Web Hosting is a business for some companies and the primary requirement of users who want to start a blog, deploy an app, etc. Frankly speaking, hosting is a topic of confusion for newbie bloggers and inexperienced web developers. Why it is a confusing topic? When you’ll visit the website of a host, you’ll find the terms VPS, Cloud, Shared, Managed, Unmanaged, etc.
What are these terms? Well, hosting is divided into several categories. Two of the main and widely used categories of hosting are shared and VPS. Below, I’ve explained the similarities and differences between these two services.
- Shared hosting
- Shared vs VPS vs Cloud: Which hosting you should use?
Shared Hosting is the cheapest form of hosting available anywhere in the world. Its plans start at $2.95. The price of the plans depends on the service the hosting provider is offering. For example, if the company is offering an automated backup service or a dedicated IP address, it may charge you more than $2.95. Here are the important features of a shared server:
Ideal for low/medium traffic websites
Shared hosting is recommended for websites having medium or low traffic. The service provider will offer you a custom-built control panel or cPanel/WHM for managing the site.
Several websites are on the same server
A shared hosting service provider may use the WP multi-site feature to host several sites on the same machine. As mentioned above, your website will be hosted with several sites on the same server. This means the sites will share the same hardware and software.
Easy to use
As cPanel software is offered, it is easy to manage a website. The control panel enables you to modify files, copy/paste files, back up the site, edit the .htaccess file, set up redirects, ban IP addresses, enable SSL, etc.
Supported is included
As shared hosting is used by non-technical users, the companies providing this service offer 24 x 7 support. The top firms offer live chat support. They also provide email/ticket support i.e. when you send an email to the technical support team, the team will create a new ticket. The company will share the ticket number with you and its current status. The team will close the ticket when the problem you’re facing is solved.
Although the plans are cheap, you should not host your site with companies that don’t have a good reputation or are new in the business. Here are the nine best shared hosting plans:
Bluehost and Hostgator are two of the oldest companies. They’re trustworthy, reliable, and the best in the business.
VPS (Virtual Private Server)
In a VPS hosting, a dedicated server’s resources are partitioned using virtualization software. Each partition has a fixed amount of RAM, storage memory, and one/several processor cores. Virtual Private Servers are of the following three types:
In this type of hosting, the user should install software and configure the server by themselves. Here are some important things you should know about an unmanaged VPS:
License needed for cPanel
To use cPanel or other similar software, you’ll have to buy its license. When you buy the license, you’ll have to install and configure the software yourself.
This type of hosting is suitable only for tech geeks or people who are willing to learn new technologies i.e. people with good knowledge of Linux, and the application/web/database server they’ll use. For example, PHP code is executed by the Zend server/PHP interpreter. Java is a programming language that is supported by Wildyfly, Tomcat servers, etc. Nginx and Apache are two of the most popular web servers. If you have never used Linux before or you’re a non-technical person, you should stay away from unmanaged hosting.
Managed hosting is the best option for business websites or for individuals that are looking for VPS that will be managed by the company’s staff. Things you should know about managed hosting:
Updates are taken care of by the staff
The executives of the cloud hosting providers update the server’s software when a new version of OS or the already installed software is available. In some cases, the company will display an option to change the application server, web server, interpreter version with a few clicks of the mouse.
Your websites will be deployed on a powerful VPS with the latest hardware and software. Some managed hosting companies provide custom-built caching solutions/CDN to improve the site’s performance. Hence, the site’s performance will be great.
As engineers will take care of your server and your site’s performance, managed hosting plans are expensive. When your site has slowed down, you just have to contact the company’s technical support executive.
Managed hosting companies may provide custom-built software for installing popular frameworks or apps. You don’t have to be a technical person to understand and use this control panel.
The best WordPress managed hosting companies are WP Engine, Kinsta, WPX Hosting.
Cloud hosting is similar to unmanaged VPS. The major difference between these two services is scalability is supported by cloud servers. A VPS may/may not allow you to add extra RAM, storage, etc. Features of cloud hosting are as follows:
Managed cloud hosting service providers are powered by the unmanaged cloud companies. For example, Kinsta uses Google Cloud infrastructure. CloudWays lets you choose the cloud service of your choice i.e. it supports Amazon AWS, Linode, Google Cloud, etc.
Cloud hosting service providers offer a basic tool for installing LEMP, LAMP stack, web apps such as WordPress, Drupal, etc. They don’t provide a control panel.
Most of the cloud hosting firms support hourly billing i.e. you can create and use a cloud VPS for a few hours and destroy the VPS when you’re done using it.
Cloud hosting is suitable for sites whose traffic can explode at any time or is increasing every day. They are also used by web applications whose user base is increasing every day or need extra CPU power/RAM/Storage for a short duration of time.
Some of the top cloud hosting companies are as follows:
- Google Cloud, Amazon AWS.
- Microsoft Azure, Linode, Digital Ocean.
- Hetzner Cloud, Interserver, Amazon LightSail
If you’re new to hosting or you’re going to use Frameworks or CMS such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal only, you should use shared web hosting. If you know Linux or you’re a programmer, you should use unmanaged hosting. If you do so, you’ll save some money. If you need a reliable hosting service and you care only about your online existence or business, use managed hosting.
I hope, you’ve understood the differences between a shared and a VPS server.
Image source: Pixabay
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