What Is the Difference Between VPS and Shared Web Hosting?

data center

When choosing between different web hosting options, there are many factors to consider. Does your site get a lot of traffic, and if it does, do people access media-heavy content? Can you live with your website slowing down from time to time due to preventive maintenance work on the servers?

There are two web hosting options you can choose from: VPS, or virtual private server hosting, or operating your website on a shared server. Below we will help you identify the differences between the two before you make a long-term commitment to a hosting provider.

What Is Shared Hosting, and What Is a Virtual Private Server?

A virtual private server is just what its name denotes: You’re going to get a designated server partition for exclusive use, most likely from an offshore location. Your website will live on this server without sharing upload speeds, download speeds, and data traffic with other websites. Getting a VPS is like providing your website with its own physical home.

Most web hosting providers have their virtual private data centers in Singapore, Amsterdam, Canada, and various locations across America. They’re going to allocate space in a data center that’s closest to your physical business address. If you’re doing business in the Philippines, for example, they will give you a server in Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, or India.

Shared hosting involves renting a private server, but you’ll have to share it with other users. It’s like a rooming situation in a college dorm or a co-working space.

Other websites will share your server partition, meaning there won’t be much room for growth, and you won’t be able to configure your website as much as you’d like. However, shared hosting is much more cost-effective compared to VPS servers, and web hosting providers have gotten very competitive with security, maintenance, and bandwidth allocation.

The Performance Difference

If your website has many videos, GIFs, and pictures that millions of people access every day, you probably have firsthand experience of the difference between VPS and shared servers. A second is a long time when it comes to internet speeds, and people will leave your site if it takes more than three seconds to load.

If you’re planning to build a large website and you want to put it on a shared server, you should know that visitors will have to queue up before they can see your art, hear your music, or take a look at what you’re selling. With a virtual private server, your website will have more computing power and data transfer capacity at its disposal, leading to faster and more reliable performance.

However, if you’re planning to run a blog site or a small online marketplace, a shared server will be fine. Just make sure to read the inclusions on the fine print of your hosting plan before you commit to anything. Many web hosting providers give excellent discounts if you pay for a full year or two in advance.

The Difference in Stability

In the past few years, shared hosting providers mastered how to allocate space within their server partitions without overloading them, meaning you’re likely never to experience any website downtime. Back in the 90s and early 2000s, overloading was a common problem.

When it comes to stability and reliability, it’s a wash when you pit shared web hosting vs. VPS. Many companies that offer shared web hosting also offer VPS hosting. Most of the time, they house the website data of both VPS and regular clients in a single data center, although in different partitions.

The reliability problems that VPS and shared servers experience are nearly identical, and it’ll be up to you to pick a web hosting provider that delivers on their uptime guarantee. The best-reviewed web hosts today known for their reliability are Hostinger, Liquid Web, and SiteGround.

The Difference in Security

If your website deals with a lot of sensitive materials, like credit card information, social security numbers, and employee profiles, a VPS is your most practical choice. Many websites share one server in a shared hosting arrangement. If the server gets hacked, many websites will be at risk, and yours might be on the list.

Which One Should You Get?

You can expect better performance and security with a VPS server, but they both come with a premium. A VPS hosting plan can range from $15 to $150 a month, while a shared hosting plan only costs $6.99 to $12 a month. The right choice will depend on your website’s traffic, scalability, and future.

Related: Web Hosting Explained: Linux vs. Windows

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