VPS vs Dedicated Server: Which Hosting Should You Use?

Virtual Private Servers (VPS) and dedicated servers are two of the highest-performing web hosting solutions available on the market. Both grant you a customizable server with dedicated resources. However, they do so in different ways and at vastly different prices. So, which one should you get?

 

VPS vs. Dedicated Server article cover image

 

We will cover the basics of both types of hosting and the difference between VPS and dedicated server. Learn the advantages and drawbacks of VPS vs dedicated hosting to choose the best solution for your business.

 

What is VPS Hosting?

A VPS (Virtual Private Server) combines the best of shared and dedicated hosting, granting you dedicated resources on a budget. The VPS provider uses virtualization technology, a hypervisor, to divide a single dedicated server into multiple partitioned servers that act like isolated environments.

Each VPS user gets an allocated set of resources and a ‘dedicated’ environment to customize to their liking. For instance, if a dedicated server has 8GB RAM, 1TB storage, and a 2TB transfer capacity, you can get a portion of these resources, say 1GB RAM, 125MB storage, and 250MB transfer with a VPS. VPS hosting providers can also grant you additional resources if you need them and your neighboring websites are not using their allocation to the maximum.

A virtual server makes sense if you need more capabilities than a shared hosting plan yet fewer resources than a dedicated server. Since you’ll be sharing the dedicated server with other users, you will also split the cost, making VPS pricing far more affordable than dedicated hosting.

Note: You can find two types of VPS hosting, managed and unmanaged VPS.

Why Choose VPS Hosting?

  • It’s a highly versatile and easy-to-use hosting solution
  • You have exceeded the capabilities of your shared hosting plan
  • You opt for more custom configurations than a standard shared hosting plan allows
  • It grants you the benefits of a dedicated server on a budget
  • You can host large websites with high traffic levels with optimal performance and speed
  • Other websites on the same server cannot put you at a security risk
  • You want root access without the expense of a dedicated server
  • It can grow with you as your business expands in the future
  • It’s an excellent sandbox environment for testing new themes, designs, and websites

VPS Hosting: Pros and Cons

Advantages of VPS HostingDisadvantages of VPS Hosting
  • Rapid setup and instant activation
  • Dedicated resources on a virtually isolated instance
  • More cost-effective than a dedicated server
  • Excellent flexibility and customization options with root access
  • Highly scalable solution (especially with a cloud VPS)
  • Optimal security
  • Mid-level cost; more expensive than shared hosting
  • Not as resource-rich or customizable as a dedicated server
  • Less secure than a dedicated server
Expert Tip: If scalability is your number one priority, consider cloud hosting. Instead of relying on a single server, cloud hosting providers combine multiple servers into a network, delivering endless scalability options. Furthermore, if one server fails, another can cover up for it, which means you can also expect excellent reliability and stability. You can find Cloud VPS and dedicated servers on the cloud.

 

What is a Dedicated Server?

Dedicated hosting implies you will get an entire server for your website and won’t be sharing the resources, i.e., CPU, RAM, and bandwidth, with other users, like with shared or VPS hosting.

The main advantage is obviously getting more resources. If we go back to the previous example, a dedicated server will grant you 100% of the available resources, meaning 8GB RAM, 1TB storage, and a 2TB transfer capacity. You’ll also enjoy more inodes than with shared or VPS hosting.

Another key benefit is that you will get total control over your dedicated server, meaning you can customize the hardware, resource limits, and software to your liking. That’s not possible with shared or VPS hosting, as in those scenarios, you are a single tenant in the environment, so you don’t have much of a say.

On the downside, this huge dedicated server freedom entails significant responsibility. You’ll need to employ a professional to set up and maintain your server if you are not a webmaster. With  all these extra benefits you better prepare your budget as dedicated server pricing is on the high end.

Note: Similar to VPS hosting, you can find managed and unmanaged dedicated servers.

Why Choose Dedicated Hosting?

  • It can support the largest websites with the most significant levels of traffic
  • You want to take your enterprise online, and you already have a huge following
  • It offers the highest security levels for handling sensitive data, such as processing payments on an online store
  • You require significant storage space for your emails and other data
  • It offers a higher inode limit than that of a VPS hosting
  • You aim to host multiple websites and manage their resource allocation
  • You want to start reselling hosting
  • You have the necessary budget to upgrade your web hosting

Dedicated Server: Pros and Cons

Advantages of Dedicated HostingDisadvantages of Dedicated Hosting
  • The most advanced web hosting solution
  • Industry-leading resources and performance
  • Full control over your hardware and software
  • Most secure, physically isolated environment from other users
  • Maximum flexibility and configuration options
  • Most expensive web hosting solution
  • Requires a fair bit of technical knowledge to handle due to its complexity
  • Scalability is limited by the physical hardware
  • More difficult to add resources than with a VPS

 

 

VPS vs Dedicated Server: What’s the Verdict?

VPS hosting is the go-to solution for large personal websites that have exceeded their shared hosting plan’s capacity or small to medium business websites. It’s a powerful and flexible yet affordable solution, which is why it works better than dedicated hosting for most customers.

Dedicated servers mostly make sense for high-traffic websites with unique hardware and software requirements. You should only consider it if you have a website with a considerable amount of files and you are continually adding content. An example of this is an online store.

 

VPS Hosting vs Dedicated Hosting: A Full Comparison

You’ve learned the core of VPS vs dedicated hosting technologies. Next, we’ll break down the differences and compare the solutions across several categories so that you can prioritize and choose the best web hosting for your business.

VPS HostingDedicated Hosting
Resource AllocationAn allocated set of dedicated resources within a shared environmentMore resources that are 100% yours and dedicated
PerformanceFast loading times and good uptime as the norm; until many websites on the same server simultaneously experience traffic surgesThe best performance, uptime, and speeds in the industry, unaffected by other users
SecurityYou can install your security software, but if other sites on the server have a security breach, you’re still vulnerableYou’re in charge of your security, and you can use tools to defend your site without relying on third parties
Control & CustomizationYou can customize the software on your VPS and install any operating systemYou can customize both the hardware and the software of your dedicated server
ScalabilityFlexible resource limits that are ideal for growing your businessMassive resource limits that can be adjusted month to month to meet your demands
SupportDepends on whether you choose managed or unmanaged VPSSame as with VPS, significant differences between managed and unmanaged dedicated server
PricingMid-level pricing and excellent value for moneyThe most expensive web hosting solution on the market

 

Resource Allocation

With VPS hosting, you are sharing a server with other users. You get an allocated set of resources to utilize, not the whole server. The good news is that if another user doesn’t max out on their allocation, the provider can add these resources to your account (still, there’s no guarantee this will happen). So, a VPS demonstrates excellent flexibility levels.

Dedicated hosting grants you exclusive access to the whole server, meaning you’ll get far more resources since you own the hardware. 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.

A dedicated server grants you access to more resources that are 100% yours, meaning you won’t have to rely on anyone else on the same server.

Performance

VPS is the next level from shared hosting. It offers dedicated resources on a partitioned server, delivering more stability, increased uptime, better speeds, and less downtime. On the good side, a VPS can get an occasional speed boost from another site via an excess bandwidth. Yet, the reality is that a VPS can also slow down if numerous sites on the server face traffic spikes.

Dedicated Servers are far more advanced because you get 100% use of the available CPU, RAM, and bandwidth (Although VPS is relatively fast and does well in the speed category). A dedicated server It can accommodate tons of website visitors at lightning-fast speeds, improving their experience and satisfaction, your SEO ranking, conversions, and profits. Therefore, it’s the better alternative for large enterprise websites with significant traffic levels and handling customer transactions.

A dedicated server grants increased resource limits and better performance than a VPS, meaning your site can handle the largest traffic spikes while loading swiftly.

Security

The VPS setup eliminates the security dangers of a shared environment. It’s generally very secure because you get a virtually isolated environment. You can also install additional protection and security features, such as firewalls, DDoS protection, or anti-malware, independent of other users. There is still minimal risk of security breaches due to sharing the hardware components. You are not physically separated from other customers, meaning if one site on your server is attacked, it leaves the door open for that attack to spill over to your website.

A dedicated server eliminates all possibilities of security breaches due to other users. 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 regarding security. So, you are responsible for protecting your dedicated environment. Fortunately, you can secure your website in many different ways or hire an expert to do so.

Both VPS and a dedicated server offer exquisite protection, yet dedicated hosting is inherently safer because other users cannot put you at a security risk.

Expert Tip: You can secure your site using VPS with strong and complex passwords, installing intrusion prevention software, using advanced encryption systems, auditing your server, or installing a rootkit scanner.

Control & Customization

Control and customization might be the biggest similarity in the VPS vs dedicated server comparison.

A VPS exceeds shared hosting as it enables advanced programming. It allows you to customize the server, access your files, and install any operating system. As a bonus, you also get root access.

Dedicated servers take customization and control to the next level. Apart from software, you also get a say in the hardware components. For instance, you might want to use Intel processors instead of AMD, or vice versa. And unfortunately, you don’t get to choose this with a VPS.

It’s a close race. Still, a dedicated server is more customizable than a VPS.

Note: The level of control depends on the type of solution you choose. If you get a managed dedicated server or a managed VPS, your capabilities would be more limited. You will usually get a user-friendly control panel instead of root access. Managed VPS providers rarely grant you admin access as well. If you get an unmanaged solution, you’ll get root access and be free to set up your server as you see fit.

Scalability

VPS hosting allows you to grow your business and easily scale your plan without glitches or mistakes. It can continuously provide adequate resources, such as CPU, memory, or storage space, on-demand. It’s the perfect choice for small to medium businesses with scaling potential because it can grow with your site until you’re ready to upgrade to a dedicated server, saving you tons of money.

With a dedicated server, you’ll get everything you need outright – resources, performance, and security. It’s an excellent choice for websites with consistently high traffic. However, dedicated hosting usually means you have reached the peak, and there is not much room for scale. It’s less flexible than a VPS, as you’ll need to move to another server or update the whole hardware once you exceed your plan’s resource limits.

A VPS is more flexible than a dedicated server, allowing you to scale your website without downtime or upgrading your subscription.

Tip: When choosing dedicated server components, always select one RAM size above your current requirements to have room to grow in the future.

Support

With VPS Hosting you can choose from managed and unmanaged VPS hosting. With managed support, the provider will set up your server and manage and maintain it. You’ll also be able to get technical assistance round the clock, usually via phone, email, tickets, or live chat. And as the name implies, with unmanaged support, you’ll be left more on your own to handle everything.

Dedicated hosting offers you the same options. However, managed support for a dedicated server can cost significantly more than for a VPS because the technicians will need to set up everything from the core.

There’s no winner in this category, as you can get 24/7/365 customer support with both VPS and a dedicated server. Yet, whether you choose managed or unmanaged support will depend on your experience.

Pricing

VPS hosting offers mid-level pricing. VPS pricing is cheaper than a dedicated server yet more expensive than entry-level shared hosting. You can benefit from a wide-ranging set of prices, depending on the resource limits, features, and level of support you opt for. Either way, you’ll be sharing a server with other users and splitting the costs, meaning you can expect pretty good value for your money.

A dedicated server has the most significant price tag. But it’s no surprise that dedicated server pricing is the most expensive, since it provides you with a whole server. You’ll get all resources at your disposal to do with them as you please. Yet, unfortunately, not everyone has the budget to back up one such investment; for many, it doesn’t even make sense.

VPS is a more affordable solution than dedicated server hosting that would fit right into the budget of a significant number of businesses.

 

When to Choose VPS or Dedicated Hosting?

A VPS or a dedicated server? Here’s the right time to select each!

VPS HostingDedicated Hosting
Your website traffic is growing, slowing down your websiteYour website has high traffic continuously, and you have exceeded the capabilities of a VPS
You want more control over your server and the ability to fine-tune the more minor featuresYou need total control over your server, highly specialized hardware and software
If due to a lack of memory, you’re getting a lot of blank pages (RAM)You’re experiencing slow site performance with your current plan
You need complete control over your cron jobsYou want or need to operate multiple sites simultaneously
In terms of security, you want to go above and beyond what shared hosting can provideYou need high, reliable, and stable bandwidth, unaffected by neighboring websites
You opt for a virtually isolated environment from other users on the same serverYou want to physically isolate your website from others and reach maximum security levels

 

Conclusion

As we reach the end of the comprehensive VPS vs dedicated server comparison, the clear “winner” in most categories is a dedicated server. It grants you infinite capabilities and unmatched performance.

Yet, that doesn’t mean that a dedicated server will work equally well for all. It’s far more expensive than a VPS, and the benefits don’t justify the investment for most users. On the other hand, a VPS has similar advantages to a dedicated server, yet, it’s relatively cheaper.

Now that you know the difference between VPS and dedicated server, choosing the best alternative for your business will be far easier. Remember, scalability is the key. Once you exceed the capabilities of a VPS, you can transfer to dedicated hosting. And you can always scale down if you start receiving lower traffic levels.

Our recommendation is that you start with a VPS and work your way up!

FAQ

When to choose VPS over dedicated hosting?

A VPS is a middle ground between shared hosting and a dedicated server. It offers you the benefits of dedicated hosting at an affordable price. At the same time, it’s an extremely flexible solution that enables on-demand scaling.

VPS hosting is the natural upgrade from a shared hosting plan. It makes sense for large personal and small business sites with opportunities to grow.

When to choose a dedicated server over VPS hosting?

A dedicated server is the most expensive web hosting solution; thus, it doesn’t make sense for everyone. Although it’s the perfect choice for established businesses and enterprise-level websites with high traffic volumes.

When should you upgrade from VPS to dedicated hosting?

If your loading speeds start to slow down and your visitors start complaining, you must reconsider whether you have sufficient bandwidth. You can either upgrade your VPS plan or, if you are on the most advanced VPS, your next step is a dedicated server.

Also, if you want to customize your hardware or upgrade your security, you can switch from a VPS to a dedicated server. Dedicated hosting will also help you avoid security risks, which makes sense for websites handling sensitive data.

What other hosting types are there?

Shared hosting is the go-to solution for beginners and first-time users. It’s the cheapest web hosting alternative, sufficient for websites with low to medium traffic levels.

Cloud hosting is yet another popular term in web hosting. You can get VPS and dedicated servers on the cloud, as well as cloud shared hosting, cloud WordPress, and reseller hosting plans. The main difference between a cloud and a traditional infrastructure is that the cloud is faster and more reliant. Instead of using a single piece of hardware, this type of web hosting interconnects multiple servers into a network and pulls resources from each.