Between choosing a domain name and launching your website, there’s one important step: deciding on the best web hosting solution for your business.
Two popular choices for first-time website owners are shared hosting and virtual private server (VPS) hosting. Both come with the ability to store and power your website’s contents, including images, videos, and text.
But which solution is more suitable for your needs? That is what we aim to answer.
In this article, we compare shared and VPS hosting across four categories to help you decide which web hosting is the right option for you. The categories are:
Before we start, let’s have a quick introduction to each of these solutions.
Shared hosting is a type of hosting where your website shares a physical server with many other websites. This means you use the same CPU, disk space, bandwidth, and storage as others who are on the same server. The biggest benefit of using a shared host is that you also share the cost of the server with many people. You can host a website for as low as $3/month with the average cost in the $5-15/month range.
VPS hosting also requires you to share a physical server with other websites, but the host uses virtualization technology to divide that one server into many virtual servers. All VPS customers get their own virtual server with a set of dedicated resources based on what package they have paid for. The main advantage of VPS hosting is that you don’t have to worry about other websites using up too much disk space or bandwidth. You get to keep all the resources of the virtual server to yourself.
Differences Between Shared and VPS Hosting
Now that you have a better understanding of each hosting type, let’s see how they differ across the following categories:
The performance of your website should always be your main concern. A site that has slow loading times is likely to lose visitors.
With shared hosting, your website may not always perform at its best. This is due to the fact that you share resources with other users on the same server. Because these resources are not necessarily distributed equally among all the users, you could end up with less bandwidth than is needed to make your site’s pages load faster.
If you’re a VPS customer, however, you have all the resources to yourself. This means that your bandwidth is not used by anyone else other than you. As a result, your site’s loading speed will consistently be faster, giving your visitors a more pleasurable experience.
Though there are shared hosts that try to limit the number of users on a specific server to increase performance, VPS hosting is still the best choice when it comes to fast loading times. As a VPS user, you can be assured that only you have access to your entire bandwidth at all times.
While VPS hosts have certain security measures in place to prevent hackers from gaining access to your website, shared hosts usually don’t. This means that if one of the other users on the shared server gets attacked by cybercriminals, your website will also suffer.
If you decide to go with shared hosting to save some money, you may end up spending more on your security. You’ll need to use two-factor authentication, create regular backups, and get yourself a high-end firewall to prevent hackers from gaining access to your sensitive information.
If security is your number one priority, shared hosting might not be the best choice. VPS hosting offers much more benefits when it comes to safeguarding your online presence. Since each virtual server on the main physical server has a separate identity, your site won’t be affected if another virtual server is hacked or infected with malware.
The hosting company will usually handle the configuration (or set up) for you. Shared hosting customers can leave every setting to the provider, who’ll tweak and configure them according to each customer’s plan.
Configuring VPS web hosting, on the other hand, is a little more complicated. VPS providers typically offer managed and unmanaged packages. If you choose the managed package, your VPS host will take care of all the server configurations for you. With unmanaged, you’re responsible for everything. People with web development experience typically choose unmanaged VPS hosting.
Shared hosting beats VPS hosting for ease of configuration. Because first-time website owners are unlikely to be familiar with server settings, shared hosting is the best choice. You won’t need to worry about setting anything up, and it’s much simpler to learn and to control than VPS hosting.
Generally, you can expect to pay less for shared hosting than for VPS hosting because the expense is equally split among multiple users of the shared server. On a VPS hosting plan, you get more resources and the virtual private server powering those resources can’t be used by anyone else, so you’ll need to pay more.
From the perspective of average pricing, shared hosting plans cost between $5 to $15 per month, though some companies have plans as low as $2.15 a month for a single website.
The average prices for VPS hosting ranges from $30 to $300 per month. However, you can get excellent discounts if you sign up for a longer period.
Shared hosting has always been more affordable than VPS hosting, but long-term customers are allowing VPS hosting providers to offer better prices than what they used to charge. Naturally, the longer the hosting plan you go for, the lower is going to be the price.
|Key Feature||VPS Host||Shared Host|
|Single physical server||✔||✔|
|Dedicated virtual servers||✔|
|High level of security||✔|
Shared Hosting vs VPS Hosting: Key Takeaways
Shared and VPS hosting are both attractive choices for hosting your personal or business website. Although shared hosting is easier to set up and comes at a lower price, VPS is still a solid and reliable option. Picking the right web hosting, however, depends on a variety of factor, including your technical skills, the amount of traffic you get, and your budget.
Based on our comparison, shared hosting is the best choice if:
- Your website is relatively new and your monthly web traffic is predictable
- You don’t have web development experience
- Your monthly web hosting budget is below $10
VPS hosting, in contrast, is more suitable when:
- Your website has been running for a few months and your monthly web traffic is in thousands
- You have the technical skills to set up the server
- You’re concerned about security and want to protect your website from cybercriminals
To conclude, VPS hosting is the better solution in terms of performance and website security. But if you want a quick setup and don’t expect many people to visit your website, shared hosting might be the right option to opt for. Also, you can always switch from shared to VPS hosting when you need an upgrade – without needing to pay for the pricier hosting plan at the start of your online journey.