Compare Hosting: Shared vs. VPS vs. Dedicated

compare shared virtual dedicated server hosting

When searching for web hosting for your website, there are lots of companies and plans you can choose from. Sometimes it can be difficult to decide which hosting type is right for you and which company will be a long term partner. In this article I will show you what the differences are between shared hosting, virtual private server and dedicated hosting; and will also show you the advantages of each particular hosting type.

What Is Shared Hosting?

There is couple of reasons why shared hosting one of the most popular types of web hosting: it is affordable, does not require much experience to use it, it has all the necessary features to get started with a small and simple website. Shared hosting got its name from the way accounts are hosted on a web server. When we are talking about shared plans, we actually refer to a web server that holds multiple similar hosting accounts, sharing all server resources including CPU, RAM, bandwidth, storage, etc. Sharing the same server makes this plan the most affordable hosting type.

Shared hosting is mostly used by individuals or small business owners, whose websites does not require much web space and server usage. Often, the unlimited shared hosting plan confuses users, but you should note that the “unlimited plan” does not exist. This is only a marketing strategy used by many hosting companies. The “unlimited” shared hosting means that disk space and bandwidth used by an account is not counted, however each account is limited to a specific server load. So an unlimited shared plan cannot replace a VPS or dedicated server.

Advantages of Shared Hosting

  • Affordable hosting option
  • Great for small and medium website
  • Does not require prior technical skills
  • Easy to use, thanks to its user friendly control panel
  • Quick setup and easy start
  • Managed service and technical support

What Is VPS Hosting?

Known as virtual private server, VPS can be placed between shared and dedicated plan considering its cost and features. VPS is a hosting option where a web server is partitioned in few individual accounts, each account having its own software, allocated server resource and root access. Even if VPS accounts share the same server, their activity does not affect the other accounts like in case of shared plans.

The VPS plan is designed for websites that requires dedicated server resources while still being affordable. A virtual server can be fully customized, having its operating system, custom PHP and MySQL versions, and custom server configuration. A VPS plan can also function as a reseller account, having the option to be divided in multiple shared accounts.

Advantages of VPS Hosting

  • Dedicated server resources
  • Still affordable compared to dedicated hosting
  • Possibility to divide in multiple shared accounts
  • Full root access to the web server
  • Scalability as website grows

What Is Dedicated Server Hosting?

Dedicated hosting is when you actually rent a web server. The hosting company will still manage the server for you, taking care of the power, connection and hardware, and software is you choose a managed hosting service; however you will have full control over the server. You will not share the resources with anyone, unless you choose to resell a part of your server. Running a dedicated server requires some experience and system administration, but if you choose to rent a managed service, the company will offer you all the support you need.

Usually, dedicated servers are used by big corporate and governmental websites, which requires a lot of web space, have huge data transfer and require a high security for storing sensitive client data. A dedicated server can easily be turned into multiple VPS accounts or into a shared hosting server, thanks to the great cPanel and WHM control panel.

Advantages of Dedicated Hosting

  • Full access to all server resources
  • Full root access to the web server
  • Provides high security and reliability
  • Can host very resource and traffic heavy websites
  • Provides the best performance
  • It is scalable and can have multiple dedicated IPs

Which hosting option is right for you? Well, if you are a beginner and want to start you first website, you should go for a shared plan. If your website grows you can upgrade anytime to a VPS or dedicated server. If you are a developer or a webmaster running multiple websites or creating online applications that requires dedicated resources, depending on your needs you should go for a virtual or dedicated server. Please check out my hosting reviews section, read my reviews and choose a hosting plan that fits your needs.

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