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Shared Hosting, VPS, or Cloud Hosting: Which Should You Do?
If you’re building a website for the first time, hosting is critical — and often confusing. Three of the most common methods are shared hosting, virtual private server (VPS) hosting, and cloud hosting. Thankfully, extensive technical knowledge isn’t a requirement to get up to speed with these hosting techniques.
Choosing the best fit for your website depends on several factors including performance demands, security requirements, cost constraints, scalability requirements, and server administration preferences.
Let’s look at how each hosting method works, its main pros and drawbacks.
With a shared hosting approach the website server and its resources, including bandwidth and storage, are shared with all other hosted sites. Typically, a website owner won’t know who or which websites will be sharing the hosting platform with them.
The hosting platform’s package specifies the server resource limit for each client on the platform. While many shared hosting companies provide a variety of packages with various levels of resource access, all customers ultimately share the same space.
Think of shared hosting as renting an apartment with roommates: You have one room within the larger apartment space. Access to key resources, such as the kitchen, bathroom, and living room — is shared among all residents.
Shared hosting is the most common method of hosting because it’s the most affordable, but does come with potential drawbacks. If server resources aren’t robust enough to handle multiple users or if security controls are lacking, your website may be slow to load, difficult to access, and potentially at risk of compromise.
With virtual private server (VPS) hosting, users still share the same physical server space but the hosting provider installs a virtual layer on top of the server’s operating system. This layer separates the server into partitions and allows users to install their own operating systems and software.
In this case, you’re renting your apartment and you’re not directly sharing rooms and resources with other website owners, but you’re still subject to the larger resource limits of the building itself.
VPS is great for consumer-focused sites, such as online stores and small businesses, due to its completely private nature. You’ll notice quicker loading times, greater security, and improved overall site performance if you use this approach.
While this approach certainly has its benefits, VPS also has some downsides. VPS requires much more technical knowledge to manage the server, so if you’re a first-time website builder you may want to stick with a shared services approach.
A cloud server is essentially a virtual server that runs in a cloud computing environment. It’s built, hosted, and delivered through a cloud computing platform accessed remotely via the Internet.
Here, you’re renting out the entire apartment building. There are other buildings on the same block using power and water resources from the city, but there’s no physical connection.
Cloud servers give website owners a sense of stability and security because any possible software is isolated from your website environment. Any other cloud server won’t have an impact on your cloud server, and your cloud services won’t affect any other servers. With physical servers, an overload from another user could affect your site.
A cloud server allows you to increase memory and processing capacity as needed if you want to build your website and want your server to handle these changes in server capability. That kind of growth on a physical server requires the purchase of expensive new hardware to keep up with the site’s progress.
However, this does not rule out the possibility of issues with cloud hosting. It’s the most costly hosting option, and if you don’t have a clear plan in place for website deployment and optimization, you may end up using and paying for more resources than you require.
Shared Hosting vs. VPS
Shared hosting has multiple users sharing the same physical server resources. VPS solutions, meanwhile, logically partition server resources to provide greater privacy and control.
Is VPS faster than shared hosting?
While VPS and shared hosting rely on the basic principle of multiple users sharing the same physical server VPS solutions provide greater access to server resources. As a result, VPS hosting delivers better performance than shared hosting options with decreased loading times and improved bandwidth.
Is VPS or shared hosting more secure?
By implementing a virtual layer on top of server operating systems, VPS instances are logically separate from other server’s “pieces”, allowing you to implement your security controls.
In shared hosting environments, meanwhile, all users rely on the same set of security best practices and if your digital neighbors make a mistake, your data may also be at risk.
Are VPS or shared hosting solutions more expensive?
Shared hosting solutions are typically cheaper than their VPS counterparts and for good reason. you don’t get the same level of server access, performance, or security. Worth noting? Not all VPS and shared hosts are created equal. Compare features, options, and prices for each before buying in.
Now let’s break down the differences between cloud and shared hosting.
Cloud Hosting vs. Shared Hosting
Cloud hosting provides access to on-demand, scalable resources in the cloud. Shared hosting relies on a single physical server shared by multiple users.
Is cloud hosting faster than shared hosting?
Because of a distinct hosting structure, cloud hosting is much quicker than shared hosting. Virtual servers replace physical stacks, allowing providers to maximize speed and performance.
While cloud and shared hosting both leverage a shared pool of resources, those in the cloud aren’t tied to specific physical hardware — instead, they can be scaled up on-demand.
Is cloud or shared hosting more secure?
Cloud hosting is more secure, so long as you implement the right security controls. While cloud solutions typically include basic security tools, customization at scale is left up to individual web hosts. The better your best practices, the better your security in the cloud.
Are cloud or shared hosting solutions more expensive?
Shared hosting solutions are cheaper than cloud options. While costs are scalable in the cloud — the more you use, the more you pay — they outpace basic shared options.
Finally, let’s dig into a comparison of cloud hosting and VPS solutions.
Cloud Hosting vs. VPS
Cloud hosting solutions use virtual servers to deliver on-demand service scaling and improved speed. VPS offerings, meanwhile, use virtual partitions on physical servers to provide dedicated resource access and enhanced privacy.
Is cloud hosting faster than VPS?
Provided your last-mile connection is speedy and secure, cloud hosting is faster than VPS alternatives. The sheer amount of resources available to cost-hosted websites means they outperform VPS offerings head-to-head.
However, performance is normally comparable when many VPS instances are purchased on the same database hardware.
Is cloud hosting or VPS more secure?
It depends. Cloud providers typically offer pre-built security controls which limit the overall risk of attack or compromise. Basic VPS security isn’t as robust, but if you have the technical skill to deploy and manage advanced security controls you can effectively defend key assets.
The cloud’s dispersed structure also plays a role in security. Your site can be instantly migrated to different resource stacks if physical hardware is compromised. All sites, regardless of security measures are in danger if VPS hardware is hacked.
Are cloud hosting or VPS solutions more expensive?
The costs of VPS and cloud hosting solutions are often comparable. Here’s why: You’re paying for different priorities. In the cloud, scalability and accessibility are paramount. In VPS environments, control and security are your top priority.