Are you looking at a new hosting plan for your website? Have you narrowed the choices down to VPS hosting or a dedicated server? Well, before you decide on a new hosting solution, there’s one important question that needs answering: Is an upgrade actually needed?
When you first get a website up and running, this is typically done via shared hosting. This is mainly for one simple reason: it’s the cheapest option. However, it is also the most limited option. If your website has surpassed the RAM, CPU cores and storage space offered by shared hosting – or you’re expecting that to happen in the near future – it’s time to switch to a more appropriate plan. After all, if your website starts suffering from reduced performance, this will hamper the user experience for your audience – an audience which will dwindle with every error or slow page that is slow to load.
If you’ve now decided, ‘Yes, I need to upgrade my website host’, read on for an examination of both VPS hosting and dedicated servers.
A look at VPS hosting
Out of the two choices in this article, VPS hosting is the most similar to the aforementioned shared hosting. This is because, with VPS, multiple websites share and utilize the same resources found on a single physical server. However, despite the similarities, VPS is superior in almost every way to the shared alternative. Well, except for cost and administration duties, which are often your responsibility.
As for VPS setup, a web host uses software – often hypervisor – to create a number of individual virtual machines on a server. This means that, although the resources of the server are ‘shared’, there’s a distinct separation, which means you’re protected from your website neighbors. In addition to this, the allocation of resources is divided evenly – no website can sample another’s resources, and this rule goes for everyone on the server.
So why is VPS hosting an upgrade on the shared variety? Well, it’s important to remember that VPS servers are much less ‘populated’ than their shared alternative, which means they are more powerful as a result. The more powerful the server, the better a website performs in terms of speed and reliability.
Another big advantage of going down the VPS road is scalability. Due to the customizable nature of VPS hosting, it allows you to quickly scale on the fly. This is particularly vital when needing to meet bandwidth demands if your website hits a surge in visitors. Because of the versatility of VPS, you can also install and set up a robust selection of safety features only available through this form of shared hosting.
A look at dedicated servers
As the name implies, a dedicated server is all yours in the sense that it only serves your website. No other sites share the resources of the server. You are, in essence, provided with an empty server, one which you can fill with whatever you want.
With this being the case, it should come as no surprise that this form of hosting is the most customizable. Web hosts will, typically, offer numerous physical server configurations to match the various needs of website owners. However, some hosts will allow you the flexibility of building a server that lines up with your exact specifications.
The customizable nature of dedicated servers doesn’t stop there. As the server is there to modify and personalize in whatever manner you see fit, you are not only free to select the hardware. You also have full control over what software to install. This includes everything from security features to the operating system.
At this point, you’re probably thinking one question: What’s the catch? After all, a dedicated server isn’t restricted by sharing resources with other site owners, and it’s fully customizable. Surely it’s the best of the best? Well, this type of setup does come at a cost – literally. You can be looking at spending three figure numbers each month when renting a dedicated server, with certain options going all the way to $300+. A further disadvantage is that you need to know quite a lot about servers and computers in order to use this form of hosting.
Now that both VPS hosting and dedicated servers have been examined, and their pros and cons listed, it is time to compare the two.
First of all, let’s examine the biggest factor for many: cost. While VPS is more expensive than shared hosting, it is generally a lot cheaper than utilizing a dedicated server. Some of the cheapest VPS packages can be found for only a few bucks a month, whereas low-end dedicated servers are usually ten times that price. Admittedly, VPS servers can also bat in the $100+ range, although this is for the true high-end packages.
As far as security is concerned, both are among the best available. Because your website is hosted in its own separate space, there’s no fear of anything your web neighbors are doing. For instance, if you are on a shared host server and one of your neighbors is unfortunate enough to be hit with a DDoS attack, it is likely this attack will also harm your site. With either a dedicated or VPS plan, there’s little chance you’ll have any such issues. As such, dedicated servers have a security edge due to being an individual entity.
Another aspect to consider with both plans is customer service. Due to their elevated costs, you should expect the first-rate service if you use either dedicated or VPS hosting. Obviously, this depends on the specific features supplied by a particular host, but round-the-clock support and hosts willing to assist with every concern should come as standard. As a premium customer, you should expect premium service.
So ultimately, which is the better option? Well, sorry for the boring approach, but the answer depends on your specific needs. If you want a significant upgrade from shared hosting that is still in the affordable bracket, is more secure and has all-around increased productivity, VPS is the pick. If you are running a large website that needs additional scope and customizability compared to VPS, then choose a dedicated server.