Shared Hosting or VPS?

Web page length, southport web hosting

It is, or at least it has been, a popular talking point in web hosting circles; which is better VPS or shared hosting?

And a lot of these discussions end the same way, with VPS the clear favourite. But this conclusion is usually formed on the basis of a superficial comparison and doesn’t necessarily take into account the needs of the consumer or the current state/quality of the products in question.

Superficially, it’s an easy conclusion to jump to, VPS is more customisable therefore it must be better. But as I alluded to above, this isn’t necessarily the case, particularly for small business owners.

Shared

Shared hosting is analogous to a holiday complex, residents share the building and the facilities with one another and everyone assumes equal responsibility for its upkeep.

In a web hosting context a shared hosting customer will share a server with other users and server resources such as disk space and bandwidth will be allocated based on needs what and current availability.

One of the criticisms of shared hosting is that it less secure than VPS because users share server space; The theory being that the relative proximity and perceived lack of barriers means there is a greater chance of malware propagation or hacking.

In reality this a misconception; the isolation of shared hosting accounts from another is an important function of the CloudLinux OS and the integral CageFS file system. Each hosting account is contained within a virtual cage and effectively unable to ‘see’ or interact with any other account ensuring the integrity of information and preventing the spread of malware.

Additionally, server upkeep costs and software licences are included in the price making it essentially pay and go.

VPS

VPS hosting, by contrast, is more like owning your own home; your space is strictly yours however you are solely responsible for upkeep and maintenance.

A VPS customer will receive a designated amount of server resources and will be able to install their own operating system instead of having to use the server OS. However, they’ll also have to ensure that any software they do use is licensed and kept up to date.

For some people, particularly active and experienced web masters this won’t be a problem, but for a small business owner, especially those which conduct business in person and simply rely on the internet to generate custom this is purely added inconvenience.

Conclusion

When you consider that VPS hosting is more expensive and in many cases doesn’t offer much, if any, improvements in performance compared to a well put together shared platform, the extra set up, maintenance time and effort simply isn’t worth it for small businesses or part time website admins.

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