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Shared Hosting vs VPS Hosting: Which One Is for You?

So, you’ve decided to start a site, but need to find a hosting provider that can supply you with server space. There are many types of hosting services available, made to support different types of sites, so it can get overwhelming. No need to worry, because we’ll talk about the two most popular types of web hosting to suit your needs — shared hosting vs VPS hosting.

In short, shared hosting is the cheapest option out of the two, where you’re sharing one server alongside other websites. You receive a set number of resources but are able to sustain a small website without spending too much. VPS hosting, on the other hand, gives you more freedom and performance but it is a bit more expensive.

We’ll cover the basics of each one, what kind of features do they offer, and their pros and cons. Let’s get started, shall we?

What is Shared Hosting?

Imagine shared hosting as living in an apartment where you have to share places such as the pool, backyard, or a parking lot. In this case, your site will share the same resources, such as CPU, disk space, and memory with other users who are on the same shared hosting server.

Shared hosting is the cheapest option among all. Unfortunately, your site might have limited bandwidth and will get slow when there’s a lot of traffic crowding websites on the same server as you are.

You can enjoy the pool when it is not crowded, yet you still have to anticipate when everyone goes in, and things get cramped — shared hosting is a lot like that.

Get Shared Hosting

Why Choose Shared Hosting?

  • You’re building a blog or personal site
  • Want to make a small to average-sized company website
  • Have a small budget
  • Don’t know much about web development

Pros

  • More beginner-friendly hosting solution
  • Provides a standardized setup
  • Requires less technical expertise
  • Least expensive of all hosting options

Cons

  • Often has less bandwidth and storage than VPS
  • Is prone to errors when there is a high traffic
  • You have limited access to the back end
  • It doesn’t grant you root access

What is VPS?

With VPS hosting you’ll still be sharing one physical server, but each user gets a specified set of resources, meaning that other websites on the same server won’t affect you, unlike with shared hosting. VPS hosting provides a dedicated virtual partition for each user, making sure resources are always available to you. Of course, VPS comes at a higher price than shared hosting.

If we’re going to use the same analogy as before, then a VPS partition is like owning a penthouse, or a condo — there are many apartments like it in the building, but you have everything you need and don’t have to share it with anyone else.

Get VPS Hosting

Why Choose VPS Hosting?

  • You’re running a business and plan to expand it in the future
  • Have a larger budget and want to invest in your site
  • Expect high-traffic for your website in the future

Pros

  • VPS hosting grants you root access to your server
  • More memory and bandwidth, easily scalable
  • It is not affected by other site’s traffic
  • Much more stable and faster than shared hosting

Cons

  • Comes at a slightly higher price
  • Needs technical expertise to manage well

Shared Hosting vs VPS Hosting: A Comparison

Since knowing the general definitions is not enough, we will provide you with some comparisons between the two hosting types to help you better decide which one works best for you.

Security and Performance

Security is essential no matter what kind of website you own. Both hosting types are relatively secure and stable methods for hosting your site, but there are some differences.

With shared hosting, your site might be affected when there’s an error on another site. Also, if other sites eat up too much of the shared bandwidth, your website might get slowed down. This is especially crucial if your site hits high traffic numbers.

You can avoid this problem by using VPS, as the partitioned servers make sure each website works accordingly. However, if you lack the technical knowledge of how to take care of your virtual private server you should consider your options. When poorly managed, it can lead to a whole bunch of other problems.

Control

If you are looking for more advanced options for your site, VPS hosting is more suitable than a shared hosting plan. It grants you root access to the server, so you can install your own OS and software to optimize site performance and security.

In contrast, using a shared hosting plan limits you only to standardized server setups. This might be more convenient for people who don’t want to meddle with server management tasks on their own.

Server Administration

If you choose to host your site with shared hosting, there will be little to no technical maintenance required by you. Shared hosting providers will set up the shared server, install and upgrade the necessary software like the cPanel or hPanel, and monitor the servers to avoid downtime and effectively taking care of the back end.

On the other hand, VPS hosting is slightly more complicated when managing resources. It needs somewhat more advanced knowledge to administrate and manage. Fortunately, VPS hosting lets you customize and configure applications and software to increase your website’s performance, offers root access, and allows you to tailor the back end to your needs.

Scalability

VPS hosting is much easier to scale up when compared to shared hosting. While shared hosting is a good option for a short-term plan or a small online website, you’ll have more trouble with the overall performance if your site reaches high traffic numbers.

VPS hosting allows you to scale quickly and easily, and if you can predict your site growth, VPS hosting might be a great investment for your future.

Pricing

Shared hosting wins hands down under this category. However, VPS web hosting prices do justify its greater advantage. Here’s a price table for Hostinger’s shared hosting plans.

Hostinger's shared hosting pricing page.

For comparison, here are Hostinger’s VPS hosting plans:

Hostinger's VPS hosting pricing page.

While VPS hosting costs slightly more than the shared hosting plans, they offer more storage space and much more bandwidth when compared to what shared hosting has to offer.

When to Upgrade Your Hosting Plan?

If you’re already using shared hosting and enjoying it, you might wonder when is the best time to upgrade to a VPS hosting plan. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself:

  • Do I want more options and freedom for managing my server?
  • Will I get a substantial increase in traffic in the future?
  • Am I consider hosting more than one website someday?

No matter your choice, there are great benefits to both shared and VPS hosting options. You simply have to weigh in your options.

What Other Web Hosting Types Are There?

Besides shared and VPS hosting, there are a couple of other common options — dedicated hosting and cloud hosting.

With dedicated hosting services, your website will be stored on a single physical server dedicated only for your personal use. You don’t have to share it with anyone else, and you can freely customize it based on your liking. It is, however, the most expensive option out of all of them.

Cloud hosting is a type of web hosting which uses multiple servers to balance the traffic and increase uptime. It is inspired by cloud computing technologies that allow a large number of machines to work as one system.

Instead of having your site hosted on one server, it’s stored on multiple locations. If one server fails, for example, another will aid in keeping everything running resulting in no loss in downtime.

Conclusion

Your hosting plan is heavily based on what you expect from your website. VPS hosting provides you with advantages that shared hosting cannot offer. However, there are benefits to both hosting options.

Before you choose a web hosting plan for your site, consider what kind of features you’re most interested in. Here’s a short recap:

  • Security and Performance. With shared hosting, you’re essentially sharing space with other users on the server. VPS hosting is much more stable and secure but does require additional technical knowledge.
  • Server Administration. Shared hosting is much more suitable for beginners than VPS hosting, yet lacks the freedom of customization than the latter option.
  • Scalability. VPS hosting is much more future proof than shared hosting.
  • Pricing. Both plans have different prices with different benefits, but shared hosting plans is less expensive than owning a virtual private server.

In the end, the choice depends on whether you are just starting out and don’t need any additional features that other hosting types have to offer. No matter your pick, we hope that this guide has been useful to you.

The Author

Author

Paulius Zunda / @pauliusz

Paulius is a content editor here at Hostinger. He enjoys delivering top-notch content for IT enthusiasts from all around the world and doesn't leave even the smallest of mistakes go unnoticed. Oh, and don't get him started talking about board games.

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