All websites require hosting for them to work. And that’s why figuring out what hosting option to use is such an important question.
In this article, we are going to break down the attributes of two major hosting options: dedicated servers and VPS.
VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. When you use VPS, the resources of the server are split between different websites or hosting accounts.
To help you gain a higher level of clarity on what VPS hosting is, I will have to compare it with shared hosting. In shared hosting, several users access the server resources at the same time. So if any of the websites is using a large RAM amount or bandwidth, the other hosted websites will suffer.
With VPS hosting, it’s different. While there are still several websites being hosted on the same server, there is a hypervisor that makes sure that no website causes trouble for the rest. Each website is allocated a set amount of RAM, bandwidth, and server space. For instance, a 100 MB RAM server with 10 sites hosted on it would allocate 10 MB to each. Ditto all other server resources.
Many VPS servers enable the hypervisor to allocate any website’s idle resources to another site on the server that requires them. However, the hypervisor always ensures that those sites from which resources have been borrowed do not suffer.
VPS hosting is a step above shared hosting, but below dedicated hosting. VPS hosting is an excellent choice for you if your website is simple and does not attract the massive amounts of traffic that necessitate dedicated hosting.
VPS will give you root access on the server (unlike shared hosting), but without the high expense of a dedicated server. So if you feel that you want a bit more control over your host, but don’t have enough funds or incentive to go the dedicated server way, take up VPS hosting instead.
Though users in a VPS server share many physical resources such as CPU, disk space, and RAM, they are still able to enjoy the freedoms of a private server – for instance, one’s own control panel.
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In contrast with shared and VPS hosting, the dedicated server does not involve any sharing. Rather, the server is dedicated for a single user. When you use dedicated hosting, you have a monopoly over all the resources of the machine. You can even configure the hosting environment in the way you deem most satisfying to you.
However, note that dedicated hosts are an expensive undertaking; plus if it’s an unmanaged server, you will have to do a lot of maintenance and configuration work yourself, which requires quite a bit of technical knowhow, which you might not possess.
Dedicated hosts become worthwhile when you are dealing with high traffic levels in the region of 500,000 visitors a month. Start with a VPS, and go on to dedicated hosting when the company generates enough revenue to support the high cost, or when the traffic demands it.
If you are using a managed dedicated server, you won’t have to worry about having technical knowhow about configuration, management, and so forth. With such a server, management processes such as ensuring regular software updates and protecting the server from malware attacks are undertaken by the hosting provider.
A dedicated server gives you the freedom to choose the equipment, size and type of hard drive, the processor, and the amount and type of RAM. They are, as a rule, the fastest and most powerful hosting options available – however, some of the high-end VPS option are capable of outperforming the lower-end dedicated servers.
One of the main advantages of dedicated servers is that they have a predictable performance. Consider that all the resources in the network are dedicated to one user. Compare this with the shared network where many users are competing for the same resources.
In a shared network, your website is often at the mercy of the others in the network. For instance, if one of the other sites gets a spike in traffic volume, your website suffers. But due to the predictability of the dedicated server, you don’t have to worry about such things.
Which Should You Choose: VPS or Dedicated Server?
In case of a low budget, VPS hosting will no doubt be more attractive. However, it is the type of site you are running that should determine what type of hosting you will need. For instance, if it contains a lot of high-quality images and features a lot of streaming, and brings in a significant level of traffic, you should consider dedicated hosting, regardless of its relatively high price.
The reason for regarding the type of site you are running is because large media files tend to drain storage space and bandwidth. If you use VPS or shared hosting for a website rich in such files, load times will be low, causing visitors to leave your website and visit it less frequently.
Also, consider if your website will need a high amount of processing power to run scripts and backend applications, or if you expect a large number of visitors to regularly visit the site. These are all reasons why you would opt for a dedicated server over a VPS.
On the other hand, if your website does not require a large amount of resources, save your money and invest in VPS hosting. Depending on the hosting company or package, you can get either a small or a large amount of resources with VPS hosting.
VPS hosting is appropriate for moderately high traffic websites, bloggers, small business owners, and everyone who wants something more efficient than a shared server but less expensive than a dedicated server. But if the VPS is not enough, you must go the dedicated server route.
So for a high-traffic website that has large media files, the dedicated server is your best option. Anything other than that will be well served by a VPS server – and at a cheaper cost.