Shared hosting was created as the ideal solution for people and businesses with small websites and limited budgets that didn’t need, or couldn’t afford, a dedicated server. But shared hosting has been around a long time and technology has moved forward. Now that we have virtual private servers (VPS), users can have many of the features of a dedicated server for just a small increase in the cost of shared hosting. To help you decide whether you should upgrade, we’ll explain the differences between shared and VPS hosting.
Shared hosting is like communal living
If you’ve ever flat shared, you’ll know the advantages of shared hosting. There’s one big house to run and as everybody chips in towards the cost, it’s affordable for everyone. You get your own room and get to share all the other amenities that are available. In other words, you rent out part of the server and share the resources: CPU (processors), memory and disk space, bandwidth, etc. with the other users. This works adequately for the majority of small websites, most of the time, as the speed, storage, bandwidth and reliability you need generally function without a problem.
However, there are potential issues.
Resources spread too thinly
Ever had that experience when the shower turns cold when someone else turns on the hot water? This is one of the primary issues with shared hosting. If someone else on the server is hogging resources, it means there is less for everyone else to use. This can result in your website being slow or even timing out and it can be bad news for your business if your visitors are turning away because of poor loading times or outages.
If you’ve lived in a house where a previous occupant has had a bad credit history, you’ll know that this can negatively affect your own ability to get credit if the address has been blacklisted. A similar situation can arise with shared hosting: if another website on the server has been blacklisted for spam or distributing malicious software, your site and email can end up blacklisted too. This is because it is the IP address of the server which is blacklisted. This won’t happen on a VPS.
Hackers are unscrupulous and for many of them, their intention is to infect as many websites as possible with malware. One of the problems with shared hosting is that it can potentially lead to cross contamination, whereby, one infected file on one website can be triggered to infect other websites on the server.
In most cases, this is limited to your specific account, meaning that if you run several websites on your shared hosting plan, an infection in one can spread to all of your sites. Unfortunately, with some web hosts, badly configured servers can result in cross-account contamination. If this happens, it means that if another person or business’s website on the same server became infected, it could contaminate yours too. As VPS are completely separate servers, there is no possibility of other users contaminating your sites.
The other disadvantage of shared hosting is that in order to share the resources fairly, web hosts need to put limits on certain features, for example, you may have capacity limits for the number of files you upload or storage space; you can also be restricted to a limited number of websites, databases and email accounts. Some hosts may even put limits on bandwidth which could prevent visitors accessing your website, which can be a serious problem if you have seen your traffic grow.
For most small websites, the limitations set on shared hosting accounts are adequate for owners’ needs; however, if website traffic grows or a business needs to use more resource heavy applications, then shared hosting could hold a business back and prevent it having the capacity it needs to meet the owners’ objectives.
Why VPS Hosting?
VPS hosting is the perfect combination of shared hosting’s affordability and a dedicated server’s functionality. This is achieved by partitioning a physical server into several smaller virtual servers that are completely independent of each other, giving you guaranteed CPU, memory and disk space allocations which will all be considerably larger than on shared hosting.
Greater freedom, performance and speed
Another great advantage of VPS hosting is that you have the freedom to host unlimited domains and install custom applications and software. You will also find that a VPS offers significantly better performance to handle resource heavy applications than shared hosting.
In addition, you can also make changes to the server settings, something you cannot do on shared hosting because it would affect all the other customers that share the server. These changes would enable you to carry out functions such as running cronjobs (for importing and updating wholesalers’ product details on your e-commerce site) or enabling mod_deflate to speed up your website’s loading times by compressing data.
Capacity for expansion and peaks
As VPS have much more resources available than shared hosting, for most companies it will mean there will be some redundancy in the system you choose. This makes it an ideal starting point for a website with intentions to grow bigger and ensures that should your website unexpectedly go viral that it has the capacity to deal with far heavier traffic without you having to worry about a reduction in current performance.
Managed VPS solution
To make moving to a VPS environment more user-friendly, you’ll find that a good web host will offer a fully managed service – this will include free setting up and installation of your server, 24/7 support and software updates and patching. You’ll also be provided with a control panel, just as you had on your shared hosting – so the environment in which you manage your new server will be familiar to you.
Virtual Personal Server hosting is the ideal solution for high-traffic websites; growing e-commerce and membership sites and virtual learning networks. It’s also useful for businesses that operate multiple websites and those that need a large number of email addresses and user accounts.
Overall, it offers a low-cost solution for businesses and website owners looking for a more secure web space with higher performance, faster speed and increased storage.
If you are considering upgrading, take a look at our highly affordable, fully managed VPS packages. Our VPS offer blisteringly fast, enterprise-class SSD storage, high-speed DDR4 memory and the latest Intel Xeon processors – all backed up by our highly regarded 24/7 technical support.
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