What is the difference between Shared, VPS, and Dedicated Hosting

There is usually a lot of confusion when it comes to hosting and the difference between Shared, VPS, and Dedicated Hosting. Most of the time when I tell clients that I will host their website on VPS, they just shrug and say ok whatever you think. However, I want my clients to understand the difference between their hosting options and understand the value they are receiving for their investment in a website.

Shared Hosting
So, you might ask, what is my cheapest option? That would be Shared Hosting. Shared Hosting is a popular, inexpensive, entry-level web hosting product, often attractive for small and medium businesses, blogs, portfolios, and websites with moderate amounts of traffic. With Shared Hosting multiple websites (sometimes hundreds or thousands of websites) share a large server and resources, including storage, bandwidth, and disk space. While Shared Hosting, which ranges around $5 to $10 per month, is an affordable option, there are some drawbacks. Shared servers can face some security issues such as being prone to hacking attacks. The other websites on a shared server can also infect your site with viruses or malware. Additionally, if one of the other sites on a shared server has a surge in traffic that ties up server resources, it can cause your website to slow down or crash and that can ultimately affect your website user’s experience. 

VPS Hosting
VPS stands for “virtual private server.” It is a virtual machine or container, meaning that you do not control a physical, dedicated server. This is accomplished with type 1 or 2 hypervisor software (e.g. Virtuozzo or VirtualBox respectively) which divide a physical server into dozens, or even hundreds, of virtual servers. Each virtual server can run its own OS and is allotted a certain portion of the physical server’s memory and storage resources. You have most of the same features of a dedicated server, excluding the ability to modify the kernel. Each VPS hosts its own files, databases, and settings.

If you’re having trouble envisioning how it works, think of townhouses. There is one overall physical structure which is broken down into separate units. While the residents technically inhabit and manage their own areas, none of them have access to anyone else’s personal belongings or living space. With townhouses, there are things that have to be shared such as parking space. The same goes for a VPS. Your data is yours to configure, but some resources are shared with others or restricted to accommodate others within the physical server.

At 34 North, we currently employ VPS Hosting through InMotion Hosting for all of our clients. This allows us to have root access to each account and allows us to handle everything for the client so that they don’t have to worry about anything.

Dedicated Server Hosting
Dedicated server hosting is a top tier option in which clients can rent an entire web server for the exclusive use of a server. This allows a single site to have all of the server resources set aside for that single website. On a Dedicated Server, the web host takes care of the server’s physical needs, providing things like server space, power, security, and maintenance of the server hardware. Everything else is up to the client to configure. On a Dedicated Server, the site owner has the complete ability to set up their server as they wish.

Dedicated hosting is the fastest hosting option, the most secure, and it eliminates all concerns about sharing a server with other users. The client has complete control over everything related to the site. Dedicated hosting is by far the most expensive option and can cost hundreds per month. Dedicated hosting is mainly for larger and more complex sites with large amounts of traffic or websites that contain sensitive data. This kind of hosting provides full control over the server settings and the content that is hosted on the server.

Article By: Jesse Williams
Sources of information from InMotion Hosting, BlueHost, Tech Radar


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