Whether you need to host a website or an application, choosing the right type of hosting can be difficult. For websites that are more demanding on system resources or expecting higher traffic volumes, VPS hosting and Dedicated hosting are two potentially good choices.
While most of the equation lies in the needs of your website, this guide will help you determine the strengths of either option.
What is VPS Web Hosting?
VPS, or Virtual Private Server hosting, is a type of web hosting that allows you to run and manage a virtual server. When you sign up for VPS hosting, you get a dedicated amount of resources from a single physical server. For example, RAM, CPU power, and storage space.
Each physical server can play host to dozens of VPS accounts. You’re essentially all housed in the same location while being placed in an isolated environment. This virtualized isolation offers distinct advantages in terms of performance, customizability, and security.
What is Dedicated Hosting?
Dedicated hosting refers to a single dedicated server allocated for your needs. The entire physical server is under your sole purview. There will never be other customers assigned to or allowed to use the resources of that server.
The vital thing to understand in dedicated hosting is that the server's owner is your hosting provider, not you. You only get a temporary lease of it. However, while your hosting plan is in force, you can do anything you like with the survey as long as you comply with the hosts’ terms and conditions of service.
VPS vs. Dedicated Hosting
On the surface, it may seem that there’s little difference between VPS hosting and dedicated hosting. However, small but subtle differences are amplified depending on what you use the hosting plan for.
Although resources are handled similarly in VPS and dedicated hosting, the key difference often lies in the hardware. VPS hosting customers often have no choice in the quality of server hardware. The server is virtualized and simply adopts the characteristics of whatever servers your host chooses to use.
Dedicated server customers, however, often can choose their exact server configuration. That means details like CPU (and hence, the precise speed and threading performance), memory type, and even storage units. For example, you can opt for a dedicated server with a specific Intel Xeon processor or choose an AMD Epyc processor instead.
This minor difference means the ultimate performance of dedicated hosting can be far superior to VPS hosting. That can be a game changer for those needing the extra performance, such as massive-volume website hosting or mission-critical application hosting.
The sad reality is that there is little obvious difference in reliability between VPS and dedicated hosting. Despite the much higher cost of dedicated servers, both hosting plans ultimately reside on single physical servers. That means both are vulnerable to things like hardware failure.
Both VPS and dedicated hosting offer similar levels of security. If unmanaged plans are selected, much of the responsibility for securing the server falls to you, the customer. It may prove more vulnerable than even the cheapest shared hosting plan if you don’t have the skills to protect your server adequately.
There can be an argument that VPS hosting is more vulnerable since multiple customers use the same physical server. However, this technicality is often minor in the overall security picture.
VPS and dedicated hosting allow you fantastic customizability for the web hosting environment. Opting for either will allow you to build the entire ecosystem from the ground up – from Operating Systems to middleware and front-facing applications.
Scalability is another central point of difference between VPS hosting and dedicated hosting. Scalability refers to the ability to increase the number of resources on your hosting plan, giving it the potential for better performance.
VPS plans are highly scalable and often effortless for you to do. Most web hosting providers offer VPS customers a simple toggle or other selectors that let you scale up the VPS server. Once activated, the scaling is almost instantaneous – or at the very least, takes minutes.
For customers of dedicated servers, what you purchase (well, in actuality, rent) is what you’re stuck on. Scaling up operations isn’t easy and will involve moving to another hosting plan that offers more resources. Scaling up can prove to be a costly and time-consuming endeavor.
Because VPS hosting allows multiple users to occupy a single server, the cost splits among several customers. Additionally, thanks to scalability, you can get a lower-end VPS plan and scale up as you need more resources, making it highly cost-efficient.
Dedicated servers need to be rented in their entirety since only you get access. Moving to a new server can be expensive and challenging if you don’t rent a server with sufficient resources. This phenomenon results in many dedicated server owners paying massive sums for underutilized resources.
To give a more stark example of the potential difference in price, here are some samples of VPS versus Dedicated hosting prices:
While this may not represent an apple to apple comparison, it should serve as some framework of the price discrepancy between the two options.
Final Thoughts: Choosing VPS is a Smart Choice
Because of the massive cost discrepancy between VPS hosting and dedicated hosting, VPS is often the far superior choice. Unless extreme compliance or performance requirements exist, there is little argument for signing up for a dedicated server.