vps servers vs shared hosting vs dedicated servers

VPS vs Shared Hosting vs Dedicated Servers. What’s the right option for me?

10 min read

Have you ever wanted to start your own business? Or maybe you’ve decided that you’d like to pursue your hobbies and begin publishing a travel blog? Regardless of your intentions, in order to get your online (ad)venture started, you are going to need to get yourself some hosting.

As with anything else, picking the correct hosting type can be quite a daunting task, especially if you are new to this Web ‘stuff’ and have no prior experience! But you shouldn’t worry! In fact, picking the correct server type is quite easy, you just need to think about your idea and where you are right now and where you’d like to be in a couple of years!

In this article, we are going to go over the 3 most popular hosting options - shared hosting, virtual private servers and dedicated servers, revealing their hidden advantages and potential drawbacks! So sit tight and get ready to learn more about each hosting alternative so that you can easily choose the best type for your needs!

Shared Hosting - Cheap, Reliable & Beginner-Friendly

Shared hosting is the most popular type of web hosting and for a good reason. It's affordable, easy to use and reliable. But why is that?

Ever stayed in a dormitory? Shared hosting is pretty much the same thing! You share amenities, rooms and everything else with others (whether you like it or not). Let’s say that you have your own room in the dorm, which will essentially be your own website. However, if you wish to use the kitchen, the shower or the TV in the living room, you are going to have to check if no one is using those. These amenities are the exact same thing as the server’s resources - the processing power (CPU), the active memory (RAM) and the storage (SSD).

This is where the name shared hosting comes from - the fact that you need to share resources with other websites and projects that are on the same server. This means that if one website gets a lot of visitors in a short period of time, it is going to consume more server resources, leaving some of the other websites (including yours) starving, which is less than perfect for longer periods of time.

Not only that but it can also damage your website’s rankings as it can quite slow your website’s loading speed, cause lag and lead to frustrated users, which are going to click away, resulting in a higher bounce rate and unhappy search engines (and you never want that)!

Having already exposed the negative aspects of shared hosting, as we already said, there is a reason why it remains the most popular hosting option out there, so there must be benefits to it as well, right?

In fact, yes, there are quite a few features that make it such a good choice. Firstly, it’s ultra cheap. A shared hosting plan can get as low as $1 depending on the resources that you need and the provider of course.

This means that it can be the perfect option if you’d like to just test out the water and get a feel for how a particular idea of yours would run if you decided to go along with it. This makes it so that you can pack your bags and leave at any time if your idea happens to fail and you wouldn’t have spent that much on hosting so you probably won’t be as disappointed.

Additionally, it also allows for you to set up a bunch of testing environments, run some tests and figure out stuff that you’d need to know before launching a full version of your website or project. It can also help you understand your audience and tailor your website or project to their needs.

And yes, cutting costs is a very huge benefit, but who exactly is shared hosting going to be a good option for?

Who would benefit the most from shared hosting?

In terms of applications, shared hosting can be quite beneficial for those who are just starting out and don’t have any technical experience with managing servers, databases, files or their own website. They are also a good option for smaller websites, local stores as well as for providing informational content.

Small Businesses & Hosting Beginners

As we already mentioned, shared hosting is a perfect option to allow your ideas to sprout in the online digital space. Moreover, it’s also fantastic for small businesses that need to take their presence online and expand it in the virtual world. This makes it a very suitable choice for not only personal ventures, but also for start-ups and local businesses that don’t have a large inventory or that don’t offer a lot of services, but are looking to expand in the future.

Shared hosting is also a fantastic option for most people who are new to the field. This is because most hosting plans come equipped with a wide range of additional extras such as 24/7 customer support, easy email setup, user-friendly control panels and even some site builders or content management systems like WordPress, Drupal or Joomla.

All of these make it really easy for people to start setting up a website in a matter of minutes due to the fact that everything is intuitive and organized in terms of user interface, options and menus. With the constant technical support, you can also always rely on the provider to help you set up or manage any additional software that you’d like to have on your server.

Personal Websites & Blogs

Similarly to the things we mentioned above, shared hosting is also a great option if you are going to be creating your own personal website like a portfolio or a blog due to the flexibility that you can get for a very cost-effective price. You can also always take advantage of content management systems that feature many plugins that you can easily install in order to elevate your personal project.

Generally speaking, such websites don’t require that much processing power and resources, making shared hosting a good and viable alternative to some of the other hosting types that we are going to be covering in this article. If you are going to be mostly relying on text and a few images, then the resources that you are going to need to host your website are not going to be that much, meaning that you can easily get a cheaper shared hosting plan and save a lot in the long run. Just remember that if you are going to be utilizing features such as interactivity and animations, you are going to need some extra power, which means that you might need to go for a more expensive plan.

If you also reach a point where you have a substantial number of daily visitors and your content is trending, then you might have to switch over to another server type so that you can accommodate your traffic without having to worry about the effects of having a resource-starved website!

Virtual Private Servers - the best of both worlds

VPS, short for virtual private server, is a hosting type that utilizes virtualization technology in order to run multiple virtual machines on one single physical unit. This means that each VM has its own share of resources in the form of a slice from the physical server.

Confused? You shouldn’t be! Let’s go back to the dorm analogy from earlier on, but this time instead of having to share your amenities with others, imagine that you are living in an apartment building (which some of you might already be doing). The building itself has 10 apartments and each one has its own private bathroom, living room, kitchen and bedroom. Even though you live with other people, you have your own personal space. This is exactly what a VPS is - an isolated virtual machine on a server that hosts a number of them.

The difference here when compared to shared hosting is that virtual private servers have reserved resources which means that VMs can’t actually utilize other virtual machines’ resources. This means that your server’s resources are there to only serve you so you shouldn’t be fazed by other people’s traffic.

As you might tell, this ensures better performance, stability and flexibility. Additionally, while more expensive than shared hosting, it offers much more in terms of features and overall control over your server, which some might find quite useful. Previous experience is not essential if you are considering going for a VPS, however, it is preferable as some hosting providers won’t have built-in support that can cover all of your needs.

This is why it is crucial to know that there are 2 types of VPS hosting - managed and unmanaged. Managed VPS hosting comes equipped with 24/7 support, monitoring, additional help for setting up and operating your server, whereas unmanaged VPS hosting is essentially your empty canvas, allowing you to do anything you want with your server. Undeniably, this is the more powerful and customizable option, but you do need to keep in mind that you have to know what you’re doing in order for it to work successfully. And while there is also support for the unmanaged hosting, it’s mostly to resolve any technical issues.

What makes VPS servers the ultimate choice?

As we already mentioned, you get a lot more from your server for a slightly higher hosting plan price. However, there are also other reasons why you need to consider VPS servers.

Server Scalability

Just like dedicated servers which we are going to be focusing on in a bit, virtual private servers are quite flexible, allowing you to upgrade or downgrade your server plan based on your needs. But what does that mean? You can essentially get more resources for your server if you need them and you can also give back resources that you aren’t using in order to save money. To put it simply, with a VPS you can easily add more resources and don’t have to worry about any performance issues. You can also downgrade and save money, while accommodating traffic drops.

This makes VPS hosting a suitable choice for websites and businesses that see a large increase in traffic and user visits during specific times of the year like seasonal businesses - travel agencies, clothing stores, ecommerce platforms and others, or during certain events such as concerts, festivals or sports tournaments.

Dedicated Resources

Due to the virtualization technology, you get the option of having dedicated resources for your server that you don’t need to share with others hosted on the physical instance. Not only that but you can also get a virtual dedicated server as well, which are VPS servers with dedicated CPU cores to ensure even better performance.

Operating Systems

When it comes to VPS servers, you get a wide selection of operating systems as they support a substantial amount of Linux distributions like Debian, Fedora, Alma & Rocky, Ubuntu and others. If you are going to be getting a server with Linux and you are not sure about which OS you should go for, here is a short guide to some of the most popular distros:

  • Ubuntu - popular, has a large user base and community
  • AlmaLinux, RockyLinux & CentOS - compatible with RHEL
  • Debian - stable, free and entirely open-source
  • openSUSE - innovative, has many features, supports different hardware
  • Fedora - upstream development, modern

Additionally, you could also get your cloud server with Windows Server, which can be incredibly useful for beginners due to the familiar user interface and added security. Some people even prefer Windows due to the branding alone, which has quite a reputation. Not only that but there is also additional software like Office 365 and RDS, which also help you manage your website by offering an established set of tools and fully remote access.

Additional Features

Due to their flexibility and scalability, virtual private server hosting plans also come with a number of additional features that you wouldn’t get with shared hosting. Examples of some extra benefits include unlimited traffic and server snapshots which can both be useful for larger and smaller websites.

There is also the ability to convert your VPS into your own private VPN server with the help of an open-source VPN protocol like WireGuard for example. This can help you save resources and keep you safe online while ensuring that zero logs are stored, which is something that large VPN providers might not always offer.

Additionally, there are also VPS servers that come equipped with popular applications like WordPress or CyberPanel, allowing you to save time and start developing or working on your projects immediately, without having to go through the tedious and boring process of having to set up each application.

Who are VPS servers suitable for?

Given all of the things that we said about VPS servers, it is evident that they are a fantastic choice for all kinds of websites and projects.

They are ideal for seasonal businesses as well as for larger and smaller websites. They can work well as an online platform for local stores, but they are also a great choice for larger institutions like governments, banks as well as for ecommerce platforms, large stores and global corporations. Although powerful, this doesn’t mean that you can’t use VPS servers for your personal blog, making them the most versatile and cost-effective solution on the market.

Dedicated Servers - Powerful, Secure & Fully Independent

When it comes to the best of the best, you can always rely on a dedicated server. Also referred to as bare-metal servers, these instances are equipped with powerful hardware and can run anything from large ecommerce stores to AI-learning algorithms and data processing tools.

If shared hosting was a dorm and VPS servers were an apartment building, then dedicated servers are essentially your own house that comes with a large backyard, a pool and a garage for your cars!

Due to their incredible flexibility and fully independent resources, dedicated servers are the go-to option for many businesses that need to evaluate and present data in a quick and timely manner for many users at once. Having the luxury of such resources, however, does come at a significant cost, making dedicated servers the most expensive option on the market, which is why it is usually employed by large corporations and global businesses.

What can dedicated servers accommodate?

Having already talked about some of the things that dedicated instances can handle, it’s worth reiterating that they offer the most in terms of performance, the best security and the highest level of granular control. But there are also other benefits that make them the most suitable option for websites with or that need the following.

High traffic

Dedicated instances are capable of handling large volumes of traffic without having to sacrifice performance, making them an ideal alternative if you intend to host an online store, a news website or anything similar to a social media platform as they can load information and pages quickly, while also providing better user experience with lower loading times and much smoother interactivity.

Security & Regulations

Dedicated servers, similarly to virtual private servers, are very secure. Not only that, but you also get full control over your server’s security profile and configuration, meaning that you can manually ensure that everything is set up correctly, which can limit the chances of any leaks or breaches occurring.

Consequently, this makes them a very good option for websites and organizations/businesses that are going to be dealing with personal data like ecommerce websites or financial institutions. These websites are required to comply with some of the strictest security regulations such as the HIPAA, PCI DSS and Europe’s GDPR, meaning that dedicated instances are a top-notch choice.

Scalability & Reliability

Similarly to VPS servers, dedicated instances are also scalable, meaning that you can easily upgrade or downgrade your hosting plan in order to accommodate changes in traffic and any other fluctuations if you wish to save some money, which also makes them a great option for larger seasonal businesses or platforms that spike in traffic for a short time of the year like travel agencies, ticket selling companies or seasonal shops.

Finally, these servers also come with all of the benefits of VPS hosting as well as constant 24/7 support to ensure that everything runs smoothly and that any issues are resolved as quickly as possible. Additionally, there are also extra options for more bandwidth, resources and software that you can also get in order to accommodate your needs.

What is the best hosting option?

Having covered all 3 options, here’s an overview of all 3 types:

Shared Hosting

  • Good option for beginners
  • Cheapest
  • Has some level of support
  • Comes with a control panel
  • Ideal for small blogs, local stores and smaller websites that don’t require much resources

VPS Hosting

  • Great for beginners and for more versed users
  • Comes as managed and unmanaged type
  • Has a number of additional features
  • Scalable
  • Flexible
  • Most cost-effective option

Dedicated Servers

  • Most powerful
  • Fully individual
  • Scalable
  • Flexible
  • Most expensive
  • Constant support
  • Most control

In general, VPS hosting is the most optimal choice from all 3, being able to accommodate all types of websites and projects at an affordable price. It also comes with a wide range of operating systems and additional software to help you start your online adventures.

If you wish to save money or you are new to hosting, get a shared hosting plan. It’s also the perfect option for smaller websites, personal blogs and local stores that don’t have to utilize many resources and don’t have many website functionalities. Travel or cooking blogs are something that you should definitely consider.

If you are going to need a lot of processing power, security and reliability then you should consider getting a dedicated server.

shared hosting vs vps vs dedicated servers

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Join 5000+ subscribers and receive helpful content, deals and more! We promise no spam - 100% great content. Unsubscribe anytime.

Grab a powerful VPS server today!

Payment methods we accept:
Lightning Network (Bitcoin)
Credit card
Bank transfer