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Differences between Shared Hosting, VPS Hosting, and Dedicated Hosting

With all the different types of hosting available, it can be confusing as to which one is right for you. Do you choose shared hosting, a VPS, or a Dedicated server? In this article we will cover the basics of the different types of hosting plans so you can find which type is the right one for you.

Hosting Platform Analogies

Shared Hosting
Shared Hosting includes Business Class Hosting Plans. Shared Hosting is very similar to living in an Apartment Complex. All residents are in the same location and must share the available resources with everyone.These may include such things as the pool, parking lot, and play ground. In shared hosting, all accounts must share the available resources with all the other accounts on the server. These include CPU time, memory, and disk space. Want to compare shared hosting?

VPS Hosting
VPS Hosting includes  VPS Hosting Plans. VPS Hosting is similar to owning a Condo. While you still share things on the property, you are ultimately responsible for maintaining your own property and repairs inside the condo. There is also significantly less residents per building and assigned parking. On a Virtual Private Server, you are allotted resources that are not shared by everyone. The over all CPU time and memory are shared across all accounts on the machine, but at the same time portions of those resources are always dedicated to each account. This allows for more power and flexibility than being on a shared account.

Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated Hosting can be compared to owning a house. You are allowed and have access to all resources available on the machine. No one else’s account resides on the machine (your house) and would not be capable of tapping into your resources.

Now that you know a little bit more about hosting, which is right for you? A VPS or dedicated server? Click here to learn more about which is right for you.

Server Resources

(When is it time to move to a Condo or take the big step to home ownership?)
Regardless of which type of hosting you choose, your website will reside on a web server. When someone visits your page, the server’s CPU and Memory will work together to send that visitor the page they requested. There are cases in which your website may use too much CPU or Memory to server those pages, and that is the time you will need to upgrade your account.

Apartment living to Condo living

Upgrading from Shared to VPS Hosting

Shared accounts are great for most users. You can host all sorts of applications (such as WordPress or Joomla), and there are plenty of email accounts to go around. If you compare Shared Hosting to Apartment living, possible times for upgrading may include:

  1. A Growing family: If your family grows more than what your apartment can handle, then it may be time to move up. For example, you may need another bedroom or an extra bathroom for the kids. Moving to a Condo can give you that extra bedroom / bathroom that you need. In shared hosting, if your website becomes popular, you may need to upgrade to VPS Hosting for more CPU and Memory for your account. This will allow you to handle all the new traffic coming to your site.
  2. Customizations: If you love the color red and want to paint your walls red, you may not have permission (being in an apartment) to paint any walls. Moving up to a Condo gives you more ownership of your space, allowing you to paint and decorate however you choose. If you require software that is not available in Shared Hosting, Upgrading to VPS hosting will allow you to install any software that you would like!

Condo Living to Single Family Home Living

Upgrading from VPS Hosting to Dedicated Hosting

Keeping with the Condo analogy, you have a lot of control, but you don’t have complete control. If you invite a band to play in your living room, others in the Community are going to hear the noise and may complain. If a friend / relative needs to move in with you, you’re not going to be able to build an addition to help accommodate them. There are many reasons that a Condo was great for you at one point in your life, but you’re at the point where you have a big family and there’s a lot going on every day. You may decide to buy a single family home, where you’ll have plenty of parking, extra bathrooms, and a big back yard to play with the dogs.

VPS Servers are great for mid sized businesses. You have a virtualized private server in which you can setup and tweak exactly the way you need to. You can host an unlimited number of websites, and there are really no restrictions, other than your usage of your server’s CPU time and memory. A VPS Server is not a Dedicated Server, so you are still on a server with other users. As you’re sharing a server, your actions can still affect other users. If you have a very busy website, dominating the server’s CPU time and memory could cause performance issues with other users on the same server. If you are running an unoptimized script that runs out of control, it can disrupt not only your site, but could affect the whole server. This can and possibly cause downtime for others users on the same server.

Server Administration: What’s the landlord up to?

System Administrators should monitor all of shared servers 24 hours a day every day. Their  job is to make sure that all servers are in tip top shape! If They notice someone that is in a Condo, but their loud music is bothering others, The Admins should politely ask them to turn down the volume so they don’t wake the neighbors. If they love their loud music and can’t part with it, The admins should work with them and actually help them move into a House!