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VPS vs. Shared Hosting: Head to Head Comparison

Every website, blog, store, etc., needs a hosting provider in order to exist and function. Hosting providers are the backbone of the online presence of business owners and companies.

However, the realm of hosting is not as simple as it seems. It is not only about choosing the right hosting provider, as many people think. A crucial decision first has to be made about the hosting that is right for the user’s business before jumping into the pool of the numerous different providers available and picking the right one.

So, it is no surprise that people have a plethora of questions when met with this decision. How many types of hosting are there? What do they offer? How do they differ?

Today, I will dive into the world of VPS and Shared hosting, which are two of the many different types that exist. I will break them down and compare them with hopes to make it easier for you to distinguish which of the two options is better for you.

Shared Hosting vs VPS article cover image

This article aims to determine whether one type is better than the other, if one of them is faster, safer, has better performance, etc. Also, I will list the key differences between the two types of hosting in an effort to make the final decision easier and simple for you.

Let’s start by getting to know the two types of hosting for today better.

Getting Started with VPS (Virtual Private Servers)

VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. A virtual private server (VPS) is a brilliant combination of the most remarkable characteristics of dedicated servers and shared hosting. A virtual private server (VPS) is a virtual operating system that runs on top of a parent 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 software that acts as dedicated hardware.

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

A virtual private server (VPS) uses a hypervisor, which is a specialized virtualization technology that divides the hardware into independent virtual servers using virtual layers. This gives users access to dedicated or private resources within a shared environment.

Furthermore, VPS provides root access to its customers, allowing them to modify the hosting environment and independently install programs and other features, allowing them to maintain their privacy from other users.

screenshot of the VPS category page on HostAdvice

VPS is usually used by and suitable for businesses that are growing at a rapid pace and need more advanced features than what shared hosting has to offer. Also, it is the top of businesses that want to host more than one website and businesses that anticipate a significant increase in traffic over a couple of months.

In general, businesses that are looking for greater bandwidth, security, stability, and performance choose VPS hosting, and they usually get it from providers who deal with VPS exclusively.

VPS Pros

  • It has excellent value for money
  • It offers more customization control
  • It grants users root access to their server
  • It offers more memory, bandwidth and it is easily scalable
  • It is not affected by the traffic on other websites
  • it is stable and fast

VPS Cons

  • It is more expensive
  • Requires technical knowledge to manage
  • Users need to know approximately how much storage and bandwidth they will need

Some Info About Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is the entry-level, primary type of hosting and is also the cheapest. The most basic definition for shared hosting is that multiple websites share a physical server on it. The server is distributed to operate and serve numerous websites.

Shared hosting means that a user shares the same database, bandwidth, storage, CPU, disk space, and other features with all other users that are on the same server. So, this means that everything is shared, and users do not have their own physical resources as with VPS. However, the sharing part of shared hosting decreases its price, making it very affordable and easy to manage, with no particular technical knowledge needed. Also, no one can see what a specific user has on the server, so users have their privacy.

screenshot of the Shared Hosting category page on HostAdvice

Shared hosting is usually used by businesses that do not anticipate high traffic on their website. More specifically, bloggers, eCommerce stores, individuals who participate in affiliate marketing, designers, etc., who have simple websites and satisfy simple needs, pick shared hosting as their default.

Additionally, shared hosting is the right choice for those starting a blog, needing a small to medium-sized company website, are on a budget, or don’t have any knowledge about web development.

Shared Hosting Pros

  • It is really user-friendly
  • It is simple and easy for beginners to use
  • It offers a standardized setup
  • Small to no technical knowledge is required
  • It is the most cost-effective hosting option
  • The technical maintenance is carried by the provider you choose
  • It has a solid performance for static and websites with lower traffic

Shared Hosting Cons

  • All physical resources are shared between the users on the server
  • It has higher security risks
  • Other sites on the server can impact your site’s performance
  • It offers less security, bandwidth, and storage than VPS
  • Users cannot access the rot server
  • Errors usually occur when a site has higher traffic

How are Resources Allocated?

I have already mentioned a bit about the resources and how they are distributed with VPS and shared hosting. But now, let’s look at this aspect in a bit of detail.

So, as mentioned, if you use shared hosting, you share physical resources like memory, disk storage, bandwidth, CPU, etc., with other users on the server. This means that if one of the websites uses up too much bandwidth or memory, all other websites feel the effects of that. Thus, individual users do not have control over what or how something affects their websites.

VPS does a better job in this aspect, as it is way less limited compared to shared hosting. With VPS, you actually own a slice of the server, which means that you have more resources at your disposal for individual use. Additionally, VPS users have root access to the server, meaning that they can install add-ons and other software and make changes to any files on the server.

So, the hosting that does a better job in this category is VPS, as it offers more resources than shared hosting. Also, other websites do not affect your site’s performance, and you will not have to worry about what other users on the server are doing.

Better Safe Than Sorry

Security is one of the most important aspects that should be considered by people who work online and handle data of any size. Especially in this day and age when businesses and individuals are prone to cyber attacks, hackers, and viruses, it is crucial to check out the level of security before picking the hosting you will use.

It is essential to know that shared hosting is relatively very safe for the most part. The individual providers work hard at securing the sites for shared hosting users, but they do not guarantee anything. Something that is very important to know before opting for shared hosting is that if one website on the server is attacked or hacked, all websites on that same server are at risk. So, your site could still be under attack, even if you pay extra attention and are careful with your online activity.

screenshot of Shared Hosting Security features

On the other hand, VPS is more secure than shared hosting. All users on the server are VPS users, so they have higher security by default. Also, users can actually impact the security of their websites because they are able to install additional protection and security features. What this means essentially is that even if another website on the server is attacked or hacked, your site is safe as no other site can affect what you do.

VPS wins the title of the more secure hosting type, as it has more control over the security. Also, VPS providers offer users advanced security features to keep their sites safer. So, if your website uses the personal data of your customers, VPS is definitely the superior choice.

Performance, Speed and Uptime

Customers like fast-loading and responsive websites. They want smooth experiences and tend to stay and browse longer on websites that give them just that. This is where performance comes in and sets the pace for your website, making sure visitors have no complaints about their overall experience, regardless of whether they buy something or not.

The most important factors that have prominent roles to play when it comes to performance are bandwidth, uptime, fast loading speeds, and response time. These features are usually more dependent on the provider that users choose.

screenshot of VPS Hosting recommendations

However shared hosting is quite limited when it comes to the features mentioned above, as users share all the resources with other users on the server. But shared hosting does an excellent job for smaller websites that do not have a lot of traffic.

So, it is safe to say that VPS has better performance because it offers more bandwidth and can deal with higher traffic. Also, shared hosting can cause some trouble for you if your site unexpectedly gets more visitors, while VPS hosting is well-equipped for that situation.

Freedom to Customize

Customization is vital to any business owner and company, as all businesses aim to be as unique as possible. So, the freedom and ability to customize is definitely a factor to consider before picking the hosting type for your site.

When it comes to shared hosting, it sets limits to the extent to which you can customize your site. Once set, those limits cannot be modified or exceeded, which can be considered a restricting factor in the creativity of business owners.

On the other hand, VPS allows users the ability to customize their hosting plans and set their own limits, which can be altered each month. It has no barriers that can hinder the number of changes or edits a user wants to make to their website.

So, as far as customization and creativity go, VPS hosting is more customizable and offers users more freedom to do as they please with their websites.

What Option Offers Better Scalability?

Scalability is critical for websites that want to grow or are growing rapidly. If you own a business or have a small site and do not have many visitors, and you do not wish to increase these stats, you shouldn’t pay too much attention to scalability.

Shared hosting is the perfect choice for such sites, as mentioned above, as it is equipped to handle small traffic and small amounts of visitors. However, as soon as you decide to increase traffic and the popularity of your site and you start to attract more customers, shared hosting cannot support your site as it once did.

VPS, however, grows as much as your site does. So, if you spend or decide to spend a little extra money and have VPS to back you up, the growth of your website will go seamlessly, with no issues or errors. Your website will not crash, and you will be able to go as far and be as ambitious as you desire.

screenshot of VPS Hosting article

So, if you run a personal site or a small business with not too many visitors, then shared hosting will do an excellent job for you and your site. However, if you want to grow your site and attract new visitors and customers, then VPS is the right way to go and will support you every step of the way.

Who Has Better Value for Money?

Price plays an integral part in any decision, much more so for businesses and individuals that are on a budget. No one can decide on any one thing without considering the financial aspects. So, let’s see some more details about VPS and shared hosting when it comes to pricing.

As mentioned, shared hosting is the cheapest hosting type that is currently available on the market. It is the perfect solution for small businesses and individuals with personal sites, as it provides both good support for them and is the least damaging of them all to their finances.

VPS hosting is a bit expensive, but it 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, then spending the extra dollar on VPS will most likely prove to be the better option in the long run.

Seeing as this category is here to decide which of the two types of hosting is cheaper and more affordable, the win is definitely for shared hosting. No other type of hosting can really compete with it price-wise. However, it is essential to know that shared hosting is quite limited, and it doesn’t mean that just because it’s the cheapest, it is the best option for your business.

Server Administration and Control

Shared hosting does not require users to have any technical expertise, and it does all the maintenance for you. Essentially, the provider is the one that sets up the server, installs and upgrades software like cPanel, and monitors the servers to prevent downtime, and takes control of everything going on in the background. So, shared hosting is perfect for users who do not want to deal with maintenance and would instead leave it up to the provider to do it.

VPS is a bit more complicated in this aspect than shared hosting, and it requires users to have some technical knowledge in order to use it properly. It allows users root access to the server, which means the users themselves can install the OS, cPanel, and software, allowing users to have complete control over their websites’ optimization, performance, and security. Also, VPS enables users to customize and configure apps, software and shape the back end as they wish to. So, VPS is the perfect hosting for web developers or individuals who have the technical expertise and want to be more in control of both of the technical aspects, maintenance, and overall look of the website.

So, this category’s winner can go both ways. If you’re new and have no technical expertise, want something more convenient and easy to use, then shared hosting is the right option for you. But if you’re looking for something more advanced and wish to have more control over both the back end and front end, then you should go with VPS hosting.

Category Overview and Differences

SECURITYUsers can install security software and features individually, even if other users on the same server don’t.Overall secure, but all websites become vulnerable even if just one of them is attacked or hacked.
PERFORMANCEFast loading speeds, response times, more bandwidth, and more visitors.It offers good uptime, bandwidth, and support for smaller sites.
CUSTOMIZATIONUsers have more resources for themselves and can customize their sites more freely.It limits the amount of resources users have and does not allow too much customization.
SCALABILITYUsers can scale and grow their websites to great extents.Not too much scalability is enabled.
PRICEMore expensive but offers more advanced features.It is the cheapest type of hosting right now.

When to Choose:

VPSShared Hosting
You’re the owner of an already successful companyYou’re just getting started with web hosting and don’t want to commit a lot of money right now
Your company is mid-sized or larger, and you intend to expand significantly in the coming yearYou’re considering a startup but haven’t yet established your company
You have a high volume of visitors and need a lot of space and bandwidth to accommodate themYou don’t have any plans or wishes to expand your existing business
You want to go above and beyond what shared hosting can provide in terms of securityYou’re considering a startup but haven’t yet established your company
You have a sufficient budget to justify investing in VPS hostingYour blog or website is relatively little
You need more disk memory, more bandwidth and overall more control over the resourcesYou don’t require a lot of storage or bandwidth, and you only want to generate a small quantity of traffic (no more than 500 visitors per day)
You want complete control over your server and want to adjust the more refined detailsYou’re on a strict budget, and VPS hosting isn’t an option

Who Is the Winner?

So, based on the comparison I did between VPS and shared hosting, I have to declare VPS as the overall winner because it was the clear winner in most of the categories I used as a basis for my comparison. Without a doubt, VPS offers more advanced features, more options for its users, and supports endless growth opportunities.

However, shared hosting is not all bad as it is the perfect solution for small businesses and personal sites that do not have any growth plans and are on a budget.

So, even though I declare VPS as the winner of today’s battle, it is up to you to ultimately decide which of these two types of hosting is the right one for you and which one will satisfy your needs more appropriately.

To discover our recommendations for the best shared web hosting, click here at this link.

Check out HostArmada reviews here.