VPS Hosting vs Dedicated Server – Which is the Right Choice for Your Website?
In this article I will show you the main similarities and differences between VPS hosting and dedicated server. They are quite similar, but they do differ a lot. If you want to find out which to choose for your website, please read this article. Let’s dive into it!
What is VPS Hosting?
To help you understand how VPS hosting works, we are going to bring up shared hosting as an example. With a shared hosting account, you get a server which is divided into many smaller portions that are serving the accounts of other people. You can imagine it as a computer that has many user accounts created on it, but instead of allowing only one of them to sign in, this one lets numerous users work on the machine at the same time.
Running plenty of websites on the same machine also means that the CPU, RAM, storage and bandwidth are all divided between the users. VPS hosting is based on a similar system. By renting your own VPS, you get a portion of the server which will power your websites or applications. The main difference is that a VPS has a hyper-visor that prevents your website from being affected in any way by other users on the server.
A hyper-visor can also make your VPS scalable. If there is another website on the server that doesn’t use up all the resources from its VPS plan, then the unused resources become free. If your site needs more resources, you can claim them by paying the difference, making your VPS even stronger. These resources are only temporarily lent out. In the meantime, the hypervisor makes sure that the other website doesn’t suffer from the reduction.
Pros and Cons of VPS Hosting
While VPS hosting is almost always a good idea after your site grows out of a shared hosting plan, this type of hosting also has its downsides. We created a list where we summarized the most notable pros and cons of VPS hosting, just to help you decide whether to choose a dedicated server or a VPS plan for your project. Let’s see what we have here:
Pros of VPS Hosting
- It is cheaper – A VPS hosting plan is rarely more expensive than a dedicated server. If you want to save some money but shared hosting is not enough, you should opt for VPS.
- Increased control and flexibility – You can decide how much storage, memory and processing power you need. Also, you will get access to more administrative settings than with a shared plan and you will have more options when it comes to the operating system.
- Server reboot – VPS plans allow you to reboot your own virtual server with a digital on-off switch through your control panel.
- Root access – If you need root access to your server but you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a dedicated server, then you can get this feature with most VPS plans as well. This allows you to install demanding software packages that are required for your work.
- Powerful packages – VPS hosting packages can be powerful enough to power bigger businesses. Some providers even offer VPS plans that are stronger than most, lower tier dedicated servers.
Cons of VPS Hosting
- Overselling – Make sure that the provider you choose doesn’t oversell its resources. There are plenty of hosting providers out there that host too many accounts on the same server, assuming that none of them will exceed the limitations. This can negatively affect all the users on the server, so make sure to avoid overcrowded servers if you want your website to be as fast as it should be.
- Limited resources – VPS plans are not as strong as dedicated plans and you might need more resources to be able to continue using it when your website starts growing. Unfortunately, you can only add a limited amount of resources and this will eventually force you to switch to a dedicated server.
- Lack of customization – With a VPS there are definitely more customization options available than with shared hosting, but not as many as with a dedicated server. You will be limited to a definite set of software that can be installed and the provider won’t allow you to go beyond that.
- Security issues – The hypervisor is the software component that makes sure all the users are properly separated on the server. Unfortunately, this is also a weakness because if one of the virtual machines gets affected by a virus, it can bypass the hypervisor and affect all the other user accounts on the server. This can rarely happen but still, it is not impossible and has to be noted.
Why Choose VPS Hosting?
If you don’t expect hundreds of thousands of people to visit your website on a monthly basis, then it is surely a better idea to go for a VPS. Dedicated servers are only faster if there is a high amount of traffic on your site, otherwise VPSs perform even better. A VPS can be a good substitute in case you have a growing business that can’t afford a dedicated server at the moment.
In fact, a VPS is optimal for most online businesses in the long run. It is not only cheaper, but allows you to easily set up your website thanks to the abundance of features that providers usually offer. Root access is also enabled in most VPS plans. If you compare it to shared hosting, a VPS obviously provides more resources and there is no significant difference in the prices.
For growing businesses, VPS is highly recommended. Its flexibility allows you to start with a very basic VPS plan and scale it all the way up. Sometimes you can upgrade your VPS to the point where it provides more resources than a dedicated server. If you don’t need the security and control provided by a dedicated server, then you might not even need to sign up to one in the future.
I highly recommend InMotion Hosting, if you are looking for a reliable VPS hosting plan.
Please read our InMotion review for more details.
What is a Dedicated Server?
The reason why it’s called a dedicated server is because the machine is dedicated to your own personal use. There are no restrictions, so you get to use all of the hardware available in the machine and it allows you to create the kind of hosting environment that you need with full access to configuration options. Besides giving you the highest level of control, there is always a technical support team that makes sure your server is optimized and working well.
However, if you are more of a tech-savvy user, you can manage the whole system yourself, taking care of security, updates and optimization. Choosing a dedicated server also means that you can run your website on top-notch hardware and not have it shared with any other users. Depending on your budget, you can choose the combination of RAM, storage and CPU that mostly fits your needs.
Thanks to server root access, you can install the operating system of your choice and any amount of additional software. Obviously, dedicated servers are the most expensive, since you need to pay for a full machine which is almost always stronger than the most powerful VPS plans. In addition, dedicated servers are more secure than VPSs. Using a VPS can be dangerous because if one user gets a virus, it can affect all the other users on the server.
Pros and Cons of Dedicated Hosting
A dedicated server is certainly the most powerful option when it comes to web hosting. However, this doesn’t mean that we would recommend it for everyone. There are some key factors you need to take into account when trying to figure out whether to choose a dedicated server or a VPS for your website. Fortunately, we can help you with a nice list that demonstrates the most notable pros and cons of dedicated hosting. Let’s start with the pros:
Pros of Dedicated Hosting
- Power and performance – If you choose a dedicated server, it means that you want the most powerful hosting option. It is the best choice for those who want maximum performance for their website. By choosing a dedicated server that suits to your needs, you guarantee that there will be no need for upgrades and the workload will be much more predictable as well
- It is exclusive – You can take advantage of a server that is a 100 percent yours. Dedicated servers are for personal use, so the provider ensures that it’s not shared by any other user.
- Control and customizability – A dedicated server allows you to customize your hosting environment as you want. It also guarantees you full control, meaning that you can reboot the machine whenever needed and install any software with root access. This opens the door to lots of customization options as long as you install software that can be handled by the hardware of the server.
Cons of Dedicated Hosting
- It is expensive – Those who sign up to a dedicated server need to spend a lot of money on a monthly basis. Maybe your business would be better off with a dedicated server, but first, you definitely need to get to the point when it generates enough income for this type of hosting service. Until then, it’s always a good idea to invest into VPS.
- Not recommended for beginners – Of course, you can go for managed hosting when signing up for a dedicated plan but that’s a pretty expensive service. The only way to fully utilize a dedicated server is to manage it yourself or assign one of your team members to manage it. If no one has some serious technical knowledge in your team, then you better choose a VPS because it will be a struggle.
Why Choose Dedicated Hosting?
You should choose a dedicated server if you want specific hardware and software for your website. On the other hand, it requires some experience in server management to set up all the software and to properly configure your server environment. If you have an average of 500,000 visitors on your website, then it is recommended to go for a dedicated plan.
For dedicated servers, you need to make sure that a few people are ready to work for you as technical staff. There are plenty of tasks that require certain expertise when it comes to optimizing and maintaining a server. Dedicated servers are made for hosting huge media files. These can only run properly if you have enough storage and bandwidth.
With such a server, you will have an extensive amount of processing power to work with. If you want to run tons of back-end applications and scripts, then you can surely take advantage of it. Both your website traffic and media files will rely on the bandwidth of your server, so if each of those is a high number, then a dedicated server is absolutely essential.
LiquidWeb is my top recommendation when it comes to dedicated server hosting.
Also, check out our Liquid Web review to find out more information about this company.
The whole point is to find the balance between price and performance. First, you need to decide how much you want to spend on hosting. Then, according to your website traffic, content and the goals you want to achieve with your site overall, you need to estimate how much power, security and what kind of features you need.
Most of the time, you get what you pay for, but there are also providers that give you less for your money. This is why you need to research and find those providers that received overwhelmingly positive customer reviews. You can never go wrong with the biggest names in the industry, but there are some hidden gems as well.
Keep in mind that a good company also has to provide a customer support that you can rely on 24/7. Furthermore, one provider might have a different target audience than the other one. Make sure to choose a web hosting package that provides you with a set of features that you actually need for your site. Otherwise, it will be only a waste of your money.