Shared Hosting vs VPS Hosting – How Do I Choose?

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When looking for a place to host your website there are many options but the most common starting point is a VPS for web hosting or Shared hosting plan. This is primarily due to the starting price and high value that you get for the money.

The primary difference between a VPS and a Shared hosting plan is that a VPS has resources that are allocated specifically for your account. While a Shared account shares all the server resources with other users.

After narrowing it down to these two types of plans, the next logical questions are “What’s the difference?” and “How do I choose a plan?”

Why Choose Shared?

  • Cost-Effective: Shared hosting is budget-friendly due to cost-sharing among users.
  • Ease of Use: User-friendly control panels make shared hosting ideal for beginners.
  • Low Maintenance: Hosting providers handle server upkeep, security, and technical tasks.

Pros and Cons of Shared Hosting


  • Less expensive than other hosting options
  • Great for smaller sites or basic business sites
  • Servers is managed by your host’s system administrators
  • Your host manages the mail server’s reputation


  • Sharing resources
  • Can be affected by other sites
  • Can’t customize the security policy
  • Limited access to server

Why Choose VPS?

  • Enhanced Control: A VPS provides more control and customization compared to Shared hosting.
  • Scalability: VPS allows for easy scaling of resources as your website or application grows.
  • Increased Performance: Dedicated resources in VPS hosting lead to better performance and reliability.

Pros and Cons of VPS Hosting


  • Dedicated resources
  • Better for larger business or eCommerce site
  • Root access to server
  • Multiple control panel options
  • Ability to create multiple cPanels
  • Flexibility to install your own OS


  • More expensive over Shared hosting
  • May have to manage your own server
  • Have to monitor mail server reputation

Shared Hosting vs VPS Hosting – 10 Key Differences

The choice between Shared hosting and VPS hosting plays a pivotal role in determining your online success. In this guide, we’ll compare the key aspects of Shared hosting and VPS hosting, helping you navigate the decision-making process for your website or online business.

1. VPS has Dedicated Resources Allocated

As we stated above, with a VPS you will get dedicated assets that are available only to your account. Here are some examples of the resources that are included with VPS plans:

  • Virtual CPUs (vCPU)
  • RAM
  • NVMe SSDs

This results in better performance for your site and faster load times. In some cases, Shared hosting accounts can be punished or throttled for causing problems for other users on the server. This can result in worse performance or possibly a forced upgrade to keep functioning.

2. Shared has Limited Access to the Server

Since shared servers host many websites, there are limitations to how much access you have to the environment. For example, on a shared server, you would not be able to modify your cPanel limitations or install custom firewall rules, since they are managed by the system administrators. This would not be a problem if you are looking for an easy hosting platform to use and don’t want to customize the software across the entire server.

VPS plans allow you to have root access, which is the highest level of user access to the server. Once logged in as a root user, you can access and modify any software aspect of the server via the WebHost Manager (WHM) or SSH.

3. You can Create Multiple cPanel Accounts on VPS

With a Shared plan, you get a single cPanel account that can be used to host several websites or subdomains. But some VPS plans include a few control panel options and the ability to create multiple cPanel accounts using the Web Host Manager (WHM). This can be a helpful tool when you are managing several websites and want to keep them separated.

For example, if you are a web developer and host three websites for three different clients, you can keep them in their own different cPanel accounts. This allows them to access cPanel without seeing the other sites that you are hosting or managing.

4. You can Manage/Customize your own Security Policy on a VPS

If you’re interested in creating a custom security policy and firewall rules, for example, a VPS is the only option for you. This is due to the security rules on Shared hosting being managed by the System Administrators.

Here are a few specific examples of the type of security options that you can install or modify:

While some of the above options may be available on a Shared plan, your ability to customize them would be limited since it can affect other users.

5. Price

While the price of a VPS plan has come down, a Shared hosting platform is a more cost-effective solution for budget conscious users. The low price tag is due to the number of people that are sharing the server’s resources, resulting in more users splitting the cost.

While price is often a significant factor in decision-making, there are instances where you may prioritize value over cost when selecting a VPS hosting plan. Businesses with specific performance, scalability, support, or security requirements may find that the value offered by a higher-priced VPS hosting plan justifies the additional cost.

6. With Shared You Don’t Need a System Administrator

Since a Shared hosting environment is fully managed by the web host’s system administrators, there is no need for you to manage the environment. This can be a positive since it is one less thing for you to worry about.

7. VPS is Better for eCommerce

While it’s possible to host an online store on a Shared hosting environment, it is recommended to use a VPS. This ensures you have the ability to handle a large spike in traffic for a sale or promotion and also allows you to customize your security policy to fit your specific needs.

A VPS is also very highly scalable, meaning that it can be easily upgraded if necessary to support a large influx in traffic. For example, if you are planning a large holiday sale, you can upgrade to a stronger VPS temporarily and then downgrade back to your original plan once the rush is over. This ensures you are able to handle the large influx of traffic and that your visitors have the best possible experience.

8. You can Manage Your Own Mail Server on VPS

With Shared hosting your mail server setup and reputation are managed by a team of system administrators. This is convenient if you just want a typical mail configuration, but keep in mind that other users that are sharing your server can negatively affect the mail server’s IP. While this is usually fixed quickly, emails that you send can end up flagged as spam by the recipient server’s filters.

With a VPS plan, it will typically include a Dedicated IP address. This means that you are the only one using that address and any issues would be caused by your account alone. If email is a critical part of your website or business, this is an important consideration.

9. You can Install Custom Server Software on VPS

Since a Shared hosting plan is pre-configured and optimized to work for most websites, you are limited from changing software that will modify the server environment. But with root access on a VPS, you can modify or install any software package you want.

For example, if you want to replace MySQL with Percona DB, this can be done via SSH. Here are some examples of other custom server software that you can install on a VPS:

  • MongoDB
  • Node.js
  • Ruby on Rails
  • Tomcat
  • WebDAV
  • PerlDesk
  • Virtual Private Network (VPN)
  • Django
  • OPcache
  • Varnish Caching
  • CloudLinux

Keep in mind that if you don’t feel comfortable setting up new software, many options can be installed with a subscription to InMotion’s Managed Hosting Service.

10. Advanced Support with some InMotion Hosting VPS Plans

Some of the VPS plans offered will include limited access to an Advanced Tech Support team. These high-level administrators are prepared to help you with tasks such as the following:

  • Migrate Sites
  • Increase Security
  • Optimize Databases
  • Site Optimization
  • Increase Security
  • Custom Server Configurations

How Do I Choose – Questions to Ask Yourself

1. How Much Do I Want to Spend?

One of the biggest factors when deciding on a hosting plan is how much you want to spend. It’s essential for businesses to align with their goals and objectives with their hosting requirements.

A Shared hosting plan will be cheaper than a VPS, but you need to factor in cost over value. Keep in mind when planning your budget that a VPS is more feature-rich, scalable, and better for medium to large businesses.

2. Do I Want to Manage My Own Server?

For basic websites or small businesses, a Shared hosting plan is a good starting point. But if you are interested in managing your own server, or want to set up custom configurations, a VPS is a better option.

A VPS includes features such as root access allowing you to make any modification you need, such as custom security and software installations. You don’t have to worry about being affected by other websites on the server and can also manage your own email reputation and dedicated IP address.

3. How Quickly Will My Website Grow?

The next question you need to ask yourself is how quickly you plan on your website growing. A VPS can be easily upgraded or even temporarily upgraded, so it is considered easily scalable. Essentially, it is just a matter of allocating more resources to your account.

Keep in mind that a Shared hosting plan can be upgraded at any time, but keep in mind the process typically requires you to be migrated to a new server location.

4. Does My Site Use a Lot of Resources?

An important step when deciding how to choose between shared hosting vs VPS is determining how many resources your website uses, or will use in the future. How much bandwidth and disk space does your site use? Also, if your site is coded in a way that causes heavy load or you receive a large influx of traffic, a VPS is recommended since it would be able to handle it better.

5. Do I Need WHM Access?

WebHost Manager, also known as WHM is a tool that is only available on a VPS account. There you can manage many aspects of your hosting account, and have access to EasyApache which helps you quickly install or upgrade server software. This also includes many features such as the ability to create multiple cPanel accounts which is useful for web developers. You also have the ability to update the interface branding with your own logos and resell hosting plans.

VPS Hosting vs Shared Hosting FAQs

What is Shared Hosting?

Shared Hosting is a popular, inexpensive, entry-level web hosting product, often attractive for small and medium businesses, portfolios, and websites with moderate amounts of traffic. In a Shared Server environment, multiple websites reside on a single server and share resources, including storage, bandwidth, and disk space. With Shared Hosting, the web host is responsible for all server maintenance and upkeep.

Refer to our guide for a comprehensive overview of What is Shared Hosting.

What is VPS Hosting?

VPS Hosting, short for Virtual Private Server Hosting, is a versatile solution that balances the benefits of shared hosting and dedicated servers. VPS Hosting is a reliable and scalable hosting option, with full root access, you can customize your virtualized server environment, install software, and make configurations to fit your specific requirements. VPS hosting also offers enhanced security and isolation, making it suitable for projects handling sensitive data or requiring advanced security.

What is the difference between a Managed VPS and an Unmanaged Cloud VPS?

Managed VPS Hosting is a plan that offers complete hands-off management of your server. The management of the server such as OS security patches, cPanel or CWP, and WHM updates, is overseen by a team of in-house experts.

Self-managed Cloud VPS has cheaper options, as they do not come with cPanel, nor other graphical user interface (GUI) software for server management, only SSH. These servers are for technical users with command-line capabilities, and who don’t need assistance with their hosting plan.

Can I easily upgrade or downgrade my InMotion VPS Hosting plan?

Upgrading and downgrading your VPS hosting plan is simple and easy. If you’ve outgrown or underutilized your current plan, you can easily sign in to your Account Management Panel to upgrade or downgrade your plan to match your current hosting needs.

What data center locations do you offer for VPS and Shared Hosting?

InMotion Hosting offers VPS Hosting within our data center locations in California and Virginia, USA, as well as within a European data center in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

You should now be familiar with the ten main differences between an InMotion VPS vs a Shared hosting plan and know what to ask yourself when deciding. Hopefully, you can use this information to better determine the right plan for your website.

Upgrade to VPS Hosting for Peak Performance

Upgrade to InMotion VPS Hosting today for top-notch performance, security, and flexibility, and save up to $2,493 – a faster, stronger hosting solution is just a click away!

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2 thoughts on “Shared Hosting vs VPS Hosting – How Do I Choose?

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