Shared web hosting Vs VPS hosting Vs dedicated servers

Posted by Stanislav Furman  on June 23, 2014

Are you a web developer or/and web site owner? Then you definitely have shopped around for a website hosting!

Unlike 90s and beginning of 2000s when Yahoo! GeoCities was pretty much the only choice, today, there are a lot of choices for web developers: shared web hosting, virtual private servers, and dedicated servers.

So, which Hosting is right for You? Let's compare the 3 main types of hosting.

Shared virtual hosting (SVH)

Shared virtual web hosting - is the cheapest option, but it can satisfy most of web developers in most cases. Especially, if you are looking for a web hosting for a small web site which won't have much traffic, and won't require custom server configuration.

Usually, with shared virtual web hosting you get unlimited bandwidth, unlimited number of parked domains (web sites) and support of common technologies such as LAMP, Python, Ruby, Perl, databases such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, etc. Basically, you get pretty much all you need to run almost any web site!

So, what's behind that? When you sign up for a shared virtual hosting you get some space on a web server, but this web server is also shared with other customers (websites). This means that all websites on this web server share same RAM, CPU, IP address and in fact they're always fighting for those resources. So, during peak hours when web sites on this server get the highest load, the response time of your website may significantly increase. In other words, if your "neighbour" is causing/having load issues, then you get those problems too. Shared hosting - shared problems! Howerver, unlike Virtual Private Server you have access to all hardware resources on the shared server (RAM and CPU), but again you may not get those resources because of "neighbours".

Pros: cheap, ready to use "out of box" with installed OS, modules and software, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited number of hosted web sites (in most cases).

Cons: potential high response time, lack of control over server configuration, may affect SEO because of high response time and shared IP address.

Where to buy: BlueHostDreamHost, JustHost. From my experience JustHost works just fine. Never had problems with them. Strongly do not recommend to deal wtih GD... ;)

Virtual Private Server (VPS)

Virtual private server - is close to both shared virtual web hosting and dedicated server. I'd say it is intermediate option. When you get a VPS, you get a Virtual Machine on a server, but unlike the shared virtual hosting you get guaranteed physical resources such as RAM, CPU and IP address for you VPS. So, you don't fight for resources anymore which is great, right?! Also, in most cases you get root access to your VPS and you are free to install whatever you want when you want.

This option is still relatively cheap (you can get a VPS for 5$/month only) but it gives you freedom in server customization and you can configure your web server according to your specific needs. However, you still share same phisical hardware and if a neighbouring VPS causes hardware issues, it may affect you as well .

Also keep in mind that managing your own web server and OS will require some server administration skills. Luckily, there are a lot of articles and tips about basic server administration in the Web, so you could easily find any needed information. Furthermore, some companies offer managed VPS and provide you with a few hours of technical assistance included to the price.

Pros: cheaper than dedicated (in some cases same price as SVH), more powerful and reliable than shared hosting (if right plan/company chosen and VPS is managed properly), root access and customizable server configuration.

Cons: in most cases requires knowledge about server administration, limited bandwidth, limited storage, limited hardware resources, not as powerful as dedicated .

Where to buy: VultrDigitalOcean, BlueHost. From my own experience Vultr offers pretty good options, and multiple locations around the world for experienced users who has server administration skills, and BlueHost for those who wants to start using VPS out-of-box.

Dedicated server

Dedicated web server - is a rent of an entire phisical server with all its resources. Along with all hardware resources you also get root access to your web server.

This option works for high-trafficed web sites which require more RAM and CPU than VPS can offer. Keep in mind that this is not a cheap option and prices will vary from 80-90$/month to hundreds.

Also keep in mind that managing your own web server and OS will require some server administration skills. Luckily, there are a lot of articles and tips about basic server administration in the Web, so you could easily find any needed information. Furthermore, some companies offer managed VPS and provide you with a few hours of technical assistance included to the price.

Pros: full power performance, access to all server's hardware resources, full control over OS and software installations.

Cons: expensive, requires server administration skills or extra budget for sysadmins, limited bandwidth, limited storage.

Where to buy: BlueHost1&1, DreamHost. From my own experience 1&1 offers pretty good prices and conditions.

Conclusion

If you are running a small web site which doesn't get much traffic and you don't need any server customization, then a shared web hosting will work just fine for you. There are plenty of choice on the market and prices start from 0.99$/month. Just be careful when you choose your hosting provider, read reviews and avoid companies with bad reputation to reduce the risk of having your web site down too often.

If you are running a pretty busy web site or you need some custom configuration of the web server, then you definitely need at least a VPS.

Dedicated server is the option for strong players, who get much traffic and need full power performance.


Leave your comment

Fields with * are required.

* When you submit a comment, you agree with Terms and Conditions of Use.