When you’re thinking of purchasing a web hosting plan, there are a wide variety of options to choose from. 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.
- Plan Overviews
- What are the Key Differences?
- Reasons to Upgrade to a VPS
- Reasons to Stick With Shared
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 which 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 to this. 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.
Shared Hosting is affordable, 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 which you have to share with your ‘hosting neighbors’, but the overall shared resources are greater.
VPS plans 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!
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!
What are the Key Differences?
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
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.
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 resources 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).
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. Once you’re ready, it’s easy to move an old shared account onto a VPS.
Reasons to Stick With Shared
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 cPanel and database software to your server software and OS update regularly.
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.
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 if something goes wrong. 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.
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 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.
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.
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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!