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VPS vs. Dedicated Server: Head to Head Comparison

If you have a website, blog, online store, etc., then without a doubt, you have been faced or are being faced with the decision to pick a hosting provider and a hosting type in general. If you don’t already have a business and want to start one, you will have to encounter this decision at some point.

And as with almost everything else online, there is no easy path to discovering the right choice. Before actually settling for a hosting type, there are a plethora of factors to consider and questions to answer. Should you go for cheap hosting? Should you go for the more expensive plan that has more advanced features? Do you need more security? What kind of hosting do you need? How many server resources do you need? Should you go for managed or unmanaged?

So many questions to answer, yet so little time. But fear not, as I will do my best to cover some of the questions mentioned above and more in this article.

VPS vs. Dedicated Server article cover image

For today, we have VPS and Dedicated Server on the roster. I will compare and contrast them to see if one is better or more suitable for certain types of businesses.

So, let’s see what the two types of hosting are all about and what they have to offer.

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VPS in More Detail

A virtual private server (VPS) combines the best features of dedicated servers and shared hosting into one convenient package. A virtual private server (VPS) is a virtual operating system that runs on top of a physical server and simulates the environment of a dedicated server within a shared environment.

Important: A virtual private server (VPS) looks and functions like a physical server, but it isn’t. A virtual private server (VPS) is a piece of software that simulates dedicated hardware.

Managed and unmanaged VPS hosting are two different types of VPS hosting.

Tip: If you prefer to do maintenance, upgrades, and all the technical aspects for your site yourself, you should go with unmanaged VPS. If not, and you want someone else to take care of the tech aspects, then go with managed VPS.

VPS hosting uses a hypervisor to separate the hardware into individual virtual servers by using virtual layers. Because of this virtual separation, users can access private or dedicated resources inside a shared environment.

Note: A hypervisor is a specialized virtualization technology, or more specifically a virtual machine monitor (VMM)  that creates and runs virtual machines (VM).

VPS also allows root access to its customers, which allows them to customize the hosting environment and install programs and other features independently from other users.

Individuals or corporations who require more advanced plans than shared hosting plans but cannot afford their own physical server, i.e., dedicated server hosting, are typically VPS users. Many consumers also choose VPS since they require more secure environments at a low cost. The majority of VPS users are SaaS companies, game developers, and programmers, to name a few.

Note: Software as a service (SaaS) companies host a program and make it available to consumers via the internet.

Users also opt for VPS since it is more dependable, secure, and performs better than shared servers. What is considered as another great advantage of VPS compared to a dedicated server is that a VPS is relatively cheaper. Also, the level of expertise required is lower with VPS than with dedicated server hosting.

screenshot of VPS Hosting category on HostAdvice

VPS Advantages

  • It’s easy to use and versatile
  • Other web programs can be used with the VPS, and they can be restarted individually
  • The majority of plans can be adjusted to meet the demands of the user
  • The majority of plans are expandable
  • A large number of websites can be hosted effectively
  • VPS offers numerous advanced features
  • The vast majority of VPS employ the Linux-based operating system, which has an established track record of being more stable and secure than the more expensive Windows-based operating system

VPS Disadvantages

  • At the very least, some significant technological abilities are required
  • Because the hardware resources of the actual web server are shared among the numerous websites that use it, your VPS may not be able to use the total amount of RAM or disk space
  • On a virtual private server (VPS), the quantity of random access memory (RAM), central processing time, and server disk space available is limited
  • It may be not easy to configure an unmanaged VPS, and it will take you longer to get your website up and running

Dedicated Server in More Detail

The main difference between VPS and a dedicated server is that with a dedicated server, users get the whole physical server for themselves and do not share it with others. So, users have the whole server for their use only. Another good thing that this hosting type gives users is complete control over the physical hardware within their server and the software that runs on it.

Note: In contrast to a cloud server, which contains a hypervisor layer that puts the user at a distance from the bare metal, bare metal implies that the user is close to the metal, the physical hardware. A dedicated server is the same as bare metal. Hence the two can be considered identical.

You have complete control over your resources and can set your own resource boundaries from the start. Dedicated hosting is usually reserved for medium to large enterprise websites. Still, if you’re ambitious, a dedicated plan can save you time and money in the long run if you plan on growing your website.

screenshot of Dedicated Servers category on HostAdvice

Dedicated Server Advantages

  • Users have complete control of their servers, as they are the only ones using a particular physical server
  • Because your site is hosted on its own physical server, it is physically isolated from other accounts, whereas your site is only virtually isolated with a VPS
  • Because you’re the only site on the server, you don’t have to worry about other “bad websites” or hacks on other sites
  • When it comes to setting your server and modifying resource distribution, a dedicated server gives you the most flexibility
  • Because users have more resources, your website can handle large traffic surges while still loading rapidly
  • If you choose a managed web hosting plan with your dedicated server, everything will be set up and maintained by the hosting provider you choose

Dedicated Server Disadvantages

  • It can be quite costly
  • It’s difficult to estimate how many resources you’ll need correctly, and changing resources is more complicated than with a VPS because the resources are divided physically rather than virtually
  • You’ll need qualified employees to maintain and optimize the server on an unmanaged plan
  • A dedicated physical server is more difficult to scale because it is already large

Allocation of Resources

The way resources are allocated and shared is different for these two types of hosting. Let’s see how resources are allocated with VPS first.

Because VPS users share a physical server with other users and are only virtually separated, users share their resources. However, users actually own a part of the server with VPS, but not the whole thing. This means that users have some resources for individual use and have root access to the server, meaning that they can install add-ons and other software. Also, users can make changes to any files on the server.

Additionally, apart from the traditional type of VPS described above, users have the chance to go with cloud VPS, which would allow them access to resources from multiple servers, making the resources more substantial for an individual user compared to a traditional one VPS.

Note: Cloud VPS is hosted on a virtual partition made up of numerous physical servers instead of just one physical server, like with regular VPS. This allows for more scalability, availability, and access to more resources.

On the other hand, dedicated servers offer users total ownership of all resources because users own the entire physical server. So, all resources users have are entirely their own and not shared with anyone else.

Of course, depending on how many resources you need and how much you are willing or able to pay, you can get a lower or higher amount of resources. Still, no matter the size of your resource portfolio, everything you have is all yours.

Dedicated server hosting is a clear winner in this category. You have complete control over your resources and are not reliant on others. VPS hosting has its advantages, but there’s no comparison when it comes to the number of resources you get.

The Safer Choice

Individuals who work online and manage data of any magnitude should view security as one of the most critical issues to consider. It is crucial to evaluate the level of security before choosing the hosting you will use, especially in this day and age when businesses and individuals are vulnerable to cyber attacks, hackers, and viruses.

Because all of the users on the server are VPS users, they have a higher level of protection by default. Users can also have an impact on the security of their websites by installing additional protection and security features. This means that if another website on the server is attacked or hacked, your site will be protected as long as the attack is not directed mainly at your site. However, with VPS, you are still exposed to some risk because if one site on your server is attacked, it leaves the door open for that attack to spill over to your website.

Tip: Some ways to additionally secure your site while using VPS are: using strong and complex passwords, installing intrusion prevention software, using advanced encryption systems, auditing your server, installing a rootkit scanner, etc.

With a dedicated server, the only way you can get attacked or hacked is if the attack targets your site specifically and if you make a mistake or an oversight when it comes to security. This basically means that no external site can affect your site, as you are the sole user on your physical server. So, if someone else is attacked, you can rest assured that it will not spill over to you as well.

Additionally, suppose you want to take an extra step in protecting your site. In that case, you can do so because dedicated servers allow users to install additional security measures and features, like with VPS.

Tip: Some ways to additionally secure your site while using dedicated server hosting are: using Transport Layer Security (TLS) protected interfaces for server administration only, administering your server using trusted networks and computers only, securing that all systems used to administer your server have no malware, tracking all new fixes and releases for active scripts, etc.

So, the winner of the security race is dedicated server hosting. And even though VPS hosting is typically very secure, dedicated hosting provides a higher level of security. Users can install their own security software on either type of hosting, but users have complete control over any security breaches with dedicated hosting.

Performance

Customers prefer websites that load quickly and are responsive. This is where performance comes in and sets the tone for your website, ensuring that visitors have a positive experience regardless of whether or not they purchase something.

Note: When it comes to performance, bandwidth, uptime, rapid loading rates, and response time are critical variables to consider. These capabilities are typically more reliant on the hosting provider that users select than the hosting type. 

Seeing as VPS is shared with other users, and dedicated servers are not, the speed of a VPS is relatively slower than that of a dedicated server. And while VPS is relatively fast and does well in the speed category, dedicated servers are far more advanced because all the speed that the physical server can give is entirely yours and not shared with others, like with VPS.

So, although VPS is fast and can get an occasional speed boost from another site in the form of bandwidth, it is still inferior compared to a dedicated server. Increased resource limits indicate that your site should be able to handle large traffic spikes while still loading swiftly. Although VPS hosting provides fast loading times, your site may slow down if numerous sites on the server face traffic spikes. That is why the winner for the speed race is dedicated server hosting.

Customization Methods

Every business owner and firm strives to be as unique as possible. Thus customization is essential. So, before deciding on a hosting type for your website, think about the freedom and ability to personalize.

Both VPS and dedicated server hosting do a great job in this category. Both hosting types offer managed and unmanaged plans and allow users to change their resource limits on a monthly basis. When users pick an unmanaged plan, regardless of whether it’s a VPS or a dedicated server, they do all the work on their own every step of the way. However, users leave all the building and maintenance up to the provider with a managed plan. That’s why most users choose managed plans, as they allow for more time for users to focus on the business and other aspects and leave the technical side to other experts.

However, it is essential to know that VPS has the upper hand when it comes to customization. Users can get more resources from other sites if their own resources are used up and surpass their monthly limit.

Note: With VPS, users can customize resources like RAM, cores, and disk space.
Tip: With dedicated server hosting, the most recommended components that should be used for building a custom server are those produced by Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Intel, etc., to ensure higher security and reliability.

So, this category is pretty close, but I have to declare VPS as the winner here, as it allows users to go over their monthly limits and get more resources from other sites if needed.

Who Does Scalability Better?

Scalability is the ability of the hosting you choose to grow alongside your website.

VPS allows websites to grow as much as they need to, all while growing at the same pace. The growth of websites with VPS is smooth, and no glitches nor mistakes occur. The website will not experience any down time during the growth, and will be available to customers at all times. Also, there are no limits to how much a website can grow, VPS will be able to support it regardless.

Dedicated server hosting is slightly different, as users get all the resources they want right off the bat. Of course, users can change their limitations every month, but other than that, there isn’t much else they can do to advance their sites, as they already have everything. Also, dedicated server hosting supports high website growth.

Important: VPS is capable of handling approximately 1000 to 1100 visitors per day, while dedicated server hosting can handle more than 500000 visitors per day.

So, I have to give VPS the win here. It’s an excellent solution for sites that need both shared and dedicated hosting, and it can grow with your site until you’re ready to upgrade. Dedicated hosting comes with everything you need out of the box, so if your website is ready, you’ve already reached the peak, and there is not much room for advancement.

Which One is More Affordable?

Price is a significant factor in every purchase. Nobody can make a decision without considering the financial implications. So, let’s look at some more pricing information for VPS and dedicated server hosting.

As mentioned in the pros and cons section, VPS is the cheaper of the two competitors we have for today. VPS has an excellent range of different prices that can fit most users’ budgets. VPS offers users more advanced features and supports big and fast-growing websites. So, if you have a website that is on the up and up, VPS is an excellent solution to your hosting type debate that will provide you with advanced features and support your growth, all while being affordable.

It is no surprise that dedicated server hosting is expensive because it offers users their own physical server, which they do not share with anyone else. Also, all the resources are owned by a single user and are at that user’s disposal to do with them as they please. So, seeing as dedicated server hosting gives its users everything they could ever need from the start, the price tag on this type of hosting is not at all shocking or unwarranted.

Important: Prices for both VPS and dedicated server hosting depend on the hosting provider you choose. Of course, both hosting types have a built-in pricing factor because of what they individually offer. Still, ultimately the amount you pay depends on the provider and the market overall.

However, this category is about the more affordable hosting type, and as such, VPS takes the crown here. Even though dedicated server hosting provides its users with superior performance, security, more resources, and other similar features, VPS is still the more affordable one that would fit right in the budget of a more significant number of businesses than dedicated server hosting.

The Right Time to Go With:

VPSDedicated Server
If your website traffic is overgrowing and you want more controlYour website has high traffic continuously
If due to a lack of memory, you’re getting a lot of blank pages (RAM)You need highly specialized hardware and software
If you need complete control over your cron jobsYou’re experiencing slow site performance with your current plan
In terms of security, you want to go above and beyond what shared hosting can provideYou want or need to operate multiple sites simultaneously
You want total control over your server and the ability to fine-tune the more minor featuresIf you need high, reliable, and stable bandwidth

Category Overview

CategoryVPSDedicated Server
Resource AllocationFlexible resource restrictions with the ability to use the resources of other websites on your serverMassive resource limits can be adjusted month to month to meet your demands.
SecurityYou can install your own security software, but if other sites on the server have a security breach, you’re still vulnerableYou’re in charge of your own security, and you can use tools to defend your site without relying on third parties
PerformanceUnless numerous sites on the server experience traffic surge at the same time, fast loading times are the normBased on the resources available to your website, you should expect lightning-fast loading times
Configuration and CustomizationWith a managed plan, technical setup is taken care of for you, and resources are scaled according to the performance of your site and those on your serverWith managed plans, technical setup and maintenance aren’t a problem, and you can customize your site with additional software
ScalabilityGiven its flexibility and abundance of resources, this sort of hosting is ideal for growing with your siteAll resources are given to users from the start, so there’s not much left to do in terms of scaling
PricingWith an excellent inexpensive pricing range, it’s less expensive than dedicated hostingThe most powerful and expensive hosting option

 

Who is The Better Choice?

If I consider the categories I went over in this article, the clear winner, in my opinion, is dedicated server hosting. It won most of the categories, and even though it is a bit more expensive than VPS, it offers users the best hosting options and a superior hosting experience.

However, to be more precise, dedicated server hosting is usually used by businesses with high traffic and requires unique hosting options.

But for most websites, the top choice is a cloud VPS, which has similar benefits to those of a dedicated server, but it is relatively cheaper.

So, even though dedicated server hosting offers superior features, performance, security, and overall hosting experience, most users opt for cloud VPS hosting. It has many of the features that dedicated server hosting offers at a lower price.

  • Check the recommendations for the best VPS and get a suitable one.