VPS vs. Shared Hosting: Head to Head Comparison

Shared hosting and VPS hosting are two of the most popular web hosting solutions, but neither is better than the other. Today’s market offers a variety of web hosting options. Still, there’s no one-size-fits-all when choosing the perfect web hosting plan. Instead, it would be best to consider your unique requirements to get the best value for your money.

We will cover the difference between VPS and shared hosting so that you can carefully weigh their characteristics, pros, and cons to choose the more suitable option to make your website successful. Let’s dive into details!

illustration of VPS vs Shared hosting

What is Shared Hosting?

Shared hosting is an entry-level solution and the cheapest web hosting alternative. As the name implies, you’ll share a server and all its resources, including CPU, RAM, and bandwidth, with other users within the same environment. And as you’ll be sharing the resources, you’ll also be sharing the costs.

Shared web hosts distribute the server resources logically to accommodate the websites and ensure optimum functionality for all users. The best part is that you can enjoy the server on a budget if it’s not crowded.

However, if you choose the wrong provider, things can easily take the wrong turn. What happens when the provider hosts more websites than the server can handle? The overwhelming traffic will affect your capacity and website speed. Simply put, your performance will suffer due to neighboring websites.

Important: Shared hosting works for most users; however, there are a few notable exceptions you can learn in the following VPS vs shared hosting side-by-side comparison. 

 

Why Choose Shared Hosting?

  • It’s an easy-to-use solution suitable for beginners
  • You don’t need any web development knowledge or tech skills
  • It’s sufficient for personal websites, blogs, and portfolios
  • You’ll get a managed, all-in-one web hosting package with all necessary features
  • It’s affordable and offers excellent value for money

 

Shared Hosting: Pros and Cons

Advantages of Shared HostingDrawbacks of Shared Hosting
  • Cheapest web hosting solution available
  • Easy to set up and manage websites
  • Small to no technical knowledge is required to operate
  • Beginner-friendly solution with a standardized setup
  • Lack of admin access
  • Fewer server resources than a VPS
  • Poor customization flexibility
  • Performance and security issues due to other websites

What is VPS?

With VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting, you’ll still share the server with other users. However, VPS hosts divide the server using virtualization technology so that each user gets a specified set of resources. You won’t share server resources with other users. Even if they exceed CPU, RAM, or bandwidth usage limits, they won’t affect your website’s performance.

In a way, VPS hosting mimics dedicated server environments within a shared server. Naturally, the cost of VPS is higher than that of shared hosting. Yet, it’s far more affordable than dedicated servers.

Your experience with VPS hosting primarily depends on whether you choose managed or unmanaged VPS.

Managed VPS hosting is 100% worry-free and closely resembles shared hosting. The provider will handle all technical aspects of the server so that you can focus on your core business.

Unmanaged VPS hosting means you’ll be responsible for server setup, management, and maintenance with , while the host will only need to keep the hardware functional.

Expert Tip: If you are not a web developer or don’t have an in-house team of advanced users, we recommend you select managed VPS hosting. It can save you a lot of time and effort. At the same time, it will ensure you don’t experience unwanted downtime, slow speeds, or security issues due to faulty configurations or oversight.

 

Why Choose VPS Hosting?

  • You have exceeded the limitations of your shared hosting plan
  • It offers you more flexibility and complete control over your server
  • You aim to expand your business significantly in the upcoming period
  • It is a scalable solution with sufficient resources
  • You have a larger budget that you wish to invest in your website

 

VPS Hosting: Pros and Cons

Advantages of VPS HostingDrawbacks of VPS Hosting
  • More customization and control than with shared hosting
  • Better scalability and on-demand upgrades
  • Isolated environment from other users
  • Better speed, uptime, and security than with shared hosting
  • More expensive than shared hosting
  • It might require technical skill and experience
  • You need to estimate how many resources you will use

Shared Hosting vs VPS Hosting: What’s The Verdict?

Shared hosting is the way to go if you:

  • Are starting out with web hosting,
  • Have a static website, such as a personal site or a blog,
  • Are generating low traffic levels and don’t expect to expand soon,
  • Have a pretty tight budget.

VPS hosting is the next step when you:

  • Exceed your shared hosting plan’s capabilities.
  • Have larger personal websites, small businesses, and online stores.
  • Need more storage, bandwidth, and better speed and security than a shared host can provide.

 

Shared Hosting vs VPS Hosting: A Full Comparison

You’ve learned the basics of a VPS server vs shared hosting. But let’s take it a step further and compare the two solutions against the main parameters in web hosting.

 

Shared HostingVPS Hosting
Resource AllocationShared CPU, RAM, and bandwidthDedicated resources within a shared environment
PerformanceMostly stable, yet neighboring websites can use your bandwidth and slow down your websiteBetter performance, speed, and uptime
SecurityGenerally secure, but a security breach can easily spread on the serverYou can add security measures to your VPS independently of other users on the same server
Control & CustomizationNo admin access; a standardized setup without much flexibilityRoot access and more control to customize your VPS to your requirements
ScalabilityPretty limited in potentialCan grow with your website
Support24/7/365 support, excellent for beginnersDepends on whether you choose managed or unmanaged VPS
PricingThe cheapest web hosting solution availableMore expensive due to advanced features

Resource Allocation

Shared Hosting means that you will share the server and its resources with other users. If one of your neighboring websites uses too much of a given resource, say bandwidth, this will leave you with less. You can think of the server as a cake; if someone steals your piece, you will be left with none. In turn, this can negatively affect your website speed and performance, thus user experience, SEO, and profits.

VPS hosting grants you exclusive access to your dedicated resources, meaning you don’t have to ‘fight’ for server space or bandwidth. While VPS hosting is not as powerful as a dedicated server, it still makes it more difficult for other users to ‘steal’ your server resources.

You will get more secure computing resources and processing power with VPS hosting, meaning you don’t have to rely on other websites on the same server and worry about how they would affect your website performance with their irresponsible usage.

Note: Reputable web hosting companies have measures in place to prevent shared hosting users from harming other websites within the same environment.

 

Performance

Your server performance and loading speeds depend on your provider’s hardware and technologies.

Shared hosting plans generally deliver lower-end performance and speed due to the higher number of users on a single server.

VPS hosting providers usually host fewer websites on a single server. As a bonus, other users on the same server cannot use up your bandwidth or slow down your website because you’ll reside in an isolated environment.

VPS hosting is typically more stable and outperforms shared hosting, meaning it can better deal with traffic spikes and prevent unwanted downtime and a decrease in speed.

Expert Tip: Avoid providers with anything below 99.95% for an uptime guarantee. Also, consider enterprise hardware, SSD storage, CDN, and caching technologies for an additional performance boost.

 

Security

Shared hosting providers are usually good at setting up a safe environment for your website. Yet, if one of your neighboring websites experiences an error or is attacked by cybercriminals, the security breach can easily spread to your website. Furthermore, the risk for a security breach is higher within a shared hosting environment due to the number of users and because the customers are frequently the least experienced users who can cause server vulnerabilities by themselves.

VPS hosting grants you an isolated environment from the rest of the users on the same server. Even if one of your neighboring websites experiences a security issue, it will be almost impossible for it to reach your website. You can also set up additional security measures and protection on your partitioned server, independent of other users.

You can better control your website security with VPS hosting than with shared hosting, which is essential, especially if you are dealing with sensitive data.

Warning: If you select unmanaged VPS hosting and poorly manage your server, you can cause additional security issues. So, if you don’t have sufficient tech expertise, it would be best to reconsider your options.

 

Control & Customization

Shared hosting providers will configure the server, set up everything, manage, maintain, and monitor the server, handling all necessary back-end actions. The standardized setup makes shared hosting suitable for anyone that doesn’t want to do anything with server management. However, you won’t get much of a say over the software you want to be installed on your server.

VPS hosting is a more advanced alternative, granting you root access to your server. You’ll get more control over your server to install whichever operating system, control panel, or software you prefer and tailor the back end to your preference. Still, your experience with VPS hosting will determine whether you select a managed or unmanaged VPS. The setup process of managed VPS is the same as with shared hosting; others will configure your environment. With unmanaged VPS, it’s up to you, so you’ll need technical understanding to customize and configure apps and software.

VPS hosting offers more customization options than shared hosting, while the latter is more limited; all users on the same server get the same setup.

 

Scalability

Shared hosting plans are perfect if you receive a few hundred visitors weekly. However, if you plan on scaling and increasing your visitors to thousands per week, shared hosting won’t be able to support your growth. It cannot accommodate high traffic levels due to limited resources. So, if you receive more traffic, this can essentially slow down your website or, worse yet, turn it into an error message.

VPS hosting is far more scalable. It has relatively unlimited potential for supporting your increased workload and adapting to fluctuating traffic trends.  It’s a smart investment for future expansion if you anticipate rapid growth and you have exceeded the server resources included in a shared hosting plan.

You can scale more easily with VPS hosting, while shared hosting fits the bill for entry-level hosting and websites with limited traffic.

 

Support

Shared hosting plans primarily target beginners and first-time users, you can expect a managed environment where you don’t have to worry about any technical stuff. Instead, you’ll get a user-friendly control panel with 1-click installs, such as cPanel with Softaculous, to make the needed changes on your website. More importantly, you’ll have access to 24/7 customer support, preferably via several channels, such as live chat, tickets, phone, or email.

VPS hosting can provide similar treatment, but only with managed VPS hosting. You’ll get a team on standby to perform all installs, updates, or server changes you want. However, you cannot expect this level of support with an unmanaged VPS. The provider will usually only assist you with hardware-related issues with the latter.

Shared hosting and managed VPS will grant you the same treatment regarding support, whereas you cannot expect 24/7 assistance with an unmanaged VPS.

 

Pricing

Shared hosting is the most budget friendly option. While VPS hosting exceeds shared hosting across all categories, regarding pricing, shared hosting is the cheapest. The bottom line is, how much does this cost? The more you pay, the more you get, but does it make sense to pay the extra fee? If shared hosting is sufficient for your needs, you can stick to your shared hosting plan and pay a cheaper price for hosting, sometimes even less than a dollar.

VPS hosting offers great value, but at a higher price tag. However, if you have bigger ambitions, you should never trade price for quality because, in the end, your performance and profits will suffer. Also, remember that the price of VPS can vary greatly, which is why choosing a reputable company is crucial. Popular VPS providers frequently offer promotional prices, meaning you can spot a great deal even with a VPS.

Shared hosting wins hands down under pricing, yet VPS hosting provides excellent value for money.

Note: Unmanaged VPS costs as much as shared hosting, while managed VPS is on the higher end of pricing due to all extra benefits.

 

When to Upgrade Your Hosting Plan?

Learning the difference between VPS and shared hosting can help you select the better alternative for your upcoming project. But what if you are already on a shared server? When is the right time to upgrade to a VPS?

Here are the main indicators it’s time to upgrade from shared hosting to VPS hosting:

  • Your website has slowed down in speed
  • You cannot put your security at risk because you are handling sensitive data
  • You are expecting a further boost in traffic in the upcoming period
  • You plan on hosting more than one website
  • You want more freedom and control over your server
  • Your budget has expanded significantly, and you have more money to invest

 

Conclusion

The key takeaway of the comprehensive shared hosting vs VPS hosting comparison is that it all comes down to your needs. Both shared hosting and VPS can give you satisfactory performance. Yet your choice depends on your requirements and budget, so it’s best to carefully weigh your options.

There’s always going to be a compromise between price and quality. Spending a fortune on a VPS makes no sense if a shared hosting plan is sufficient for your site. After all, you can always start with a cheaper alternative and upgrade as your traffic increases.

At the same time, a lack of resources can easily lead to business failure, slow website speeds, and frustrated visitors. If you already have an established business, you can get more advantages with a VPS that a shared host cannot offer. So, choose wisely!

FAQ

When to choose shared hosting over VPS?

Shared hosting makes more sense than VPS hosting if you have a personal website or a blog with limited traffic. It’s the perfect choice for first-time users because it offers a standardized setup and easy navigation with 24/7 customer support. Furthermore, you should choose shared hosting over VPS if you are on a tight budget.

When to choose VPS over shared hosting?

You should go for VPS hosting if your website exceeds a shared hosting plan’s architectural and resource capabilities. It’s the perfect balance between a shared and a dedicated server, offering you dedicated resources on a budget.

What other web hosting types are there?

Apart from shared and VPS hosting, you can also consider dedicated and cloud hosting as the two remaining prevalent types of web hosting on the market.

With dedicated hosting, you will get an entire physical server to yourself, not sharing resources with any other user. It’s the most advanced, thus, most expensive solution. However, the key advantage is that you can fully customize the server to your liking.

Cloud hosting is the most flexible and scalable solution on the market, usually with a pay-for-usage pricing model. It utilizes multiple servers, as opposed to traditional web hosting that relies on a single physical server. If one server fails, your cloud host will reroute to another within the same network. Therefore, it’s more stable and delivers better uptime and speed than the traditional infrastructure.

Is VPS hosting expensive?

VPS hosting prices can vary significantly, depending on the resources you need for your website and whether you select managed or unmanaged VPS hosting. Usually, the more you pay, the more you get, including CPU, RAM, and bandwidth, as well as extra features and advantages.

However, paying more is not the only way to get more.. The best VPS hosting providers frequently offer discounts, driving the costs down. You can also benefit from free trials to test the solution before spending your money.