Web hosting can be a complicated minefield. If you’re not ofay with web hosting or technical language, I completely understand how the subject can be overwhelming. On top of this, there are several different types of hosting to contend with.
Fear not though! That’s why we’re here. As experts in the field, it’s our job to explain everything to you, in simple language that makes sense.
Part of our experience means that we’re researched the web hosting in-depth. We’ve signed up to a multitude of web hosting providers and services to give you the honest low-down of what’s out there.
In this guide, we’re going to look at two types of web hosting: shared hosting and VPS hosting.
Shared hosting is pretty much what it says on the tin. You share space on a web server with other websites. You’ll have your own control panel or dashboard, as do other web hosting customers. Shared hosting is generally the cheapest type of web hosting because you’re sharing a slice of the pie with other people.
Shared hosting is often used for:
- Personal websites
- Small or startup businesses
With VPS hosting, you get more than one slice of the pie. You’ll get more space and be in more control, but the costs do tend to hike up a little bit.
VPS hosting is often used for:
- Small businesses
- Online stores
- Larger sites or personal websites with lots of content
We’re going to take a look at the pros and cons of each type of hosting and outline the best web hosts for them. We’ll also discuss which type of hosting is right for you, and the features and tools you’ll need to be aware of.
It’s time to dive in and begin our guide on Shared Hosting Vs VPS Hosting: What are the Differences?
#1: Shared Hosting Vs VPS Hosting: Pros and Cons
Shared hosting and VPS hosting both have their benefits. Just because one is cheaper than the other, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better. It really depends on what your website requirements are, which we’ll go to in more detail later on.
|Shared Hosting Pros||Shared Hosting Cons|
|✔ Cheap and affordable web hosting from as little as 80p per month||✖ Shared space with other customers so can’t get the best performance|
|✔ Great for beginners and those who are less tech-savvy||✖ Dedicated resources aren’t available|
|✔ Can perform good performance results||✖ More security risks as often applications require you to update them, like WordPress|
|VPS Hosting Pros||VPS Hosting Cons|
|✔ Offers more control||✖ Can be more expensive compared to shared web hosting|
|✔ Still offers good affordability compared to other hosting types||✖ A small amount of technical knowledge is often required|
|✔ Plans are often scalable meaning it’s easier to upgrade your resources||✖ You’ll need to define your storage and bandwidth needs|
#2: Shared Hosting Vs VPS Hosting: Pricing
Before we dive into the technical stuff, I thought it would be worth taking a look at the price differences between shared and VPS hosting.
Like most hosting plans, there are different pricing tiers to check out with both shared and VPS hosting. Generally speaking, the more money you pay, the more resources and features you’ll get in return.
What many web hosting providers do is advertise an initial promotional price. This price is often valid for the first few months or years of your hosting term. It’s worth checking this before signing up to make sure you know what you’re paying, in advance.
I’ve outlined my top 5 web hosting providers that offer shared and VPS hosting, including the price range between the cheapest and most expensive plans available for each host. Please note, the prices below are monthly prices.
|Hosting provider||Shared hosting||VPS hosting|
|SiteGround||£2.95 – £8.95||£48.00 – £144.00|
|BlueHost||£2.23 – £10.56||£15.45 – £46.38|
|Hostinger||£0.80 – £3.45||£3.95 – £29.95|
|HostGator||£2.75 – £4.60||£15.42 – £30.88|
|A2 Hosting||£3.02 – £7.18||£3.86 – £19.28|
If the price is a concern for you, the cheapest shared hosting goes to Hostinger. Hostinger offers awesome response times but isn’t as feature-rich as some other web hosts. You can check out my full Hostinger review here.
In terms of VPS hosting, A2 Hosting is going to be the most affordable option. A2 Hosting is a brilliant web host with a lot of power behind them, as well as offering decent customer service.
If uptime, performance, and customer service are a top priority, my recommended web host for shared and VPS hosting goes to SiteGround. Their pricing plans truly reflect the service they offer, as well as being packed full of useful features and tools.
#3: Shared Hosting Vs VPS Hosting: Resources
Web hosting resources refer to the likes of storage, bandwidth, and memory. These features play a part in how your web server performs, and are essential to any web hosting plan.
As we know, if you’re on a shared hosting plan, you’re sharing space with other customers. Similarly, you’ll be sharing resources too. Some web hosts put a limit on storage and bandwidth because shared resources are never truly unlimited.
With VPS hosting, you’ll still be limited, but not as much. You’ll have more resources as well as more control. Control in this sense refers to root access to your server, which is why we recommend some kind of technical knowledge if you plan on signing up for VPS hosting.
VPS hosting will offer more resources over shared hosting. Whilst pricing plans maybe a little more expensive, the extra resource allocation means you have more control and less to worry about. If another website on the same server space is using up more resources, your website won’t be affected like it is with shared hosting. If you don’t want to rely on others not exceeding their resource allowance, I recommend VPS hosting.
#4: Shared Hosting Vs VPS Hosting: Security
Shared web hosting and VPS hosting are both safe and secure. Hosting providers have somewhat of a duty of care to ensure their security is as good as possible, but this isn’t guaranteed. With shared hosting, you’re sharing a server with other websites, so if they experience a breach in security, your website could be at risk too.
VPS hosting is undoubtedly more secure as you have more control over it. There’s also a higher level of security compared to shared hosting. With VPS hosting, you can apply your own security settings through the root access.
VPS hosting will offer more security than shared hosting as you have more control. Often, hosting providers will offer better security features on VPS hosting plans. Whilst an SSL certificate is a good step forward if you use shared hosting, if you’re dealing with personal data, I’d recommend VPS hosting.
#5: Shared Hosting Vs VPS Hosting: Performance
Once you’ve chosen a web host who offers the right resources and level of security required, you’ll want to consider performance. Performance is the one aspect that will affect your website visitors. If your web server doesn’t perform well, your visitors are going to feel the effects.
How fast your website loads is critical but often a completely ignored element in any online business and that includes search marketing and search engine optimisation. And that includes page load times on mobile devices: The average time it takes to fully load a mobile landing page is 22 seconds, according to a new analysis. Yet53% of visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than three seconds to load. That’s a big problem. Dainial An, Google, 2017
Server speed is a big factor to consider. If your server response time is more than 2-3 seconds, you’re going to notice a difference in the traffic your website receives and your SEO score.
When choosing a web host, it’s vital you research their uptime and speed. Performance matters! There are plenty of tools you can use to check your website’s performance, like GTMetrix, Pingdom, and UptimeRobot.
VPS hosting plans tend to offer more bandwidth and features. A larger level of bandwidth will mean your website can take on more website visitors, without there being a negative effect on your website. However, bandwidth isn’t the be-all and end-all. Some shared hosting providers like SiteGround and Hostinger offer awesome uptime and server response time results.
#6: Shared Hosting Vs VPS Hosting: Configuration
When you sign up for shared web hosting, the server configuration (setup) is all done for you by your provider. Once you login to your account, you’re pretty much ready to go. If you want to install an app like WordPress, you can do so with the click of a button.
However, because it’s all done for you, you have no control over your settings. The limits are set for you and there’s a distinct lack of customisation available.
With VPS hosting, you can choose between a managed hosting plan or an unmanaged hosting plan. Managed VPS hosting is where the provider deals with all the nitty-gritty for you. For beginners or those who aren’t confident with technical settings, this is often the preferred choice.
But for developers or customers who want more control, unmanaged VPS hosting is a great option. Unmanaged VPS hosting gives you the reins to do what you want. As I said, this isn’t recommended for beginners as you need to know what you’re doing.
With shared hosting, the configuration of your server is set up for you. You have no control over the settings and can’t change them even if you wanted. VPS hosting, as we know, gives you more control. Even if you choose a managed VPS hosting plan, you’ll still have more freedom to change things like your resources, which also offers better scalability.
#7: Shared Hosting Vs VPS Hosting: Scalability
In the configuration verdict, I mentioned something called scalability. Scalability helps your website grow as and when it’s needed. Often it’s hard to predict how much traffic your website is going to get, or what resources you will need going forward.
If you know exactly how your website is going to perform, and know it will never exceed, say, 10,000 visits per month, shared hosting is an affordable and suitable option.
However, if you want your webserver to grow with your website, VPS hosting is going to be the better choice. This is why I recommend VPS hosting for small and growing businesses, as you get a lot more flexibility if resources start to get a bit tight.
If scalability is something you’re concerned about, VPS hosting absolutely wins this round over shared hosting. If your shared hosting plan offers you exactly the number of resources and power you know you’re going to need, then it’s a much cheaper option. However, I would rather spend a little bit extra, personally, and have the reassurance that my website can grow without any worries.
#8: Shared Hosting Vs VPS Hosting: Conclusion
By now, I hope I’ve managed to present to you the differences between shared and VPS hosting. Now that your understanding of them is a lot better than when you started, you’ll be able to decide which type of web hosting is best for you.
To save you scrolling through all the information and verdicts again, I’ve put together an overview of shared vs VPS hosting and outlined their main differences.
|Feature||Winner||Shared Hosting||VPS Hosting|
|Pricing||Shared||· Cheap and affordable pricing plans
· Pricing can start from as little as 80p per month
· Often lots of promotional deals and discounts
|· More expensive than shared hosting
· A good middle ground between shared and dedicated hosting
|Resources||VPS||· Resources are shared with other customers
· Dependant on other people sharing the server as to how many resources are left
|· Resources are shared but offer greater control
· You can decide your website’s limits more than shared hosting
|Security||VPS||· Secure web hosting but with less features
· Potential risk if another website on the same server is hacked
|· You are in control of your own security software
· Even if others on the server aren’t protected, you can be
|Configuration||VPS||· Limits are already set out for you
· No option to customise your server settings
|· You have more control over your resource limits
· You can customise your server
|Scalability||VPS||· Not much scalability in terms of growing beyond your resource limits||· Scalability is good
· Your website can grow from a small business to a large enterprise
Although VPS hosting wins most of the rounds in this comparison, it doesn’t mean that it’s not worth considering. Shared hosting is great if you are on a budget, or you’re hosting a personal website or blog.
However, VPS hosting is far more superior than shared hosting when it comes to small or even large businesses and websites. It is more expensive, but not completely out of reach. Pricing is still affordable in my eyes, and you get a lot more for your money.
If security, performance, and scalability are top rating factors for you, I highly recommend VPS hosting.