When you develop a website, you think about the design and the platform, but how much do you consider the hosting? Hosting, which can be Shared, Dedicated or VPS Hosting, is the digital real estate for your website. It’s where you house everything when you finally go live.
There are several types of hosting, but the question people often ask is what is VPS hosting and does my website need it. It has a great impact on your site performance and is as important as what platform you choose.
Many times people take the advice of their developer or pick the first hosting provider they see. The type of hosting you pick can make or break your website.
What Is Hosting
Imagine your website like a house filled with your belongings. You can’t just live in a house. You need a place for the house to sit.
If building a home is like creating a website, then the hosting is like the empty lot the house will sit on. It’s a safe secure place to hold everything.
For a website, it’s a server. The quality of your hosting determines everything from how fast your site loads to website security. Before you can have a website show up on the internet, you need to choose the type of hosting and the hosting provider you’ll use. Each type of hosting has its benefits depending on the type of website it is you wish to host.
Hosting is an important aspect for everything from user experience to digital marketing. There are three types of hosting: Shared, Virtual Private Server (VPS), and Dedicated.
What is Shared Hosting?
Shared is the most common type of hosting. It’s used by small to medium sized websites that are more informational and not e-commerce. If we continue with the real estate analogy, then shared hosting is like an apartment building.
Your site shares space and resources with hundreds or even thousands of other websites on the same server. The biggest benefit is it’s the cheapest option of the three hosting types. The problem with sharing resources is that when something bad happens, everyone feels the pain.
Imagine the downstairs neighbor gets a water leak and because of that everyone loses water pressure. Analogously, if a website on the shared server has a sudden jump in traffic, gets attacked, or experience some other issue, that can cause more resources to be taken away from the resources pool, which then impacts the resources your site has available.
The impact could be minor such as a slight delay in website load speed. It could also lead to your site going down until the other website’s issues get fixed.
With Shared Hosting, you also don’t have much control over what features, software or configuration is set up on the server. Similarly, in your apartment, you can’t change the paint or replace the refrigerator. Everything is owned by the landlord, so everyone has the same décor.
The benefit of Shared Hosting is you don’t need expert knowledge or an IT department to set it up. You also can’t have your own antivirus software, etc.
It’s the least secure of the three, and you’re at the mercy of the hosting company.
What is Dedicated Hosting?
The most expensive option is dedicated hosting.
You have a self-contained dedicated server (or in other words, your own physical dedicated computer) for your website only. You have complete control over everything from the programs installed to the resources available.
This is used by larger websites that have more complex system requirements or websites that get millions of visitors. Furthermore, any website owner that wants complete control and stability of their server may choose this option.
If shared is an apartment building, then dedicated hosting is a chalet in the French Alps. You’re the only one around for miles and surrounded by the safety and security of the mountain range. Your website will not be affected by your neighbors because you’re not sharing your physical server with anyone else anymore.
The server can be your own that you run from your home or business. It can also be part of a company where you buy the server space. You have complete control of everything and can make any changes you want.
What is VPS Hosting?
VPS Hosting is used by medium to large websites and e-commerce sites. With a VPS Hosting, you have limited freedom, but a dedicated amount of resources that is for your website only. It costs less than dedicated hosting, provides more safety and security than shared hosting, but not as much safety and security as you get with dedicated servers.
In a VPS environment, the physical server uses special software that divides it into smaller virtual servers. So your website will be hosted on its own virtual server, that is one of many other virtual servers hosted on the physical server. Just like a dedicated server, you can have full management and control with a VPS.
It’s like having a 3,000 square foot house in a crowded subdivision. Everyone has large privacy fences to keep prying eyes away from your home.
Keep in mind that not all VPS environments are created equal, ask your hosting provider what hypervisor they use. A hypervisor is the software that divides a physical server into smaller virtual servers.
Some hypervisors, such as the OpenVZ Virtualization Technology, are known to be less stable and allow a bigger effect of neighboring VPS on your own. Other hypervisors, such as the KVM Virtualization Technology, are known to be more secure, more stable, and better isolated.
Keep in mind that with VPS Hosting, an incoming attack against a neighboring server could heavily affect and even bring down your own server and websites.
Types of VPS & Dedicated Hosting Management
Unlike the cut and dry aspects of shared hosting, you get more choices when it comes to management of your VPS or Dedicated Server.
If you’re a serious developer, DevOps engineer or otherwise have the required knowledge to manage a VPS yourself (including but not only security hardening, performance optimization, and regular software updates), then you can get an unmanaged VPS server where you’re in charge of everything.
This is the least expensive of the management options because you’re promising to take care of everything. It’s also your responsibility if anything goes wrong.
You aren’t totally alone as the hosting provider will usually provide support for issues that stem from the server’s hardware or network even with unmanaged servers
With a fully managed hosting account, your hosting company takes care of everything from the server’s security and its optimization. You still have access to the main system to make your own changes. It’s complete control without worrying about the small mundane requirements of running your own server.
We actually recommend the Fully-Managed route even for experienced system administrators because who has the extra free time to manage a server and have to handle each security, performance or configuration problem all on their own?
Is VPS Hosting Right For Your Website?
While VPS can be a good fit for many, we believe that the main reason to choose a VPS is a financial one. Dedicated Servers provide better reliability and isolation.
VPS is a safer alternative to shared hosting and perfect for SEO and other marketing. It comes with versatility and customizability.
Versatility and Security
Unless you’re a massive business or small informational website, VPS hosting could be the right choice for you.
If you want to learn more about Dedicated Servers or about hosting in general, then please explore our website and blog.