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Dedicated or VPS or Shared Hosting: Which Is the Best for My Website?

Going online with your business is an effective way to enhance your reach in the 21st century. As the days pass by and technology grows more and more, the internet is becoming quite the platform to reach out to different people and grow an audience. When you try to upload a website to the internet as a business venture, you will require a hosting service.

A host is someone who helps to put up the website over the internet and keeps it running. There are many different kinds of hosting options available and they come at various price ranges. It is seen that one would most likely go for the option which is the most cost-effective. However, that may not be the best option to choose at all times. Of the three types of hosting services available- Shared, VPS, and Dedicated hosting, it is imperative to make a comparative analysis. The three vary by a huge margin in its price range and thus also varies on the degree of flexibility, adaptability, and security it has to offer. The server that you are using to run the website should have an optimum blend of these three factors. Thus a comparative study of Shared hosting vs VPS and also Dedicated hosting is very important.

Shared Hosting

The first thing that comes to mind when talking about shared hosting is what is shared hosting? The answer is pretty simple and lies in the question only- it is a dedicated server that is used by many websites. You have to rent some space in a shared hosting server and thus will be able to upload and run a website. 

Since several websites are run from a single server, you get limited resources when running on a shared server hosting. This is the reason why this type of hosting comes so cheap. Resources used to keep your website up is divided and hence cannot be used to the highest potential. The degree of security with such a server is also very low. The chances of your website being hacked, or worse, your client’s details being hacked is very high when you are using a shared web hosting server. It also uses a very basic framework and hence the degree of flexibility is low. This implies that if you are thinking of upgrading your website, or upgrading the scripts, you are likely to face difficulty. This also implies that if your website suddenly receives high traffic, then it will be affected and may even crash since the server’s limited resources are not designed to handle a heavy load.

VPS Hosting

Now that you understand what a shared server is and how it works, it’ll be easier to understand a VPS Hosting. First thing first, what does VPS stand for– it stands for Virtual Private Server and it is a unique amalgamation of the properties of both shared servers and VPS servers. In this case, you are technically using a dedicated server in which the hardware resources are fixed for you to use as you like. This is a kind of shared hosting, but since you are getting your private part in the server, it is easier to shape to your liking. Between Shared hosting vs VPS, the latter is always a clear winner.

A VPS is likely to cost more compared to shared hosting but it comes with amazing benefits. Since you are getting your own private space on the server, you are free to upgrade it in any way you want to keep your website up-to-date. You also get dedicated space fixed for your needs and thus such a server is much better equipped to handle large traffic, though it still may malfunction if the traffic is too much. If you are having a hard time choosing between VPS or dedicated server, you can easily start with a VPS, and when your business flourishes, move on to a dedicated server.

Dedicated Hosting

 The meaning of dedicated hosting can be understood from its name- it is a server that is entirely dedicated to catering to all your needs to run a website. If you are choosing between Shared Hosting vs VPS vs Dedicated Server based on functionality, a dedicated server is the best. However, a dedicated server costs a lot because you have to arrange for the entire hardware setup too and is a great option for grand, well-established businesses and organizations. The dedicated server will also require a dedicated workforce of IT professionals for proper maintenance, timely upgrades, and all other necessary actions.

Since you own a dedicated server you can do anything with it. You can change the working OS, you can upgrade your website in any way you want, you can change the script whenever you want, you can use your resources in an optimum manner such that it’s easier to handle huge traffic without traffic, and so on. Between dedicated server vs the shared server, there is no question of comparison because the former can do everything that the latter cannot. It is the best decision for your website that you can make.

Difference Between Shared, VPS, and Dedicated Hosting

Shared vs VPS vs Dedicated Hosting
  • Performance

The performance of a server depends upon the hardware and resources available to the server. Shared Hosting plans get to use very limited hardware setup. Only a part of the dedicated hardware is available to Shared Hosting plans. With limited hardware, maintaining and handling a website becomes difficult over time and thus these pans have the lowest performance.

VPS plans have dedicated hardware for proper functioning over a virtual network. Because of the availability of such “dedicated hardware”, these plans function much better than the Shared Hosting plans. The performance tax arises because the hardware is run on a visualized setup. The technological advancement has bridged this gap quite efficiently and VPS plans can work on the same footing with dedicated plans, albeit with lower hardware setup. Dedicated plans are the best among the lot as the entire hardware setup belongs to you. You can even maintain and upgrade this hardware as and when required without any problem and thus enhance the resources allotted to you from time to time. This in turn helps the Dedicated plans to provide the best performance.

  • Security

Working on the same server implies working under the same IP address. In the shared web hosting plans, more than one website is using the available resources, and there lies the problem. If any of the websites is not functioning as per the available laws and norms, then it will be affected and so will all the other websites under the IP address. This also opens up your website to increased attacks because your IP address is available to a much wider audience through the many websites it supports. Thus security is minimum in Shared plans.

With a VPS plan, the users have their own space. They are entirely isolated from all their neighboring websites. All the websites, though are sharing the same hardware, have individual IP addresses. Thus a virus or an attack on one IP address is not likely to attack your website having a different IP address. Such a server provides better security compared to Shared hosting plans.

With a Dedicated server, the hardware, the software applications, and the IP address are your alone. No other website can tread on your resources be it hardware or software. Thus such a website is least likely to get attacked from viruses or hackers. They are not, however, immune to such attacks and proper, stringent security measures should be adopted to prevent such attacks. However, the likelihood of an attack is very less for Dedicated servers.

  • Configuration

A Shared server uses one set of hardware to support many websites. Since only one set of hardware is used with one set of software applications to maintain and run websites, chances of configuring, updating, or modifying anything becomes quite restricted. You have to go with the flow mostly and cannot access any configuration at the server level. With a VPS hosting plan, the scenario is hugely different. Each of the environment is entirely different and separate from its neighbors. Though the same hardware is used, the hardware and the resources are segmented is such a way that each user gets their individual space. Thus they can modify, upgrade, or configure the related software measures at their discretion. With such a server platform, only the hardware level access is restricted. Thus you cannot run any hardware emulation or access the storage devices which are not attached to the network.

A dedicated server has its own hardware and software. All the parts that are required to create and maintain a website are at your fingertips. You can change the software platform at will and modify it to suit your needs and requirements at all times. You can directly access the hardware setup whenever you want without any problem and even upgrade it from time to time if you need to. The ease of configuration is the highest in the case of a Dedicated server.

  • Pricing

A Shared web Hosting server uses the same hardware and software configuration for many websites and users. In simpler terms, it is a single dedicated server with many users hooked on to it. Thus the cost of maintaining this “dedicated server” is entirely shared among all the individuals who are using it. Thus the Shared hosting plans are some of the cheapest server hosting plans that you will ever come across. On the other hand, in the case of VPS hosting, the hardware is the same but it is segmented to suit the needs of the user. They can develop and use their own software applications in the dedicated space in any way they want. Thus, in the case of VPS plans, the resources allocated are better and much finer compared to Shared hosting plans, and that is reflected in the price margin. The Cheap VPS Hosting plans cost much more than the Shared Web Hosting plans. Lastly, since you won everything from the lowest hardware article to the entire software applications in a Dedicated Server plan, it costs the maximum. You cannot share the cost with anyone as was the case for Shared and VPS hosting plans. 

The Differences Between VPS and Dedicated Server Hosting Plans

 It can be understood that Shared Hosting plans are entirely different from VPS and Cheap Dedicated Server Hosting plans. The VPS and Dedicated plans seem similar in a lot of aspects, yet they are very different from one another. These differences arise because of the limits of VPS. In technical terms, the VPS is running on a virtual emulation if the hardware systems allocated to it while the Dedicated Hosting is running on physically available hardware at your disposal. This restricts the kinds of software applications that you can run on a VPS whereas, in the case of Dedicated servers, there is no such exception.

 There are few other restrictions concerning VPS when compared to Dedicated servers other than the hardware issues. The hardware restrictions also add certain advantages in VPS when compared to Dedicated servers. For example, if you have a hardware capacity of 16 GB and want to upgrade it to 32GB RAM, then you can easily do so. Since the VPS systems run on an emulation of the existing hardware, this addition does not need you to stop the website and thus prevent downtime. In the case of Dedicated server hosting, you cannot change the RAM without shutting down the website for some time, as you would have to shut down the hardware, which in turn, shuts down your website.

On the other hand, a Dedicated server has the capability of doing anything that you desire. It has no restrictions whatsoever and can run all kinds of software applications. Upgrading the hardware may become difficult at times with VPS but that is not the case with a Dedicated Server. Since you own the entire hardware setup, what you do with this hardware is entirely up to you. The Dedicated hosting options give you total control of the hosting environment you are broadcasting.

Read More: VPS vs Dedicated Server: Which Hosting Plan is Best for you?

Shared Hosting vs VPS vs Dedicated Hosting

Best Cloud, VPS, Dedicated Hosting

The three kinds of hosting that are available have their own sets of advantages and disadvantages. It should also be noted that the three kinds of hosting may be used to the fullest potential when working within the confines of their niches. The cheap shared hosting plans being cost-effective can give the best results in certain cases where dedicated hosting is not even required. If a student or an entrepreneur is trying to develop and run a website then shared hosting, because of its cost-effectiveness, will be their immediate choice to start with their website. Even small businesses that do not have a huge budget can profit from the low configurable and least secure Shared Web Hosting options.

Best VPS Hosting has a moderate price range when compared to the Shared Hosting services and the Dedicated Server hosting options. They are technically more configurable than Shared hosting and also has a higher range of security options available. With an environment that can be completely accessed to mold to the user’s need, these provide a much more versatile set up to run your website. Since fixed resources are allocated, chances of downtime are also significantly low in the case of cloud VPS hosting. You can easily upgrade the servers and even downgrade them if the need arises. The chances of being highly efficient both in the case of production and in the case of development are very high in case of VPS hosting. These are a mid-range solution to server needs and work exceptionally well, much like a dedicated hosting, without having to own any hardware setup or software applications.

The Best Dedicated servers are premium solutions to all the hosting needs. They are priced highest among the lot because you have to own all the hardware setup arrangements and the software applications. This in turn provides the best security options and the highest degree of configurations possible. You can even add hardware elements if the existing hardware setup is not supporting your website to the fullest. Chances of attacks from viruses and hackers are the least in case of a dedicated server hosting environment. These are the best option to go for if you are running a huge business enterprise and the cost of maintaining such a server is not a big issue. The high-end price range brings to you the best resources and the best measures if handling these resources for the most versatile and secure website setup.

Managed and Unmanaged Servers

The three different tiers of hosting, namely, Shared Web Hosting, VPS, and Dedicated Servers have already been discussed in the previous section. However, your choice is not limited to these three options only. You can also select from Managed and Unmanaged servers. Shared hosting is mostly managed, but these two options are available for VPS and Dedicated servers. This includes your choice and is likely to affect the cost and the security of your server

 The Managed server options are the ones that come with a team of experts who have the technical know-how of maintaining a server. These individuals know how to handle your server and can give you the best solutions to all your problems. They are also skilled at identifying problems that may affect your website adversely or its runtime and can take appropriate measures to curb such problems. They are available at your disposal 24×7 to help with all your needs. The only downside of going for a managed server is that you have to trust and depend upon a third party for all your needs.

 The Unmanaged servers are the complete opposite of Managed servers. As the name suggests these options are unmanaged, that is, they do not come with a team of individuals who can help you with all your needs. When going for an Unmanaged server you are immediately tapping into a more secure option in certain ways as you do not have to depend upon a third-party team of experts. These options are also technically more cost-effective compared to the Managed servers. However, maintaining such a server is your responsibility and your headache. If anything goes wrong, you have to handle it yourself or bring in paid experts to look into the problem. Only if you have the technical know-how of maintaining a server and also the resources and time to do so, should you go for an Unmanaged server option. If you are in two minds and not 100% certain of your capabilities of handling a server, then it is a much better alternative to go for the Managed plans.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • What is the difference between a dedicated and non-dedicated server?

A server wherein you own all the hardware setup and the software applications required to maintain and run the website is known as a best dedicated server. Non-dedicated servers are those which do not have such dedicated hardware, and thus a dedicated software. The Shared hosting and VPS hosting plans are part of the non-dedicated server plans. They also come cheaper than the dedicated plans because you do not have to pay for the hardware setup or its regular maintenance. The cost of maintaining the server is distributed among all the users of a non-dedicated server plan.

  • What is shared hosting?

Shared hosting is the kind of plan wherein many different users are logged in to the same hardware and software setup. In a more technical term, when different websites are hosted by the same IP address, such a situation is referred to as shared web hosting. Since one hardware setup is shared by many users these are the cheapest plans that you can go for. The cheap shared hosting plans, however, have huge restrictions on usage, upgrading, and modifying. These plans are also among the least secure ones among all the web hosting solutions.

  • What does VPS stand for?

VPS is a type of server wherein you can run your website. VPS stands for Virtual Private Server and the name itself is indicative of the nature of service it offers. Single hardware is segmented in a virtual emulation depending upon the needs of the client to create a separate environment. All the users logged on to the same hardware under a VPS have their own IP addresses and can upgrade or downgrade their virtual hardware according to their needs. The separate virtual hardware also opens up the option to run almost any kind of software that may be required to run the website according to need.

  • VPS vs Shared Hosting

Both VPS and Shared hosting options are very similar to one another with a major difference. In technical terms, all the websites logged on to the hardware in a Shared hosting environment run under the same IP address while in case of VPS, they run under their individual IP addresses. In simpler terms, the basic hardware and software parts of all the users under the Shared host are the same while in the case of VPS, they are different. This is brought in by segmenting the hardware in a virtual platform and thus giving each user their very own personal space to do as they like.


 From the relative study, it can be summarised that between Shared hosting vs VPS, the latter is a better choice as it features greater security and that race, the best contender is the Dedicated Hosting Server as it features unrestricted flexibility, can be modified in however way you please, and has the highest degree of security. In terms of cost-effectiveness, shared network features as the best. Thus, when you just starting with your business endeavor, you may start with a shared hosting server, but as time progresses and you become a bigger enterprise, you should shift to VPS or Dedicated hosting. For very large organizations, dedicated hosting options should be the only option.

Get in Touch

Arpit Saini

He is the Director of Cloud Operations at Serverwala Cloud Data Centers Pvt Ltd and also follows a passion to break complex tech topics into practical and easy-to-understand articles. He loves to write about Web Hosting, Software, Virtualization, Cloud Computing, and much more.

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