Differences Between Shared, VPS, and Dedicated Web Hosting

Learn About the Differences Between Shared, VPS, and Dedicated Web Hosting

With all the different types of web hosting available, it can be confusing as to which one is right for you. Do you choose Shared Hosting, Managed VPS Hosting, or a Dedicated web hosting plan? You may just be wondering what is a VPS or shared hosting?

In this guide, we will explain what Shared, VPS, & Dedicated hosting plans are and list out the differences between them so you can determine which is right for you.

Are you wondering what is a VPS or shared server? This video will help you understand.

Hosting Platform Analogies

Shared Hosting

Shared Hosting is very similar to living in an Apartment Complex. All residents are in the same location and must share the available resources with everyone including the pool, parking lot, and playground. In shared hosting, all accounts must share the available resources with all the other accounts on the server. These include CPU time, memory, and disk space. Our System Administrators monitor all of our shared servers 24/7.

Managed VPS Hosting

Managed VPS Hosting includes our VPS 2GB RAM, VPS 4GB RAM, VPS 6GB RAM, and VPS 8GB RAM plans and is similar to owning a Condo. While you still share things on the property, you are ultimately responsible for maintaining your own property and repairs inside the condo. There are also significantly fewer residents per building.

On a Virtual Private Server (VPS), not all resources are shared. The overall CPU time and memory are shared across all accounts on the machine, but at the same time, portions of those resources are always dedicated to each account. This allows for more power and flexibility than being on a shared account.

Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated Hosting includes our Essential, Advanced, and Elite Dedicated Server Hosting Plans. Dedicated Hosting can be compared to owning a house. You have access to all the resources available on the machine and no one else’s account resides on the machine (your house).

Apartment Living to Condo Living

Shared accounts are great for most users as you can host all sorts of applications on them (such as WordPress) and there are plenty of email accounts to go around. If you compare Shared Hosting to apartment living, a need for an upgrade may arise if you have:

  • A growing family: If your family grows more than what your apartment can handle, then it may be time to upgrade. In Shared Hosting, if your website becomes popular, you may need to upgrade to Managed VPS Hosting for more CPU and Memory for your account. This will allow you to handle all the new traffic coming to your site.
  • Customizations: If you love the color red and want to paint your walls red, you may not have permission to in an apartment. Moving up to a Condo gives you more ownership of your space, allowing you to paint and decorate however you choose. If you require software that is not available in Shared Hosting, upgrading to Managed VPS Hosting will allow you to install any software that you would like!

Condo Living to Single Family Home Living

Keeping with the condo analogy, you have a lot of control, but you don’t have complete control. There are many reasons that a Condo was great for you at one point in your life, but you’re at the point where you have a big family and there’s a lot going on every day. You may decide to buy a single-family home, where you’ll have plenty of parking and extra bathrooms.

Managed VPS Servers are great for mid-sized businesses because you have a virtualized private server that you can set up and tweak exactly the way you want. A Managed VPS Server is not a Dedicated Server, however, so you are still on a server with other users and your actions can negatively affect them. For example, if you have a very busy website, dominating the server’s CPU time and memory could cause performance issues with other users on the same server.

Shared Hosting vs Dedicated Hosting

There are a number of factors that impact the cost and value of Dedicated Hosting in comparison to Shared Hosting. Below are just a few examples of how dedicated servers differ from shared servers.

Server Performance

One of the potential downsides of shared hosting is that the server shares resources across all users housed within it. This can sometimes lead to a “noisy neighbors” situation where your hosting experience is diminished by resource-intensive actions of other users on the same server.

By contrast, a dedicated server will have faster response times and greater reliability as it is not impacted by the operations of other users on the server. This is due to having a dedicated server with resources that are only available to you.

For example, InMotion’s most affordable Dedicated server includes a 3.50GHz Turbo Xeon processor, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, 1TB SSD, and 8MB of CPU Cache for each account. This means you would only be affected by your own resource usage and not other people that you are “sharing” the server with.

Customization

A shared hosting service must limit the software installed by multiple users. If not, something malicious could be uploaded that could affect your server’s security. Broken scripts can cause every site on the server to go down. On the plus side, less customization means a much easier learning curve.

A dedicated server gives you more room to customize. You can install optimized software that meets your company and customer requirements without worrying about restrictions or impacting another company’s websites.

With root user access you have unlimited permission to modify any aspect of the server you want. You can make custom modifications specific to the needs of your website or applications.

Compare the Customization Differences Between Shared, VPS, and Dedicated Web Hosting

Server Security

If someone else on your shared server suffers from a hack, your server and all sites on it can suffer performance degradation. In addition, your site’s security could become compromised, particularly if you allow financial transactions on your site or store private customer information.

On a dedicated server, you do not have to worry about other users compromising the entire server. Additionally, you can increase your security by installing hardware and software firewalls as well as powerful security tools that require root-level access not available on shared hosting platforms.

For example, on a dedicated server you can modify port settings, make custom firewall rules, or configure DNSSEC just to name a few.

VPS Hosting vs Dedicated Hosting

While there are many subtle differences between VPS hosting and dedicated server hosting, here are a few examples of how they differ.

Speed

While users on VPS platforms are partitioned into discrete virtual environments, they all still share the same physical hardware and can only access a fraction of the total system resources.

In dedicated hosting, all system resources are available to the user by default. Having access to these resources improves page load times and increases website responsiveness. It is important to remember that the faster a page loads the more likely a visitor will stay on your site.

Price

Generally speaking, VPS hosting is going to cost much less than any dedicated plan. The reduced cost is due to the shared nature of VPS hosting. This is important to keep in mind when considering your web hosting budget.

Dedicated hosting, by contrast, can be quite expensive due to hardware costs and data center operations. For this reason, dedicated servers are best suited for large-scale applications such as eCommerce businesses.

Scalability

When it comes to expanding your site or increasing the amount of storage you need, a VPS is often the superior solution. Since VPS platforms are managed virtually, upgrading your storage can be done by allocating additional resources from the existing pool of memory.

With dedicated hosting, you will need to physically add additional drives to the server. This costs money and time and can cause downtime on your site as the hardware is installed.

Still not sure if Dedicated Hosting is right for you? Learn more about the uses of dedicated hosting, the importance of data center location, and aspects to consider when looking to upgrade your hosting.

Shared and Dedicated IP Addresses

An IP Address is the unique number tied to a website, computer, or other internet connected device that allows it to receive and transmit data on the world wide web. A website or account with a shared IP address will use the same IP address as other accounts on a server, while an account with one or more dedicated IP addresses can have exclusive use of a particular IP address.

Shared IP addresses are a great choice for saving money. Using a dedicated IP address can make certain aspects of site management and email administration much easier. Generally, all of our Shared Hosting accounts use shared IP addresses, while VPS, Cloud, and Dedicated Hosting accounts all come with a certain number of dedicated IP addresses. If you’d like to add a dedicated IP address to a Shared Hosting account, or add additional dedicated IP address to your VPS, Cloud, or Dedicated Hosting account, you can always purchase dedicated IP addresses within the Account Management Panel (AMP).

Shared Hosting & Managed Shared WordPress HostingManaged VPS Hosting, Cloud Hosting Reseller, & Cloud Business SolutionsManaged Dedicated Hosting & Bare Metal Servers
Shared IP, option to buy dedicated IP3 Dedicated IPs, option to buy more5 to 15 dedicated IPs, depending on plan, with option to buy more
Enjoy high-performance, lightning-fast servers with increased security and maximum up-time with our Managed VPS Hosting!
JB
John-Paul Briones Content Writer II

John-Paul is an Electronics Engineer that spent most of his career in IT. He has been a Technical Writer for InMotion since 2013.

More Articles by John-Paul

60 Comments

  • Epic fail to not even mention which plans include exclusive use of your own IP and which plans involve sharing an IP. For us this is one of the most important factors when it comes to choosing a host and one of their plans. We will never ever again share an IP address with other users. Getting our mail delivered to our customers is the most important thing we do, and having your own IP is a necessity in that regard!

    • Thanks for bringing this to my attention Art. You’re right, the article should point out that Shared Hosting uses a shared IP address, while the VPS and Dedicated Hosting plans come with one or more dedicated IP addresses. It looks like that information got left out when we consolidated a few related articles into this single article. I’ll make sure it gets added back in!

  • Great analogy on types of hosting  here. Was a complete novice before now and reason I typed the question on what is the difference between the different types of hosting? And it brought me right here where the difference was clearly explained to a layperson like me. Really appreciate it. Very helpful piece indeed. God bless the author. 

  • I am planning to buy a hosting account for https://www.bookhut.net/ I am not sure what hosting plan to have…. I have a low to medium user base…

    • If you reach out to our Sales / Onboarding team, they will be able to help you select the right plan for your website and the traffic it gets.

  •  

    I really loved the analogy you pointed out between various hosting services and our style of living. It was a completely new and fun way of learning the different types of hosting platforms. Keep up the good work!

  • We moved our website from Shared hosting to VPS, after that it became very slow than the shared hosting, when i checked with hosting company, they were telling that there may be configation issues, Could you please tell me what the configuration I should maintain while moving to shared to VPS

    • The server configuration will depend how your website is coded and developed. For example, you may require atypical services for your site to function (such as TomCat, NGINX, etc.)

      Typically, optimizing your site will address website issues. For example, set up caching, resizing large images to the specific size needed, and parse javascripts to the bottom of the site.

      Our live support team is happy to review your server for obvious issues, and your developer should be able to list specific services/configurations they require.

      Thank you,
      John-Paul

  • Great analogies.

    Very simple for a beginner to understand.

    Thanks for making a confusing situation crystal clear.

    Very much appreciated

  • hello my site https://www.letmetell.net having 1000 page vies per days, i would like to choose inmotion hosting which plan is best to me.thank you

    • Hello Sanju,

      The best hosting package will depend on your needs and plans for the site. Please contact our sales team if you have any questions regarding the plan that best fits you. You can contact our sales team through email/phone/skype/chat.

      If you have any further questions or comments, please let us know.

      Regards,
      Arnel C.

    • Hello SB,

      In order to make any type of request from a hosting server, the browser uses a protocol called HTTP. The browser can also communicate with hosting servers using FTP in some cases. There are also secure variations on these protocols. So, if you’re trying to use a public hosting service, it is generally using a web server that works with those protocols. If you’re trying to find something that is not using a fully qualified domain name, then you would not be using these hosting servers. Requests can be made to a server but there must some type of protocol or method in order to recognize the request, and then be able to respond or transmit. Please consult with a developer if you rerquire further assistance.

      If you have any further questions or comments, please let us know.

      Regards,
      Arnel C.

  • I was just gathering some info related to web hosting for a small project and came across this resouce. Excellent piece of work by the author! Keep up the good work and post many more related to this domain. Will keep following…

  • What a nicely balanced post on shared hosting, VPS & dedicated server! It gives clear cut information on what these web hosting services are & who should use it& why, great insights! 

  • Shared hosting is the most commonly used method of hosting, and is used for customers who have chosen trial or low-cost hosting packages. Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting is like living in a simplex or half-plex where you can customize everything to your own tastes. However, you still need to maintain your own area.
  • A good article, I like these compelling examples of apartment types. VPS and dedicated seem to be one and the same thing, at the first glance. But this text helped me to realize it’s not so. This blog also aided me in understanding the essential difference between hosting types.

  • I’m sorry but you took the analogies way too far.  I want a simplified but not completely dummed down version of the tech explanations.  Everyone knows that dedicated is better than vps is better than shared.  Simple enough.  But I was looking for the actual stats that one would get from each.  Example: what percent speed increase from one level to another?  what volume ideal for each? etc.

    This article was an insult to my intelligence. Seriously.  I don’t need to be told that shared is like a bicycle, vps is like a moped, and dedicated is like a car.  I want more details to make my own decisions.  Can’t believe this article is at the top of Google for this topic.  Gees.

    • Hello DML,

      Thank you for commenting on our article. We have comparison charts, and specifications for our plans here:

      The actual speed and ideal volume really depends on the nature of your websites, and how they are coded/built. For example, basic HTML pages would run really fast on any platform, vs PHP based websites with many scripts and calls to the database.

      If you have any further questions, feel free to post them below.

      Thank you,
      John-Paul

  • In the world, there is a minute number of Geeks, The rest of web users are just ordinary who understand the ordinary language. The article is for all those users who also want to share the fun of www.

    Very well writte,

  • Seriously considering leaving my current provider for InMotion.  Does InMotion have a way to prevent web sites in shared servers from tying in or consuming all resources?  For example, I keep seeing the “too many connections” MySQL message.  We do know it isn’t us, but another site on the same server.  Is there a way to prevent abuse?

    • Hello David,

      Thanks for the question about shared servers. Currently, there is no way to completely isolate different shared server accounts from consuming too many resources other than by actively monitoring their use. Monitoring is carried out 24/7 by live techs watching the servers. VPS offer more in the way of what you are asking, and dedicated server resources provide the resources of the server only to your websites.

      If you have any further questions, please let us know.

      Kindest regards,
      Arnel C.

  • I am looking to start with email marketing. Can you suggest which type of hosting would be better, particuarly from Spamhaux block perspective. 🙂

    • You’ll want to use a VPS so you can have complete control over your emails. It’s important to rate limit the sending of emails as well as conform to CAN-SPAM.

  • Great article! With the information that’s given, would be very helpful for hosting beginners. Hope to see an article on domain names for beginners. The difference between the two. Thanks overall for the useful information

  • Great analogies – and nice job to whoever wrote this.  I will definitely save this article as it will make it very easy for my clients to learn the difference between hosting environments.

  • Thanks you Dude you Solve my Questions Easly Thanks you So Much i like you Article so much 🙂

  • shared hosting allows and resides numerous websites on a single server. It gives 99.95% uptime guaranteed, unlimited disk storage and 24X7 effective customer support services. A Virtual Private Server is a great option for all small scale companies. It is one of the web hosting techniques that bridge the gap between a dedicated server and a shared hosting server. Dedicated servers function exclusively for any given business and such resources are generally shared by multiple users.

  • the explanation is just I wanted to have …. not confusion is bothering me r8 now … tnx a lot to the EDITOR …. 

  • Shared hosting helps you to host your multiple websites with the same web hosting account. VPS hosting services are reliable and efficient. Dedicated hosting gives the fast speed and high performance that helps in your business growth.

  • Wow, great article. The metaphors are fantastic and really helped differentiate everything without being to complex.

    Thank you so much for clearing my doubts.

  • Thats a great post on shared and vps hosting.nicely explained its usage.Thanks for sharing! Quite useful information, nicely outlined.

  • Great explaination about different type of hostings. What hosting should I choose for a site receiveing over 15k-20k pageviews per day? My site is – https://www.***********.net

    • Hello Priyangshu,

      Thank you for our question. Since it really depends on the nature of your website, please contact our Sales team. They are very knowledgeable, and will be happy to review your specific needs.

      If you have any further questions, feel free to post them below.
      Thank you,

      -John-Paul

  • I can say that you can use web hosting services according to your business needs. I would go for a dedicated server because it is used for big companies and institutions and you have full control over the server.

  • I love your article. I hope to see more useful information from you about web hosting and domain name! 🙂

Leave a Reply to Anay Cancel reply