You probably clicked on this article for two reasons:
- You’re planning on starting a website and you want to know which web hosting type is for you, or
- You already have a shared hosting plan and you’re thinking of upgrading to VPS hosting
Whichever of the two fits your situation, you’ve come to the right place.
You might be wondering:
“Which is better, shared hosting or VPS hosting?”
How do these two differ from each other?
Today we will be having a head-to-head comparison of shared hosting vs. VPS hosting.
Once you’re through, you’ll know how well these two stacks up against each other in terms of:
- Their pros and cons
- Reliability and Performance
Let’s dive right in!
Don’t have time?
For those of you in a hurry, don’t worry!
We got you.
Here’s a comparison of shared hosting vs. VPS hosting at a glance:
Our overall preferred web hosting type is VPS hosting since it wins in almost all the categories.
VPS hosting gives you dedicated resources and acts as a dedicated server minus the expensive price.
It lets you run your website smoothly so you won’t get caught off guard by spikes in website traffic.
In the long run, you can scale your resources easily with VPS hosting and this includes beefing up your security system.
Plus, VPS hosting lets you hold the reins to configure and customize your website on your own.
But that isn’t to say shared hosting sucks.
Shared hosting wins in terms of pricing since it’s the cheapest web hosting option, therefore perfect for those on a budget.
And if you’re not looking to build a high-traffic website, shared hosting is perfect for you.
Ready to talk about this in detail?
What is Shared Hosting?
Even if you had zero knowledge about website hosting, you can still guess that this type of hosting has something to do with sharing.
Shared hosting works by letting hundreds, and sometimes even thousands, of websites rent a single physical server.
Imagine sharing a dorm room with too many people.
Not only are you sharing room space, but you’re also sharing a single shower and a cramped kitchen.
But you’re staying anyway since you have people to split the cost of the bill with.
The same thing goes for shared hosting.
These thousands of websites all split the cost of renting a single server making shared hosting the most affordable hosting option.
Unfortunately, there are limits to this.
Shared Hosting Pros
Several reasons make shared hosting a great option for you:
- It’s cheap and economical
- Beginner-friendly and easy to set up
- No technical expertise required
Let’s take a closer look at each of these.
Cheap and economical
You won’t have to worry about spending too much just to put up a website.
Shared hosting is the most affordable out of all the web hosting options.
Hosting plans can start for as low as $2.75/month with providers like Bluehost. Sometimes web host providers even slash that price in half for promos.
You get to start one website with storage, bandwidth, free domain, and a free SSL certificate for that price.
Shared hosting doesn’t come with just one plan too, you can add a few dollars to bump your resources.
Go beyond the basic shared hosting plan and you get to start multiple websites instead of just one.
You also get better security plus more storage and bandwidth.
These tiered plans from web hosting providers give you more value for your money.
Beginner-friendly and easy to set up
Maybe you’re coming into this whole website building thing blind.
With shared hosting, you don’t need to do much to get your site up and running.
Your provider will take care of maintaining the backroom of your website for you.
And when it comes to website design, most shared hosting plans come with website builders and pre-installed custom themes.
All you have to do is click a few buttons or drag and drop your website design until it reaches the layout of your dreams.
No technical expertise required
No, shared hosting doesn’t require coding, you can thank your lucky stars.
If you lack the technical know-how about software, this is the best option.
Your shared hosting provider will do all the work for you, you just have to sit tight and focus on your business.
Tech novices and beginners can even use this time to study website customization.
Shared Hosting Cons
Shared hosting sounds like a solid option right off the bat, but what are its disadvantages?
Here are a few you need to watch out for:
- Renewal prices skyrocket
- Resources are limited
- Prone to slow websites
- You can’t tinker around with it
Renewal prices skyrocket
Remember when we said that basic shared hosting plans can start from $2.75/month? That’s the initial price.
Once you’re through with the introductory term, the renewal rates are almost triple what you paid for.
It’s certainly pricey, especially if you haven’t prepared for it.
But compared to other web hosting plans (which also have expensive renewal rates), shared hosting is still the cheapest option.
Resources are limited
Shared hosting is affordable since it’s like pooling with your friends and splitting the cost.
However, you might have saved up on money but you traded it with capped resources.
Storage space, bandwidth, RAM -- all of these are limited for you with shared hosting.
You might see some web hosting providers offer “unmetered” or “unlimited” bandwidth and storage space but don’t be fooled.
The fine print reads that if you exceed certain terms and conditions, you will have to pay extra. Yikes!
Prone to slow websites
Websites hosted on a server like this shouldn’t expect 100% reliability.
Since users are crammed in a single server, shared resources can’t help but get strained.
When one of the websites on your server gets a sudden spike in traffic, that’s going to negatively affect your website.
It could cause yours to slow, lag, or even crash.
And if this happens, you will be leaving a horrible impression on your customers.
Even a few seconds delay will cost you money and precious customer loyalty.
When Should You Go For Shared Hosting?
By now you probably have an idea of whether or not you should host your website with shared hosting.
But in case you’re still unsure, you should go for shared hosting if you need a:
- Budget-friendly web hosting option
- Server that’s enough for low-traffic websites
- Hosting that needs minimal technical knowledge
Ideally, low-traffic websites like personal blogs, websites, school projects, startups, and the like are the best for shared hosting.
Best Shared Hosting Provider - Bluehost
Image via Bluehost
Bluehost is one of the best shared web hosting providers out there.
They have been in the industry for more than two decades and are currently hosting over 2 million websites.
Bluehost has four shared hosting plans: Basic, Plus, Choice Plus, and Pro.
These start at $2.75/month including free domain for a year, one website, 50 GB storage, free SSL certificate, and dozens of customized themes to choose from.
What is VPS Hosting?
Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting also works by letting multiple websites share a single physical server.
However, instead of cramming thousands, the users are fewer and they’re separated by a virtual partition technology.
Websites in these virtual independent spaces get their dedicated resources for storage, bandwidth, RAM, and more.
Unlike shared hosting, you can be sure you get what you need anytime.
So instead of that cramped room you had with shared hosting, you get a room on your own with VPS hosting.
VPS Hosting Pros
Why should you consider going for this type of hosting?
- Powerful value-for-money middle-ground
- Dedicated resources mean you won’t be affected by other websites
- It’s easily scalable and flexible
- You get root-level access
- Enhanced security for all your websites
Let’s check out each point!
Powerful value-for-money middle-ground
VPS hosting is best for those who’ve outgrown shared hosting but don’t have the money for dedicated hosting just yet.
It’s a comfortable middle ground, the best of both worlds in terms of resources and pricing.
The best part about VPS hosting is you get to split the cost of a server with other users but you still get dedicated resources.
It costs a few more dollars than shared hosting but the freedom and legroom to move around are worth it.
You get your own allocation of storage space, bandwidth, cores, and RAM.
Hosting plans start at around $20 to $100/month for the initial rate.
Depending on your web hosting provider, you get a free domain, several cores, huge storage space, unmetered bandwidth, and more.
Dedicated resources mean you won’t be affected by other websites
When your website needs power, you have what you need thanks to dedicated resources.
This makes sure your website remains stable and reliable.
You get to avoid slow websites and downtimes that could cost you some serious dollars.
And since you’ve got all these resources, plus you’re separated from other users with a virtual partition, you won’t be affected by other website’s activities.
Even if your neighbor got a surprise spike in traffic, your website will remain unaffected.
Sounds good? There’s more to love about VPS hosting.
It’s easily scalable and flexible
If you’ve got plans to expand your website in the future, VPS hosting is a good choice.
Suddenly ran out of storage space? No problem!
You can easily scale up anytime you like and in just a few clicks.
And when you need to scale down, that’s going to be a smooth transition with VPS hosting too.
You get root-level access
Here’s another best part about VPS hosting -- you get to tinker around with it.
It gives you the power to configure and customize according to what you need.
Your neighboring websites won’t be affected even if you alter your root-level settings.
So if you’ve got technical knowledge, this is an exciting type of hosting you can play around with.
Enhanced security for all your websites
Since you aren’t sharing a single server with thousands of websites, your website is even more secure.
VPS hosting ups the ante with security.
Aside from being separated from other websites with a virtual partition, VPS hosting plans also offer comprehensive security packages.
You get strong firewalls, malware and virus active scanners, SSL certificates, and more precautions against online threats.
VPS Hosting Cons
So all those advantages of VPS hosting actually sound good. But what should you be cautious about this type of hosting?
- Prepare to shell out cash
- You should have some level of technical expertise
Let’s look at each one!
Prepare to shell out cash
VPS hosting’s price is an advantage and a disadvantage.
Coming from affordable shared hosting plans, this one is a bit of a leap.
If Bluehost’s shared hosting package starts at $2.75/month, its basic VPS hosting plan begins at $18.99/month.
You have to factor in this cost with your budget.
But since VPS hosting is packed with features and great benefits, we say the price is well worth it.
You should have some level of expertise
VPS hosting gives you the freedom to move around but can you maximize it?
The power and space you’ll be handed might go to waste if you don’t know what to do with it.
Managed VPS hosting means someone with the right technical know-how will help operate your website.
But this option is even more expensive than unmanaged VPS hosting.
VPS hosting is best if you have someone on your team who can handle configuring to the root level.
At the end of the day, VPS hosting might have cons but its advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
When Should You Go for VPS Hosting?
Now that we walked you through the pros and cons of VPS hosting, you might be thinking hard if this hosting is right for you.
Ticking off some of these might help you decide:
- You’ve got the budget for it and you can sustain it in the long run
- Your website needs the stability and reliability for moderate to heavy traffic
- You’re thinking of expanding your website
- You want a certain level of control on your server
Best VPS hosting provider - A2 Hosting
Image via A2 Hosting
There are a lot of web host providers that offer competitive VPS hosting options but we find A2 Hosting to be one of the best.
Website stability and reliability are a priority and A2 Hosting has a proven track record in that area.
They have specialized Turbo Servers that help your website operate 20 times faster, a 99.9% uptime commitment, plus a dedicated Guru Crew support for when you get in trouble.
A2 Hosting’s unmanaged VPS hosting starts at $4.99/month while their managed VPS hosting starts at $39.99/month.
Shared Hosting vs VPS Hosting
Now that we’ve discussed the advantages and disadvantages for both, let’s see how they stack up against each other when it comes to:
- Reliability and Performance
At the end of the day, your decision boils down to one question: “How much is it going to cost me?”
There’s a difference between these two, alright.
Shared hosting, as we’ve discussed already, is the cheapest hosting plan you could ever get.
Clearly, it wins this category.
You can start one website for as low as $2.75/month and, if you’re lucky enough to catch promos, you can even slash that price in half.
Of course, this is all thanks to the thousands of other websites pooling with you on that server and keeping the costs low.
VPS hosting needs a bit more cash but the features you get in return are well worth your money.
Here’s a quick comparison of the shared hosting vs. VPS hosting plans of these three providers:
Web Host Provider
If you want to get started with your website whether shared or VPS hosting, you’ll get the lowest possible cost with Bluehost.
But those looking for a faster and more reliable server, A2 Hosting is a great option. For that price, you get Turbo Servers that help speed up your website.
GoDaddy is a great option too especially if you’re planning on building your eCommerce or online site.
WINNER: Shared hosting
Reliability and Performance
The most important thing in building a website is the reliability and performance the hosting can give you.
Reliable websites should load in under three seconds, otherwise, you risk customers clicking away to your competitors.
Yes, it’s that tough!
Shared hosting is reliable enough if you’re a small website getting equally small traffic.
But once your website starts gaining momentum and your traffic picks up, you might have trouble with shared hosting’s stretched resources.
VPS hosting is better than shared hosting in terms of reliability and performance.
You get dedicated resources which mean better storage space, memory, and bandwidth.
When you encounter unexpected traffic spikes, your website will hold up well.
WINNER: VPS hosting
No matter which web hosting option you choose, it’s going to be safe for you and your website.
After all, it’s a host providers’ job to make sure that their customers get the best security.
However, the degree of security does differ depending on your hosting type.
For shared hosting, since you share with thousands of websites, it might not be as secure as you’d like to think.
If one of these websites gets targeted by hackers or accidentally gets malware and viruses into their site, that makes you vulnerable too.
On the other hand, VPS hosting with its virtual partition puts a solid divider between you and other websites.
You won’t be affected by what happens to them.
Plus, you get to fortify your website too, thanks to VPS hosting allowing you to customize and scale your portion of the server.
WINNER: VPS hosting
And speaking of scaling, that could get difficult on a shared hosting plan.
If your website is already reaching moderate levels of traffic, your shared hosting plan won’t hold and your site might crash.
Scalability is best with VPS hosting, especially if you have plans of growing your website in the future.
It lets you easily add to your resources with just a few clicks.
You won’t have to fear your website buckling under a surge in traffic. VPS hosting gives you all the space you need to weather through it.
WINNER: VPS hosting
Shared hosting lets you leave all the configuring and customizing to your web hosting provider.
On one hand, it’s good since you can focus on other aspects of your website especially if you’re a newbie.
But on the other, when the time comes and you want to install your software or customize parts of the server to your need, you won’t be able to do it.
Again, VPS hosting wins in this category.
There are two kinds of VPS hosting: managed and unmanaged.
Managed hosting is much like shared hosting in the sense that you can ignore the website maintenance since someone will do that for you.
Unmanaged hosting is where you’re given free rein. It’s much cheaper but that’s because you have to put in the work.
VPS hosting lets you configure and customize however you want to without affecting your neighbor’s websites.
But that’s only an advantage if you’ve got someone with enough technical skills to work on it.
WINNER: VPS hosting
Overall Winner: VPS Hosting
It’s obvious who takes the cake in this grand head-to-head comparison.
VPS hosting outweighs shared hosting in every category except for the price.
It’s got the reliability and performance you’ll need for websites seeing moderate to heavy traffic.
This type of hosing is also future-proof since you don’t have to worry about running out of resources -- you can upscale anytime.
Here’s a quick summary of what each type of hosting is best for:
Should you upgrade to VPS hosting?
Maybe you’re currently on a shared hosting plan and you know you’re about to outgrow it soon.
Should you upgrade to VPS hosting?
What are the factors you should consider?
First, understand that there will be a huge difference in pricing plans.
If you can afford to pay an extra $20 each month, you should go for it.
Second, ask yourself if you can use VPS hosting’s advantages to its full potential.
While upgrading gives you more room for storage, bandwidth, and memory, can you use all of it?
Unused resources are a huge waste of money and nobody wants that.
Another benefit of VPS hosting is having control over your portion of the server.
If you don’t have the technical expertise or no one from your team does, this awesome advantage is wasted.
Lastly, are you expecting spikes in traffic in the future?
It’s important to plan.
So if you think your website is going to need the power to entertain a huge number of online visitors in the next few months, go for VPS hosting.
Like we said before, the stability and reliability of a website are one of the most important factors to consider.
If your website works properly and loads fast, your customers will be satisfied which, in turn, makes your business better.
VPS hosting and its dedicated resources can make sure you get all the clicks and turn them into conversions.
Upgrading to VPS hosting is something each website owner has to figure out for themselves.
But if you considered the factors we listed earlier, you’re off to a good start.
Other Web Hosting Types You Should Consider
Shared hosting and VPS hosting aren’t the only types of hosting you can choose from. Those are just two of the four main types of hosting.
You might also want to check out dedicated hosting and cloud hosting.
With this type of hosting, you get an entire physical server to yourself.
No website neighbors -- finally!
Dedicated hosting dedicates all of its resources to your business and since these resources aren’t split, you get the most out of everything.
Fast load times, huge storage space for all your heavy files, a bandwidth that can withstand a high surge in traffic, water-tight security, and more.
Plus, you also get to configure to your heart’s (or website’s) content.
That means you can scale up or scale down whenever you please and you can install heavy software or fortify your security.
You can do anything but this freedom comes with a price tag since you aren’t sharing with anyone.
Dedicated hosting usually starts at around $70 to $100/month. A small price to pay if you seriously need the fire-power.
Cloud hosting is the fourth main type of hosting.
You can think of it as the middle-ground that features the simplicity of shared hosting with the advantages of VPS hosting.
As its name suggests, cloud hosting uses ‘the cloud,’ interconnected virtual servers that store your files.
When one of these servers goes down, others can back it up and this makes cloud hosting great for reliability.
Another advantage is that you can pay for resources on-demand.
You only pay for what you use, so no resources are wasted and you save your money in the long run.
Final Thoughts on Shared Hosting vs VPS Hosting
Choosing a web hosting type largely depends on the website you have in mind.
Still confused about which web hosting type to go for?
Ask yourself these questions:
- What kind of website am I building? Is it a personal site, a startup, or an eCommerce site?
- What kind of website traffic am I expecting? Low, moderate, or heavy?
- Do I have plans to upgrade my website in the future?
- Am I comfortable customizing my website? Will I want to customize it down the road?
- What’s my monthly budget?
Depending on your answer, these questions can push you in the right direction of the web hosting you should go for.
When in doubt, shared hosting is always a great way to start.
It’s budget-friendly and it needs the barest technical expertise.
Once you discover what you need, however, you should certainly consider upgrading to VPS hosting.
Not only will you get dedicated resources, but you’ll also be able to control your server and make it your own space.
Remember, no pressure.
If you somehow made a mistake in choosing a web hosting provider, you can always migrate your website.
Besides, we’ll never learn if we don’t make mistakes first, right?
And there you have it!
That’s our comparison for shared hosting vs. VPS hosting.
Let us know which one you’ll be going for in the comments below!
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