The Differences Between Shared, VPS and Dedicated Hosting


Finding the right web hosting for a blog can be tricky business. Shared hosting is an affordable starting point while a virtual private server (VPS) offers more freedom and control over the hosting environment. Dedicated hosting is for large, successful sites that need to scale millions of page loads. This article will explain the different types of hosting by comparing them to housing.

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is the starting line for the majority of websites. With this type of hosting, the resources of a server are split among many accounts. Think of it like renting a room in someone’s house. There is a small personal space, but the rest of the home’s amenities are split between a number of people. On a shared server, users have a small room for their website but must share the RAM, CPU, and bandwidth with all other accounts.

The advantages of using shared hosting are:

  • A control panel that allows for easy account management
  • One-click installation of popular scripts such as WordPress
  • Affordability

The drawbacks of using a shared host are:

  • Abuse of resources by other users
  • No root access and very few customization choices
  • Blacklisted server IP addresses that interfere with mail services and SEO rank

VPS Hosting

The next level up in hosting is a VPS. In housing terms, this is like moving from the rented room to an apartment. While the user must still share some resources, that person now has their own dedicated living space and more freedom to customize. In VPS terms, this means the user is sharing the parent server, the network, and the power source. A VPS can be managed where the service provider takes care of setup, security, and upgrades, or unmanaged where the user is responsible for those things, including restarting the server if it crashes.

The pros of having a VPS:

  • Affordable when compared to the price of a dedicated server
  • An easy upgrade when a site becomes more popular and requires more resources
  • Dedicated RAM and memory along with an operating system of choice
  • Root access and can be run from the command line with no need for a control panel

The cons of having a VPS:

  • More costly than using shared hosting
  • Possible resource conflicts regarding memory or load on the server

Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated hosting is when all the resources on a server are being utilized for one site. This can be compared to moving from an apartment into a single family house. As the saying goes, there is no place like home, especially when everything in it is meant for one person’s use. In server terms, the user is all alone and does not have to share hardware, bandwidth, CPU or memory. Like the house, the server is located in a neighborhood called a datacenter. If something happens a few servers away, it will not have an effect on the user’s site. The only way a problem could arise is if the datacenter itself experienced a loss of power or some other dire situation such as a fire or a flood.

Dedicated hosting provides the following benefits:

  • Exclusive use of server resources
  • Root access with the option of adding a control panel
  • No restrictions on sending email
  • Large resource pool for sites with high traffic
  • User has total control of the server
  • Disk space and memory can be increased as needed

Dedicated hosting drawback:

  • It is very expensive
  • It requires a great deal of technical knowledge and expertise for proper management

In many cases, a new blog can be hosted on a shared server until it begins to gain traffic and popularity. At this point, moving up to a VPS is the next natural step. Using VPS hosting can provide the user with valuable experience in server management while allowing room for more growth. When the site is faced with scaling issues once again, a dedicated server will keep it online while serving thousands of pages per minute. The best practice is to always anticipate the growth of a blog and upgrade the web hosting accordingly.

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