It’s not easy to find the proper host. When faced with the task of determining the appropriate degree of service, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed, confused, and a little bewildered. Even if you have a lot of experience, deciding between all of the available options might be challenging. Make the right choice when choosing the hosting provider for your next website with the help of this Shared Hosting vs VPS Hosting article
In this article, I’ll look at shared hosting (a good place to start for tiny websites) and VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting, before offering a few recommendations for both.
Virtual Private Servers are, in effect, a big step up from standard shared hosting plans, with prices ranging from $5 per month on the low end to $20 to $55 for a quality mid-range VPS service. Is the extra expense justified? Let’s take a closer look…
Check Out – How To Enable GZIP Compression In WordPress
Hosting businesses can employ shared hosting to deploy a large number of users on the same server. A server is simply a computer with a processor, memory, and hard disk, similar to your own computer. If you’ve ever lived in a house where everyone shared a single computer, you’re undoubtedly already aware of some of the benefits and drawbacks of shared hosting.
On the plus side, the per-user fee is modest. If you buy a computer for each member of your family, it will likely cost roughly $300 per person. However, if you all share a single computer, say, between six of you, the cost per person may be as low as $50.
On the downside, each of you will have limited resources, and you may be influenced by the activities of others. If your brother downloads ten games, for example, he may use up to 80% of the hard drive. Furthermore, if one of his downloads includes a virus, it may prevent everyone else in the family from accessing the computer.
Having a family computer is very similar to shared hosting. Although the server you’re utilizing may be fairly strong, hosting firms generally load it with hundreds (if not thousands) of users. This is how they maintain the monthly costs between $4 and $8. A powerful dedicated server, where you have sole access to the server, can cost upwards of $350 per month. If a corporation utilizes the same technology but employs 300 people, they will receive nearly $1,200 per month — not a terrible price!
Of course, you shouldn’t expect too much at such a low price. You’ll be affected if a website on the same server as you has a memory leak. If a website consumes 80% of memory, all other websites (which could number in the millions) can only access the remaining 20%. Furthermore, hostile attacks on a single website on a server have the potential to affect the entire user base. The ‘bad neighbor’ effect is a term used to describe this phenomenon. Worst of all, it’s utterly unpredictable, making it nearly difficult to prepare for.
Some shared hosts are better than others at reducing these negative consequences, but due to the nature of shared hosting, all shared servers face the same basic problem.
Check Out – How to Enable Browser Caching in WordPress
Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting
A VPS (Virtual Private Server) is a superior choice in practically every area when it comes to technology when compared to a shared hosting plan. VPS servers are technically still’shared’ settings (in the sense that multiple users will use the same physical computer), but the technology used to assign resources and keep users separate is far more complex.
The main distinction is in how resources are distributed. Because far fewer users share the same hardware and everyone has their own ‘private’ environment, it appears that each user has their own server.
When it comes to shared hosting, it’s essentially a free-for-all situation: whomever snatches the resources first gets to use them. If the server has 16 GB of memory, one website (out of thousands) might use nearly all of it.
The cash is divided up in advance on VPS servers. Lower-end VPS plans, for example, may allocate 2 GB to each user; each of these users would then be allowed to use as much of that 2 GB as they needed, but none of them would be able to go over their individual 2 GB limit.
The environment is substantially more stable and predictable when resources are allocated per user. Is it still possible to run out of memory? Sure, if your website is badly coded or if you become viral and have tens of thousands of visits overnight. VPS services, on the other hand, virtually always let you to add more memory as needed (albeit for an added fee, of course). The upshot is that whatever the other users/websites on the server do will have no effect on you.
Another benefit is that everyone benefits from increased security. Scripts that can bypass the hypervisor – the process that produces virtual servers — do exist, but they are extremely rare.
CLOUD VPS EXPLAINED: CLOUD VS VPS HOSTING
Some companies will provide something called a ‘Cloud VPS’ in 2021 and beyond. In reality, several providers who previously offered traditional VPS services have switched to cloud hosting.
Cloud hosting and VPS hosting have a lot of similarities, and for most people, thinking of cloud hosting and VPS hosting as the same thing isn’t going to be far off the mark.
Your account receives its own dedicated set of resources on shared machines with both options. The hardware that underpins the partitioned resources, on the other hand, is different:
- ‘Traditional’ VPS Hosting – on a single physical server, you get your own partitioned resources.
- Cloud VPS Hosting – you receive your own partitioned resources, but they’re distributed across multiple servers (the cloud).
We’ll use the words ‘VPS’ and ‘cloud VPS’ interchangeably for the rest of this essay.
Should I Switch To VPS?
What’s the short answer? Yes. If you’re running a serious online business, you should almost certainly consider moving away from shared hosting — but, depending on the type of website you’re running, a VPS may not be the only option worth considering — but we’ll get to that later.
Only two scenarios come to mind where a shared host would be preferable over a VPS:
- You’re on a shoestring budget and can’t afford a VPS.
- You have a lot of low-traffic websites that you’d like to maintain up but that aren’t yet important.
If you’re just starting out and don’t have a lot of money, you might want to go with the $5-per-month shared option rather than a VPS. However, keep in mind that your website could be the foundation of your money-making endeavors. If that’s the case, it could be a better idea to focus more on your website and set aside funds for things like branded stationery and/or catered office lunches.
Another good reason to use shared hosting is if you have some low-traffic sites that you want to keep running but don’t want to clog up your VPS account. These sites usually don’t require a lot of power, so a little downtime won’t be a major deal.
A VPS account is a fantastic option in all other circumstances, and I’d recommend that any significant firm transfer to one as soon as possible.
Perhaps the most pressing questions are how much to spend on a VPS and what options you have once you’ve made the decision.
‘What about bandwidth and storage?’ is a query you might have. My shared hosting account has unlimited bandwidth and storage, but VPS accounts usually have strict constraints.’
In a strict sense, this is correct, but unless you have a really large website (usually with a lot of your own uploaded — not simply streamed — video content, for example), you’ll almost definitely never run into storage constraints. Lower-end VPS accounts provide roughly 25 GB of storage, which is a lot of capacity.
Keep in mind that every server that offers ‘unlimited’ services also has a ‘fair use’ policy, which means you can’t use it to store all of your files. You can’t, for example, acquire a cheap Bluehost account and then use it to store 50 GB of copied DVDs – they’ll cancel your account as soon as they find out.
The same may be said regarding bandwidth. A low-end VPS typically has 1 TB of storage. Let’s see what this costs. In 2020, the average website size was 2,032 KB. We can derive a rough estimate of how many monthly visits 1 TB enables by dividing the available bandwidth by this number, which is 492,000.
If you have this many visitors on a shared server, you’ll almost likely be consuming far more resources than necessary, and your website will be down practically all of the time. In reality, if your site has more than 500,000 monthly visitors, you should probably seek for far higher-end hosting solutions anyhow – and with that kind of traffic, you’ll probably have more than enough money to do so!
Check Out – Best Cheap WordPress Hosting Services (2021)
Different Types Of VPS
VPS accounts are differentiated based on the amount of resources you’re allotted.
In 2020, you can now find entry-level managed cloud VPS services for only ~$10 a month with roughly the following resources:
- 1 core
- ~1 GB of memory
- ~25 GB of storage
- ~1 TB of bandwidth
Higher-priced plans give you more like:
- 8 cores
- ~10 GB of memory
- ~150 GB of storage
- ~5-10 TB of bandwidth
That sort of setup will tend to set you back anything from about $150 a month and upwards.
If you’ve been getting away with a shared host so far, a $10-a-month cloud VPS server will probably suit your website/needs. What’s more, should you need to, most VPS hosts will let you scale up on practically a moment’s notice — simply pay them a little more and they’ll add more resources to your site.
Shared Hosting vs VPS Hosting: Even More
Aside from VPS, if you’re running a WordPress-powered website, another potential option is to go with’managed WordPress hosting.’ Managed WordPress hosting can be operated on shared or VPS servers (technically), but because these services are particularly configured to run solely WordPress, they have a number of major advantages, one of which is speed!
Most premium managed WordPress servers will employ cloud VPS hosting in 2020, however others will continue to offer shared environments on their entry-level plans.
Recommended VPS Hosts
Nowadays, most hosting companies offer a VPS option (or a cloud hosting option). I’ve rounded up some of the best below, with a few words on why they’re each worth considering.
SiteGround are a big, well-known company in the hosting world. I’m particularly fond of their support, and have had a couple of great experiences with them.
A couple of years ago, they moved to calling their VPS offerings ‘Cloud Hosting’. Plans start at $80 a month for:
- 4 GB RAM
- 2 CPU cores
- 40 GB storage
- 5 TB bandwidth
Plans start at $59 a month for:
- 2 GB of RAM
- 2 vCPU
- 40 GB storage
- 10 TB bandwidth
Cloudways offer an easy way to manage your own cloud VPS from your choice of five different providers:
Normally, creating a VPS with these providers requires some technical knowledge, which puts it out of reach of many webmasters. However, with Cloudways, you can spin up your own cloud VPS without needing any special knowledge.
The price you pay depends on which provider you choose and the resources you want access to.
The cheapest price point is DigitalOcean’s entry-level server which costs $10 a month for:
- 1 GB RAM
- 1 CPU core
- 25 GB storage
- 1 TB bandwidth
Recommended Shared Hosts
As previously stated, I believe that upgrading to a VPS service is a smart step for almost any serious business – but what if you have a bunch of low-traffic sites or need a little more time to collect those all-important funds?
In certain circumstances, I’d suggest looking into SiteGround.
SiteGround provides high-quality shared hosting services at more-than-affordable pricing, and will be able to simply upgrade you to a cloud VPS as needed.
SiteGround’s shared hosting plans start at slightly under $5 per month. You can’t go wrong with any of the well-reviewed large shared-hosting businesses (see here for more); poor neighbors and the like may occasionally plague you, but a company with powerful servers and good customer support can — and will — considerably mitigate this risk.
In every regard, a VPS is superior than shared hosting. If you can’t afford $60 per month for a reputable VPS from SiteGround or Liquid Web, I’d advocate going with a dirt-cheap $5-per-month VPS from, say, Vultr instead of sticking with a shared host after your website starts to have shared-hosting issues. You have very little control over shared surroundings, which may be incredibly frustrating.
If using Vultr directly is out of your skill set (it requires some technical expertise), you can pay Cloudways a little fee to have them handle everything for you – you can still get started for $10 per month and have a far better setup than most shared servers.
If you’re using WordPress, managed WordPress hosting is a suitable option to a generic VPS (read more). These are typically more expensive than basic VPS services, but they can give considerable speed and reliability improvements, as well as a slew of useful features like automatic backups, staging sites, and more.