Your hosting provider plays a central role in the distribution of your online content. Without a reliable web hosting service, your ability to reach your audience online is dramatical, if not completely ruined.
The host that you end up with must scale and adapt to your business needs. This is not a decision to take lightly.
There are many server options to choose from, and it can be quite convoluted if you aren’t tech savvy. From a professional or enterprise setting, you will likely stay away from shared hosting.
Your decision will come down to one of two choices: Virtual Private Server (VPS) or a Dedicated Server.
Is It Time to Upgrade Your Hosting Plan?
One of the first things you should consider is upgrading the type of hosting you are using. If you are still working with that shared hosting plan you got when you were just starting out, it is probably time to think about shifting to a VPS plan (or even a dedicated server).
In this article, we will take a closer look at both VPS hosting and dedicated server hosting. We will cover their similarities and differences so that you can decide which option is best for you when you upgrade.
What is a Virtual Private Server?
A VPS hosts the information of many clients on a single physical machine. But unlike shared hosting, it uses a hypervisor to separate tenants.
The VPS is known as a Virtual Private Server as all clients on the server appear as if they were on a separate dedicated machine. The VPS simulates this environment, cutting down on resources and cost.
Virtual private servers differ from shared servers through software and their availability of resources. Although, the structure of both is physically similar.
What is a Dedicated Server?
A dedicated server is, by definition, associated with a single client.
The client has access to the full range of resources on the physical server. This includes all network access, hard drive storage capacity, memory, and processing power.
VPS vs Dedicated Hosting: Which Should Your Business Choose?
Generally speaking, you will be choosing a hosting plan based on:
- The number of CPU cores (more = faster)
- How much RAM you want
- How much storage/disk space you need (as well as whether you want a faster SSD or a cheaper traditional option)
However, the resource allocation on a server is just one aspect to consider. You will also need to consider how many websites and blogs are allowed to use the server’s resources.
Option 1: VPS Hosting Is Virtually Private
Like virtual reality, Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting feels almost like having your own little world. VPS is similar to shared hosting in that multiple websites share the resources present on a single physical server. However, the difference between dedicated and VPS hosting are the restrictions placed on who can use the resources.
The web host uses a hypervisor, or software designed to create individual virtual machines on the server. This strict separation protects you from your neighbors, though all of you are still accessing a “shared” pool of resources (remember, though, that the server is likely to be more powerful and less “populated” than one used for shared hosting).
Furthermore, the resource allocation is divided evenly, and one website cannot take advantage of another’s resources (and vice versa). Think of it like owning a condo. Everyone can decorate their home to their own satisfaction — but they can’t knock down walls and take over their neighbor’s living room.
Option 2: Dedicated Servers Are All Yours
Dedicated servers are, as their name implies, servers that are wholly dedicated to serving your blog (and your blog alone). You are basically given an empty server, and you can put whatever you want on it.
Generally speaking, web hosts will offer several physical server configurations from which you can choose, though some will let you build a server that matches your specifications exactly.
A dedicated server contrasts sharply with a shared plan (where you have little to no control over your server environment) and a VPS option (where you have some control over your environment, but there are still limitations placed by your web hosting provider). Just as you choose the hardware you get, you have 100% control over the software that is installed onto your server.
It will be no surprise to you that VPS plans are cheaper than dedicated servers. When a web host can put multiple customers on a single server, they can charge less to each customer.
We have mentioned that one of the perks of upgrading from a shared hosting plan is to get full control over the software involved. One of the biggest decisions you will have to make is with regards to the operating system that is installed. Though you have choices, the number of choices you have are still somewhat limited — Linux and Windows options are common, while Macintosh is unheard of.
Generally speaking, opting for Windows hosting will result in higher hosting fees. That’s because Linux is open-source and free to use, while Windows needs to be licensed from Microsoft for use.
We’ve spent a lot of time in this article talking about the flexibility and performance offered by VPS and dedicated plans, but there’s another reason why you should consider these options: security.
In short, having your website hosted in its own space means that you do not have to worry about what your neighbors are doing(or what others are doing to your neighbors). For example, if you are on a shared hosting plan and your neighbors are the recipient of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, well, that attack will likely affect your site as well. With VPS or dedicated plans, there’s little likelihood that your neighbors will get you into any trouble.
However, if you have a heightened need for security, dedicated servers have the edge since they’re physically islands unto themselves.
VPS and dedicated plans are likely to come with dedicated IP addresses (one is standard, though some hosts offer more). This makes it less likely that your site is misidentified with another site, offers benefits for email marketing, and (in conjunction with an SSL certificate), offers security for payments handling if you launch an e-commerce site.
Compare pricing only after your security, flexibility and configuration needs for your company.