If you wish to start a website, you’ll need hosting to make it available online. While shared hosting may be the most well-known type, there is more than just that. For those seeking to run more complex sites or even web applications, shared hosting might not be enough.
That is where plans such as Virtual Private Server (VPS) and dedicated hosting come into play. These hosting types differ in several ways and it’s important for you to understand the difference since their prices aren’t exactly comparable.
One thing to note is that regardless of the plan you choose, you can always decide to migrate to a different one later on. Be aware though, that doing so without incurring penalties such as SEO damage can be a hard skill to acquire.
VPS Hosting Explained
Shared hosting is when your website resides on the same server as others so all will be sharing the same resources. So, if one website consumes a large number of resources, other websites on the same server will have fewer resources available to them.
VPS Hosting is a little different compared to shared hosting. In VPS plans, you are allocated a dedicated amount of memory, bandwidth, and server space which are yours alone to use. VPS accounts split up computer hardware using virtualization technology such as a hypervisor.
This helps single servers manage resources by increasing or decreasing the amount of CPU time, cores, or memory partition sizes that each VPS account can use. Simply put, VPS plans can have their resources scaled easily to meet the changing needs.
VPS hosting is more suited for smaller business websites or large personal websites that require dedicated resources for better performance. They also offer higher security and reliability to handle the increased traffic flows that are likely to be generated.
Dedicated Hosting Explained
When a small slice of a server isn’t enough, your next option is to look towards dedicated hosting. In essence, you get an entire server to yourself. You’re in total control from the get-go and you get an entire server full of resources to yourself.
Dedicated servers come with your choice of everything, from the amount of memory to types and sizes of storage.
You literally have your own hardware box at your disposal. Of course, that means you will need the technical skills to manage it as well.
Dedicated hosting is meant more for high traffic volume sites or those with a more mission-critical element. Because of the prohibitive cost, most websites won’t move to this option unless there are few other choices.
Dedicated vs VPS Hosting
While both services offer low-end and high-end servers, they may come with similar other features. Having said this, there are certain core differences between VPS and dedicated hosting that are worth noting.
With VPS hosting, you’ll be given a fixed set of resources. Whereas with dedicated hosting, you get everything, the resources are all yours. Generally speaking, dedicated hosting will give you higher speeds given that more resources are at your disposal.
If you need more resources for VPS hosting, you can scale up accordingly whereas, for dedicated hosting, you’re pretty much all set with a large number of resources available.
Many would think that on the whole, both VPS hosting and dedicated hosting are similar in terms of security. However, there are some instances where dedicated servers come with better benefits.
Such instances cover cases where companies may have certain restrictions when it comes to data security and integrity requirements. These restrictions do not allow data to reside on the same server as others. In scenarios like these, you may have no choice but to go for dedicated hosting instead.
As you know, your choice of web hosting impacts your website performance. Better website performance translates to higher user satisfaction which means better conversion rates. This equates to higher revenue.
In general, dedicated hosting is equipped with greater resources, so your website will be able to handle huge surges of traffic and load quickly.
Given two servers with the same specifications and assuming everything else is similar, dedicated servers definitely have a performance edge over VPS servers.
Having said this, VPS hosting overall does give a good speed, unless it is running low on its allocated resources, then your website’s performance may suffer.
Scalability is how much your hosting plan can grow with your website. Dedicated hosting is akin to a huge oak tree. You have everything at the palm of your hands; resources, security, and performance, so although you can grow, there’s not much room to scale as you’ve effectively hit a glass ceiling.
VPS hosting is like a budding lil’ tree, there’s much room still to grow. This means that VPS plans give you much better elasticity. You won’t have to consider your end goal too carefully since you can expand to fit your needs.
Price is perhaps the greatest distinguishing factor between dedicated and VPS hosting. The former is typically much more expensive than VPS hosting. After all, you are getting an entire server with massive amounts of resources at your disposal.
VPS hosting can do that as well but on a more manageable scale. Instead of paying for so many resources right from the start, you can choose to pay for only what you require. Once you find your site needing more then the cost will go up incrementally as more resources are added.
Lower-end VPS services can start around $20/month, whereas mid-range ones clock in at around $55/month, and higher-end servers can cost you anything from $120/month or more. Although dedicated hosting is now relatively cheaper than in the past, it is still overall more costly as compared to other hosting types.
A good-quality low-end dedicated hosting can be around $150/month, while mid-range solutions can be around $250/month. Depending on what you need, a completely managed dedicated hosting plan may even cost about $2,500/month, of course, this is usually for websites with huge traffic each month.
Summary of Differences
How to Decide Between Them?
As you can see, VPS and dedicated hosting are very similar in many ways, especially the way they work. Even though multiple VPS accounts exist on each server, they are essentially isolated and behave as a complete server would to their users.
You will still have to set up and configure the same things, from the operating system to the webserver.
While this gives you much more granular control, they both also come with the same expertise needed in handling, unless you opt for a managed hosting plan.
One major difference is that because of the physical integrity of dedicated servers, they might be necessary for certain situations – whether by governance or law. They might also be necessary for more serious workloads, since not all VPS plans will be able to handle excessive traffic.
In those scenarios, you might wish to go for dedicated hosting plans instead. These are considered the Rolls Royce of hosting plans – with a price tag to match.
It is natural to place price as your first and foremost concern. Generally speaking, if your website isn’t generating enough money to cover the costs of a dedicated server, then chances are you’re nowhere near needing one.
VPS plans offer very similar benefits for a fraction of the cost. The best part of this is that you can scale up the plan as you need so there’s little overhead wasted. If you eventually find that costs start matching those of dedicated server plans, then you can choose to migrate.