Browsing posts tagged "shared hosting"

Choosing Shared or VPS Hosting

February 6th, 2012 @ 10:30 am

A lot of newcomers to the world of website hosting are intimidated by the amount of choices presented when shopping around for the best solution, and they often make an uneducated decision that they later regret because they weren’t familiar with the needs of their website. Luckily, it’s easier than you probably think. To pick the right host for your situation, all it takes is a little evaluation and foresight to find out what your needs are.

Generally speaking, Shared plans are more suited for small personal sites that won’t get major traffic surges and don’t have complex requirements for custom scripts and applications. VPS (or Virtual Private Server) hosting is best for more advanced users that want to have total control over their virtual server and its features, it’s more suited for larger websites or networks where a dedicated server and IP is necessary.

However, there’s no way to know which one is best for your setup without first identifying the differences between them.

The differences between Shared and VPS Hosting

Each web hosting provider offers a slightly different set of features for their plans, but the following notable differences are true for almost every host.

Resources

Shared plans have your site hosted on a server that also hosts many sites for other users as well- hence the resources are ‘shared’ between all sites on the server. In order to regulate this setup the host imposes ‘soft’ limits to how many resources you can use at once so that the hardware isn’t overloaded. This is why shared hosting has a hard time with big traffic spikes and heavy resources usage, you aren’t the only site using the server hardware and the amount of resources available depends on those other sites.

VPS hosting plans offer the same resource configuration that a dedicated server would in that you are allocated a static amount of resources to work with and you don’t have to worry about sharing them with anyone.  This is inherently scalable and you can purchase a plan that’s suitable for a low-end email server or a high-traffic database application, but you have to know what your site is expected to use before you set it up.

Customizability

On a shared plan you are at the mercy of the provider as far as features and settings go, you’re usually given a control panel backend on a single Linux or Windows OS and that’s that. You usually don’t have certain services and technologies available that may be required for certain complex tasks.

On a VPS you get to decide everything, you can use any Operating System and install any services you want. This of course requires that you have knowledge of how a server works and know what you need and what you don’t, but if you do your research you can have everything you need setup without any limitations as far as software goes.

Security

The word ‘Private’ isn’t in the term VPS for nothing- a VPS setup is simply more secure than a shared one by default because no one else is using the same operating system instance as you and your file system is completely independent. As the administrator of the server you also have far more control over your security configuration, allowing you to set up firewalls and other security features that aren’t normally available for shared accounts.

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