Shared Hosting vs VPS Hosting

When you’re thinking of purchasing a web hosting plan, there are a wide variety of options. What type of hosting plan do you need? What qualities or features are most important for your business? When it comes to Shared Hosting vs VPS Hosting, what’s right for you? Below, we’ll carry out a hosting plan comparison and look at both Shared Hosting and Virtual Private Server (VPS) plans with a LAMP/LEMP stack.

Plan Overviews – Shared Hosting Or VPS

Domain management and NVMe SSD technology have little effect when comparing a shared server to a VPS with both features.

Shared Hosting

Many first-time website owners start with a Shared Hosting plan. Why? Because it’s almost always the cheapest option and using it doesn’t require any specific knowledge of systems administration or server maintenance.

One way to think about Shared Hosting is to view it like living in an apartment. Apartments have amenities that everyone in the apartment complex shares. When you sign the rental papers, you are agreeing to share all these resources, such as the parking lot and playground. Shared Hosting is very similar. Every website that is hosted on Shared Hosting must share all the available resources. In Shared Hosting, the amenities would be memory and disk space, to list a few. But there is a lot to go around.

Shared Hosting is cheap, yet still full of features! All of our Shared Hosting plans come with cPanel access, the ability to create multiple email addresses, plenty of storage space for your websites, and free SSL certificates. Shared Hosting lets you start small and upgrade to more space and features as you build your online presence.

Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting

VPS Hosting brings greater features beyond Shared Hosting. A VPS is like owning a condo. Condos usually have several shared amenities, such as a swimming pool and parking lot. Even though these are shared, you are personally responsible to maintain your condo. One big difference between a condo and an apartment is that there are fewer people. Being very similar to a condo, VPS Hosting has fewer number of customers, allowing for greater resources. There are still a few things you have to share with your ‘hosting neighbors’, but the overall shared resources are greater. And no other user can affect your access to your share of resources.

VPS plans also provide you with root access. On any server, the root account is the most important: with root access you can access any files, change any configuration, and install any program. Do you want to throw 90% of your available resources and bandwidth behind a single site, rather than providing each with a preconfigured amount? Do you want to install a niche web framework from 15 years ago because it is vitally important to your business? You can do nearly anything on a VPS!

However, when you’re just starting out with your website, it’s important to be careful with root access. A virtual private server is a great option if you’re looking for more control than a shared hosting account, but it also comes with more responsibility. If something goes wrong, you could end up taking your whole site down. That’s why it’s important to familiarize yourself with the server before you make any changes. Once you’re comfortable with the basics, you can start exploring all the possibilities that root access provides. Just remember to take things slow at first, and you’ll be able to avoid any potential pitfalls.

The best part is, our VPS Hosting Plans are managed. That means that, while you have the power of a SysAdmin, our expert team of SysAdmins are still managing the server node your VPS is on. Need us to update your database software or operating system? Our team can help!

Important to note, a VPS is not a VPN (virtual private network). Learn more about the VPS vs VPN question.

The Unmanaged Variety

For those with the experience, unmanaged cloud servers are the most affordable option, but they require some more setup to use properly. Unmanaged cloud servers and unmanaged VPS servers both provide a flexible and customizable platform for running software applications. However, there are some key differences between these two types of servers. For one thing, unmanaged cloud servers typically run popular Linux distributions such as Debian or Ubuntu, though other options are available.

Additionally, unmanaged cloud servers are often equipped with more advanced features such as load balancing and high availability mechanisms, allowing you to easily scale your server according to your needs. Unmanaged VPS servers may also offer more flexibility in terms of customizability and control over individual processes. Overall, whether you choose an unmanaged cloud server or an unmanaged VPS server depends largely on your specific technical needs and budget. Regardless of which option you choose, however, both provide an excellent way to achieve greater control over your applications and resources.

One of the major downsides of unmanaged for most users, in spite of the low cost, is that they don’t come up with email. You have to install and manage your own email services, and the DNS configuration as well.

What are the Key Differences – Shared Hosting vs. VPS Hosting?

When you get a Shared Hosting plan, you should expect to work within the cPanel ecosystem. You will be creating a website and either directly coding it yourself with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP or you will (more commonly) be installing a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress or Moodle. Shared plans let you quickly and easily get up to speed with established, popular software.

WordPress is a popular CMS used on VPS Hosting Plans because it provides WordPress administrators a greater degree of control and freedom. A VPS gives you the resources you need to set up a large eCommerce store or complete advanced WordPress configurations. Further, if you want to install a custom site framework, you’ll definitely need a VPS.

Reasons to Upgrade to a VPS

1) You Need Root Access

Maybe you need to run custom site code that requires administrator permissions. Maybe you need to install a site framework that InMotion does not normally support. Whatever your reason, if you need root access to customize your account, you’ll need to upgrade to a VPS.

2) Resource Issues

Are you about to undertake a national product launch and expect much more traffic than ever before? Are you setting a site up with live, constant updates and need to make sure every single aspect of your site is as fast as possible? Do you need to customize your site performance beyond what a shared plan’s cPanel is capable of? Upgrade to a VPS and unlock the power you need.

It’s easy to upgrade an existing account to a VPS Hosting Plan in your Account Management Panel (AMP).

3) You Want to Learn as You Go

It’s fun to learn how to manage a server! “It sounds cool and I want one” is a perfectly valid reason to upgrade. Everyone here at InMotion is interested in tech, and getting behind the keyboard of a powerful server is a great way to learn. That said, it might not be the best idea to switch your primary business server to a VPS if you’ve never used one before.

Consider getting a second account instead of a replacement. Take your time learning about what you can do on a VPS and leave your business up and running on a shared plan. Proper malware security measures require more effort than many anticipate. Once you’re ready, it’s easy to move an old shared account onto a VPS.

Reasons to Stick With Shared

1) You Don’t Have a System Administrator

If you don’t have a sysadmin (system administrator), you are the sysadmin.

Our team does everything we can to support you on our Managed VPS. That said, even with that support, you will need to be comfortable carrying out basic sysadmin (system administrator) tasks. You will need to (eventually) be comfortable with the command line.

You don’t need to be an expert sysadmin right away. Gradually, you can learn to SSH into your server, restore backups from a variety of sources, and manage account resources to make sure a given account has everything it needs. You’ll need to make sure everything from your control panel and database software to your server software and OS are up to date.

These are straightforward tasks, we have guides to help out with all of them, and our expert Support Team is here to assist you 24/7/365. Still, you need to feel comfortable with the possibility that you yourself may have to get in there and take control over particular aspects of your sever.

2) You Don’t Have Time for Email Management

Email has been around for so long, we tend to take it for granted. On shared hosting plans, InMotion manages IP addresses and makes sure to rotate them as needed. If you are accidentally blacklisted, we’ll help you contest the issue.

On a VPS, you will have more responsibility for your account and IP address. It’s not always easy to find the line between keeping your customers up-to-date and endlessly spamming everyone in your contacts list. If you plan to manage your email on a VPS, and plan to use a lot of it, be ready for the work and effort it will involve.

3) Your Business Doesn’t Need to Upgrade

Not every business needs a VPS. Getting a VPS is not an instant way to get more money. You may not have the site traffic, site design, or customer base growth to justify the extra power. If you’re happy with your online presence and your business is performing well, focus on what’s important. We’ll be here when you ultimately do need to upgrade.

4) You’re a Web Designer Who Just Needs WHM

WHM is a great piece of software that allows you to create and manage multiple cPanel accounts. If you have numerous clients, it may seem like a good idea to upgrade just to have access to WHM.

The thing is, you don’t actually need to get a VPS to have access to WHM. Any of our Shared Reseller accounts come with WHM. The main difference is that you cannot get root access on a Shared Reseller account. This is no problem if you just want to make WordPress sites for your clients, providing them basic cPanel access. Just remember that if you ever need to do custom installs or advanced server-level configurations, you’ll need to upgrade.

cPanel accounts are no longer unlimited. For more details, please see this guide on the cost of cPanel licenses.

We hope that gives you a good idea of the difference between a Shared Hosting vs VPS Hosting Plan. Want to become a sysadmin yourself? Apply to InMotion’s Technical Pipeline Program today!

Enjoy high-performance, lightning-fast servers with increased security and maximum up-time with our Managed VPS Hosting!
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