Shared or VPS or Dedicated Hosting? What, When and Why?
There are many reasons why someone would like to launch a website. You might want it for business, you would like to share ideas with other, or you would like to have a site dedicated to your cat. No matter what, launching a website always takes some consideration, and it’s highly recommended to sit down, and run some simulations in your head, so you could find the best solution. In this post, we are going to talk a bit about the Shared, VPS and Dedicated Hosting, and, of course, about which one should you pick and why? Shared or VPS or Dedicated Hosting?
First Things First: The Definitions
Let’s clear up the definitions first, so you know what we are talking about in the rest of this guide! We are not going to do this using analogies and metaphors, we just stick to the fact and stuff.
This website hosting version is usually the cheapest one. It’s quite simple, actually: you get a portion of the server’s power, and that server hosts other sites, such you share that power with those other sites. It’s cheap because, it’s not unlimited, however, nowadays, the shared plans are not that bad like they were before. Though your site shares bandwidth, space and CPU speed with other sites, you are going to be satisfied if you run a smaller site.
The VPS, or Virtual Private Server, is a great choice if you need something more serious. The VPS is a proportioned virtual server – it has CPU, RAM, bandwidth, and storage. One server could hold a lot of VPS servers, though you don’t have to share the space and power with them. All VPS are separated from one another. Nowadays you can find real VPS servers and cloud VPS offers too.
The dedicated website hosting is the highest level of website hosting. When you choose a dedicated server, you choose to rent your own server. A dedicated server is an actual box, which has its own memory, storage, and hardware, which you could even upgrade if you need more power. The dedicated hosting is quite expensive, but if you have high traffic, and you need a more stable solution, then it’s the best choice.
Now let’s take a look on some of the features you should consider when you choose a website hosting provider. The fields you should think about when you try to choose between shared, VPS and dedicated are: security, performance, price, access level and your own needs.
Let’s start with the latest: your needs. It’s always the first step to decide what you can do, and what you would like to do with your websites. The expected traffic is one of the first things you should consider, and it’s not an easy thing to find out. A high-traffic website like a shop or a viral blog site needs more power than a personal or smaller business site, and also the content matters: if you hire professionals to write SEO-strong content, then you have to expect higher traffic. The shared and VPS hosting usually grants restricted access, but building a site or importing your existing portal is easy with them. In this matter, the dedicated is often recommended only for bigger companies and shops.
Nowadays, with all the hackers and scripts around, security is the top priority when it comes to launching a website. The difference between shared, VPS and dedicated hosting is quite evident when it comes to measuring security. Security in the website hosting field also includes the uptime guaranteed and the different measures to protect your and your clients’ data. With shared hosting, the security is at a low level: you can opt-in for different security layers, but that wouldn’t worth much. Especially because the other sites on the same shared server might have a direct impact on your site’s performance, or the server is breached via those sites, your data is at risk too.
The VPS has better security, and it’s usually affordable nowadays, even if you plan to run a smaller site. Each VPS server is separated and hermetically sealed from the others on the same host, so you would experience better performance and security. Dedicated is another level, as you have the “rented” server physically separated from the others. This means, that no other site could have an effect on yours, and there is a much lower chance of a security breach than with any other of service.
The support you could receive is also a really important aspect of the security when it comes to hosting. In most cases, you can have full support with shared plans too, however, there are companies which offer you special dedicated support if you go for a VPS or a Dedicated plan. After all, they are much more complicated than the shared plans.
To choose the right plan, you have to know your capabilities: can you handle (or do you need) full access – including root access? If not, then opt-in for a managed hosting plan, so you just have to add content and other stuff to your site, while the hosting company handles the harder, more technical stuff. Those who would like to have a big company site or something should hire an admin who can handle everything on your own end, this way keeping the technical areas under control. The Managed plans are the best way to get started, and later, if you are more advanced, you could switch to plans that allow you better management options.
Performance is Important
In order to keep your visitors, readers, or clients satisfied, you have to have a good host, which has top speed results and has the best available measures in effect to make it possible for you to have a fast-loading website, which you can customize for all devices. There are studies and surveys which show that a slow site (and we are talking about seconds!) can lead to potential loss, as the visitors won’t wait, won’t spend time on the site, thus the visitors would never become clients or customers. If they buy, but the site is slower than the competition’s (you have to do your market research to find the biggest competitor and beat it) then they won’t return, nor recommend your site.
You know where we are getting here, right! So, always check the server speed, and if you have overseas targets, you should consider using cloud services, or pick a data center closer to the target market. As for the comparison, the VPS and the Dedicated hosting plans usually beat the shared hosting, while the dedicated is always better than the VPS. Why? Because there is no sharing: the dedicated server has its own hardware, bandwidth, and power, so it works only for your site.
Thinking of Limitations and Scalability
There will be limitations, no matter which plan you choose. However, the shared hosting is the most limited, as you can hardly buy extra memory or storage, while the VPS services always offer customization and upgrade option. These two are great because they are instantly provisioned to you, so you can start your site in a few minutes after signing up. Nowadays, though, the dedicated servers are almost instant too, and you can always ask for more RAM, better CPU or bandwidth, or for more storage. For blogs, one-page sites, and smaller business sites the shared and VPS are really good choices, and if we were in your shoes, we would go for the VPS first. The Dedicated is a big-fish opportunity, however, you might consider it if you plan for a longer time, and you expect high traffic on your site. The dedicated and the VPS are easily upgradeable, they are much more flexible than the others.
Always Think About The Future!
Before you “sign” a contract with a web host provider, you have to think about your future plans. If you are a businessman, you have to have a plan: marketing plan, expected traffic, expected revenue and more. This way, you can choose more wisely, with keeping your wallet under control and have the right service for the right price. In case, you expect only a few hundred visitors a month, you should consider the shared hosting. For higher traffic like thousands or even millions of page downloads, the best way would be to go for a high-end VPS or a basic dedicated hosting plan. On the other hand, you should pick a plan at a provider which also offers you scalability. If you feel your site exceeded the chosen plan’s limitations, you should ask for an upgrade. But, it will cost you, so it would be the best to think about it in advance!
Well, the hosting prices are tricky. We recommend that you check out our reviews and offers because you could grab a great shared plan, or a hot discount VPS plan to boost your business even further! There are industry standard prices, and in many cases, the dedicated plans are quite expensive, though they are much more customizable. The VPS is the mid-expensive category, and it’s affordable for both individuals and businesses too. It’s common that a three-years commitment grants the best prices, often going down to $60 per month for dedicated hosting!
To draw a conclusion, we have to say, it’s all up to you. What you have to consider is your needs, your business needs, and the goals of your website. What do you want it to do? Lure attention to your business? Or do you sell something? Ask yourself what you expect in traffic, what kind of marketing would you do. We suggest that you start with a shared plan, let’s say, for a year or two. This is enough time to find out how your site fares, and to find out if you need extra power or not. Those, who just want to launch the site, and let it go as long as it can, without adjusting too much the VPS would be the best option. Shared is cheap, but only satisfactory, while VPS is a bit expensive, yet more powerful. Dedicated of course, is the best solution, but that’s mostly for the bigger budget businesses.