VPS vs Shared Hosting

Choosing a WordPress hosting plan can feel complicated sometimes. There are a lot of types to choose from, and it can be hard to understand how they’re different from one another. One common question is the distinction between VPS vs shared hosting.

Many websites start out on shared plans, which are typically cheap and uncomplicated. As your site grows, however, you may need more resources and reliability. Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting can offer your site room to expand, without breaking your budget.

In this guide, we’ll introduce VPS hosting. You’ll learn:

  • How it works
  • The difference between VPS vs shared hosting
  • Whether this type of plan is right for you

Let’s jump right in!

What is Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting (and how does it differ from shared hosting)?

Before we get to VPS hosting, let us give you a quick refresher on the most common type of hosting – shared hosting. That will help set the groundwork for how VPS hosting is different!

Almost every hosting provider offers shared plans, and they are usually the cheapest option available. This makes shared hosting a great choice for new sites with small budgets.

When you purchase a shared hosting plan, you rent space on one of the provider’s servers. As the name suggests, this means you’ll be sharing the server with lots of other sites. This is why shared hosting is so inexpensive:

Shared hosting plans from A2 Hosting.

However, there are downsides to this type of hosting. You actually “share” your server’s resources with other sites, which means that if another site has issues, that can spill over to your site (though good shared hosts will try to mitigate this). Furthermore, you can’t customize your server in any way and the security risks are greater than with other types of hosting because infections can spread if your host doesn’t have proper isolation.

For these reasons, many people with shared hosting plans inevitably consider upgrading. While there are a few options, VPS hosting is the natural next step. With a VPS plan, you still share a physical server with other users. However, you get your own virtual environment that’s isolated from everyone else. So instead of sharing your server’s resources, you now have a slice that’s all your own.

You’ll pay a bit more for the privilege, although many VPS plans are still fairly affordable:

VPS vs shared hosting usually means a price increase

VPS is essentially the middle ground between shared and dedicated hosting (getting your own physical server). There are a lot of advantages to this kind of hosting – let’s explore them in depth now.

What are the pros and cons of VPS vs shared hosting?

Every type of hosting has its own benefits and drawbacks. Let’s look at both in regards to VPS vs shared hosting.

First up is shared hosting. Based on our previous discussion, let’s recap the main reasons to opt for this kind of plan or to stay away.

Pros of shared hosting:

  • It’s usually very inexpensive.
  • Getting started is simple, as these plans are geared towards newcomers.
  • You don’t have to configure your server in any way.
  • As long as you choose a reputable provider, you should see solid performance on smaller, low-traffic sites.

Cons of shared hosting:

  • You don’t have resources dedicated specifically to your site – you have to share them.
  • Sharing a physical server means security issues can travel from one site to another.
  • There are usually very few options when it comes to customizing your server’s setup.
  • Your site can slow down when other sites on the same server see spikes in traffic.

So, how does VPS hosting compare? While it has a few things in common with shared hosting, its advantages and downsides are unique.

Pros of VPS hosting:

  • Most VPS hosting plans are still fairly cheap.
  • Your hosting environment is isolated, so other sites aren’t likely to affect your performance.
  • The security risks are lowered (while not eliminated completely).
  • You can often customize your virtual server to meet your site’s specific needs.
  • VPS plans are usually ‘scalable’, which means you can increase or decrease your allotted resources as needed.

Cons of VPS hosting:

  • VPS hosting is nearly always more expensive than shared hosting.
  • You have defined limits for things like RAM and storage
  • You’ll need more technical know-how if you want to tweak your server and manage it effectively.

As you can see, VPS hosting has a lot to offer. In fact, it’s an excellent option for many sites. All that’s left is to decide whether it’s the right choice for your site specifically.

Is VPS hosting right for you?

At this point, you may already have an idea about whether or not you want to try VPS hosting. In case you’re still on the fence, however, let’s make the decision as clear as possible.

If one or more of the following apply to you, upgrading to VPS hosting might be a smart choice:

  • You can afford to spend a little more on your web hosting each month.
  • Your site is using more resources than a basic shared hosting plan can handle.
  • You are seeing an increase in traffic (or expect an increase in the near future).
  • Your traffic levels are unpredictable, and you need the option to scale your hosting up and down periodically.
  • You want to make changes to the way your hosting server is set up, or you just want to learn how to manage your own server.

Once you’ve made the decision to try out VPS hosting, what’s next?

The first thing you’ll want to do is see if your current hosting provider offers VPS plans. It’s easier to upgrade rather than switching providers. Simply contact your host’s support team, and they’ll be happy to help you out.

If that’s not an option for some reason, our advice is to look for a provider that has a solid reputation, is knowledgeable about WordPress, and offers plenty of scalability in its plans.

For more help with this process, you can check out our guide to choosing a quality web host. We’ve also written up plenty of reviews of specific hosting providers, most of which offer VPS plans. Remember, your choice of web host matters just as much as the type of plan you select – so we recommend taking your time and reading up on all the options before making a decision.

Conclusion

The type of hosting plan you choose for your website will have a significant effect on its performance and growth potential. For this reason, you’ll want to know everything you can about your options. While VPS hosting isn’t right for every site, it’s a solid option for many WordPress users.

To recap, here are the major differences between VPS vs shared hosting:

  • Shared hosting: With this type of plan, you get allocated space on a physical server that’s shared between many users. It’s a decent entry-level option, and is sufficient for smaller, low-traffic sites.
  • VPS hosting: These plans are more expensive, but offer a lot more flexibility and control. You’ll be less affected by other people’s sites, you can make changes to your server’s setup, and your site will have more room to grow.
Do you have any questions about VPS vs shared hosting? Ask us anything in the comments section below!
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