Web Hosting: VPS or Shared Hosting?

Posted on May 15, 2012 by Nikhil P Naik

When hosting a website, one of the first things to take in to account (other than, of course, the domain name) is how it is going to be hosted. This depends on your intended usage for the website, and an estimate of how much processing power you intend on using, so it’s important to know why you would need to choose one over the other.

“I’m building a simple blog and don’t need anything fancy”

For the average user, shared hosting is absolutely fine. The difference between sharing an environment with several other customers won’t even be noticeable – except for the massively reduced price you’ll pay every month. This is the standard option, so there is a lot of competition out there for your wallet, and it’s likely that you can find a company willing to offer an excellent price for the money you’re okay with paying.

As a downside, though, security is a real issue to consider. As an analogy, you can liken hosting on a shared hosting package to living in a house with multiple people. Even though you may be very security concious, and do all you can to keep the building safe from intruders, it’s hard to guarantee that everyone else will, leaving your precious space in a vulnerable position. Several thousands of websites get broken in to every year and infected with malicious code as a result of one user on a shared hosting package having their website compromised, as they’re all hosted on the same server environment.

“I want to host a larger website, and need a bit more headroom”

In this case, a VPS (virtual private server) is the very best option. A VPS is a single server that is split in to multiple virtualised environments. Sticking with the housing analogy theme, this is most similar to having one large house and putting in partitioning doors to indicate each person’s designated living area. It doesn’t really change the fact that you’re all living together, but you won’t see or have access to anyone else’s space – a huge boost to the safety of your website. It’s not quite the same as a dedicated server set up, which hosts one client per physical server, but a way for medium-sized websites to buy a slightly cheaper option and prepare for the step up.

The same downsides, in terms of usage, apply here as would to a shared hosting environment, so it’s good to realise that you won’t have (seemingly) unlimited processing usage. If other people on the same physical server are experiencing heavy load, you will be able to note your own website responding slightly slower to requests. This is all but unavoidable whenever you share resources, so it’s best not to worry too much about it and remember that when you become the reason your server is performing so sluggishly, it’s a good idea to move up in the hosting world and take a look for a dedicated server for your site to live on.

Advice Provided by Nexus Open Systems, we provide virtualised server solutions to businesses all over the UK.

Also Read:

What type of Hosting Do You Require [Infograph]

A Comparison of Shared, VPS and Dedicated Hosting

Understanding The Different Types of Web Hosting

About Nikhil P Naik

Nikhil Naik has a Master's Degree in Information Systems, and is currently working as a Software Engineer at Microsoft. He also loves playing cricket, listening to music, and traveling. Twitter Handle - @buzz_nikhil.

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