installs for common software
- Email hosting and routing
- Database management
The list is almost endless. In fact, all of those features are available on VPS hosting if you install different software yourself, but that requires the technical aptitude to try. For shared hosting, if these items are open since the company sets them up for you, they do not require installation or setup.
Additional features like these make up the bulk of what shared hosting providers compete: one might offer a “basic” service with little or no service. While another a “batteries included” service with many additional features included as part of its monthly fee.
This is definitely something to think about if you are technical enough to understand how to install those things yourself and you know which one you prefer to install. That is where a VPS host gives you the freedom to own whatever you want. If not, take a look at the features provided by the shared hosts you are considering to determine which ones you would like and which ones you don’t.
Scaling and Traffic
Depending on how much traffic you expect for your website, scalability may even be worth thinking about. If you expect a uniform level of traffic, either high or low, that won’t affect your options much . If you anticipate constant low traffic, shared hosting will be fine and constant high traffic will need you to see bandwidth caps as mentioned for each hosting provider.
But if you expect your traffic to vary, meaning it will be low at times and occasionally much higher, perhaps for a rare special event. That is where VPS hosts will often allow a short-lived boost to your disk space or bandwidth allocation where shared hosting won’t. this type of “bursty” traffic should tip you towards VPS hosting.
The cutoff point where shared hosting will start to struggle and you’ll want to start looking at a more scalable VPS is maybe around 30,000 page views per day. These numbers can vary dramatically between different providers, but if you expect to be above that, you probably want to maneuver VPS hosting above your priority list.
A dedicated server is a few things like VPS hosting, but it turned out eleven. A VPS is not actually a complete computer in itself: the letters represent “Virtual Private Server” and therefore the keyword there is virtual. A VPS acts like a complete computer, but it is really just a software computer, called a “virtual machine”.
A true server computer could also run many of these virtual machines directly, all isolated from each other. A fanatic server, on the other hand, can be a real physical computer, a real machine, connected to power and therefore to the network.
The distinction between physical machines and virtual machines is usually not important, and if it is important to you, then you will understand why you would possibly need a fanatic server and why it might be worth paying the (considerably higher) costs for that. However, you may see hosting companies offering dedicated servers as well as VPS and shared hosting, so this might help you understand what that means.
There is a kind of house halfway between the 2 alternatives: that of managed VPS hosting. This is usually a setup where you have your own VPS and therefore have the advantages of your own server (flexibility, the ability to run whatever software you select, higher capacity) but where the hosting company manages that VPS for you, so they are the supervisor and you are not. This may seem like the best of both worlds and is for people who are unwilling or unable to manage a server themselves. However, there is a downside: cost.
Managed VPS hosting is considerably more expensive than unmanaged (or “self-managed”) VPS hosting, and that’s something to consider. If you have software requirements that require you to use a VPS, and you don’t have system administrators on staff, then a fully managed VPS might also be the best option. it’s essentially like hiring the hosting provider as your supervisor, with the prices that go along with that.
It is useful to appear at cost price, for now. We even have a comprehensive list of the simplest VPS and web-hosting providers. But a summary can give you an idea of where hosting fits into your website budget and roughly what cost range you expect.
Here we list some common providers with some hint of their monthly costs in each segment. Special offers and bulk purchase prices are not included here, in order to give you a comparison of the basic outlay for each.
When researching vendors, consider their wholesale price offerings, which can be substantially cheaper. These costs are also for the most important base plans and therefore for the smallest bandwidth and VPS allotments. These costs will escalate dramatically if your VPS requires more storage space, more bandwidth, or more CPU capacity.
Many hosting companies offer shared hosting and VPS hosting plans, and some even managed and unmanaged VPS hosting.
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How to Decide
Now that you’ve seen the different facets of your decision to go for shared hosting or VPS hosting, here is the rundown of things to consider. These are not really the conditions that decide the option for you. But they act like a guideline that allows you to select a provider that wants to run a service that provides everything you need.
If you are unwilling to demand the responsibility of being a supervisor, or if you don’t need the flexibility of a VPS, you are strongly encouraged to seriously consider shared hosting or fully managed VPS hosting. Keeping up with security updates and settings is often difficult and requires diligence. If you don’t have an honest reason to request it, and if your website applications can work on shared hosting, consider shared hosting so that security responsibilities are handled by your hosting provider.
Storage space and bandwidth:
If your site stores tons of knowledge or is predicted to be busy (either all the time or at peak times), then you’d like to think about any storage or bandwidth limits from the providers you check out. VPS hosting will probably be ready to scale further if you want. If you anticipate a quick period where your site will attract a lot more attention than usual, then a VPS provider will likely provide you with how to temporarily add more capacity to deal with this explosion, and this could help inform your decision.
It is always an honest policy to have good backups of your site on-site, as well as access to server logs and analytics beyond what Google Analytics offers. If you are using VPS hosting, these additional features are on your shoulders to install and configure. Shared hosting can offer you the items you would like without the need for installation or configuration. Consider what you are trying to find and what a provider offers when making your decision.
VPS hosting is usually more expensive, both in the individual monthly cost and the time it takes to manage it. If you don’t need what it offers, you will save money by sharing.
If your software is in PHP, and especially if it is WordPress, you probably don’t need a VPS. Public hosting is likely to be satisfactory, simpler to use, and cheaper. If your software requirements are more complex, check what your choice of the shared host can support; you most likely want to create your own hosting environment, which suggests a VPS.
You should also keep in mind that this decision is not necessarily permanent. If your website has good backups, then moving it from one provider to another should be relatively easy. Going from shared hosting to VPS hosting with an equivalent provider should be even easier. Remember the need for permanent backups from the beginning, then you are not very limited to a specific type of hosting. If shared hosting can’t seem to cope with the visitor count it receives, it will always migrate to VPS hosting later if you want to.
If you need flexibility or complicated software and have the technical ability to use it, choose VPS hosting. Only if flexibility isnt your priority and you don’t have the technical skills to use it, shared hosting is probably fine.
When you really need VPS hosting but don’t have the in-house talents, Dont worry. Consider fully managed VPS hosting or hiring in-house staff or an outside agency to manage your website deployments for you.