Finding the right hosting for your small business isn’t always easy. You want to make sure that the hosting you choose is reliable, fast, and of course, affordable.

For many businesses, this means choosing between shared hosting and virtual private server (VPS) hosting. In this article, learn the differences between these two popular hosting technologies so that you can figure out which one is best for your situation.

Key Takeaways:

  • Just as implied, shared hosting involves several users on a single server.
  • VPS hosting is the least popular choice due to the cost and limited features.
  • You’ll need to pay attention to your budget when deciding between shared and VPS hosting.
UI icons and layouts
Source: WP Engine

What Is Shared Hosting?

Shared hosting is a technology where multiple different customers are given access to a single web server. Each customer is set up with their own account so that they can only see and change files in their environment. All of the websites that run off of the one server, however, are sharing all of the system resources.

In most cases, a shared web server is going to be a powerful server that has a lot of disk space, central processing units (CPUs), memory, and other resources so that dozens, or even hundreds, of websites, can run off of the one server.

When things are set up properly, this allows all of the sites to run smoothly since none of the sites are going to be using up all of the system resources at one time. Shared hosting is generally used for smaller sites that don’t get a lot of traffic.

What Are the Advantages of Shared Hosting?

Shared hosting is the most commonly used technology for websites, and with good reason. There are many advantages of this type of hosting, including the following:

Affordable: Since a lot of sites are using one server, the hosting company can offer this service for a low monthly fee.

Rapid setup: A new hosting account can be created in minutes so that you can set up a new website and have it online immediately

Advanced servers: Reputable shared hosting companies use advanced servers for their shared environments. This allows entry-level sites to take advantage of premium servers without having to pay the full cost

What Are the Disadvantages of Shared Hosting?

Of course, shared hosting isn’t going to be for everyone. There are some big downsides to using this technology, which are as follows:

Shared resources: You’re sharing all the system resources on the server. If several servers are having a lot of traffic at a given time, it can cause them all to experience slow response times.

Vulnerable to attacks: If one site on your server experiences a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, and the hosting company doesn’t provide effective DDoS mitigation services, it could take your site offline as well.

Limited growth: Your site can only have a limited amount of growth before the hosting company cannot upgrade you any further. When this happens, they often migrate you to a VPS hosting solution.

What Is VPS Hosting?

VPS hosting is where one server is divided up into multiple virtual environments, which is somewhat similar to a shared hosting server. The difference is that each virtual environment is assigned system resources for exclusive use.

In most cases, VPS hosting also has far fewer sites on a physical server than you would find on a shared hosting account.

What Are the Advantages of VPS Hosting?

There are many benefits to going with a VPS hosting account over a shared hosting solution. Look at some of the main reasons why VPS hosting is so popular with small to midsized businesses (SMBs):

  • Dedicated resources: Your website has dedicated resources on the server so that you don’t need to share them with other sites. This helps to minimize the impact other sites on the server can have on your site.
  • Greater control: Most VPS hosting companies allow you to configure your virtual environment however you want. This means you can choose operating systems, versions of software, and much more.
  • Affordable: While VPS hosting generally is more expensive than shared hosting, you can still get it at very affordable rates based on the server resources you need.

What Are the Disadvantages of VPS Hosting?

VPS hosting is a great option, but it isn’t right for every situation. The following disadvantages need to be considered before signing up for VPS hosting:

  • Limited growth: VPS hosting companies can assign you more system resources to accommodate growth, but there are limits based on the server you’re on and how many other customers are using it. If your site gets too large, you have to migrate to something like a powerful dedicated server or look into the best cloud hosting solutions.
  • Cost: While VPS hosting is very affordable compared to dedicated servers, generally it’s quite a bit more expensive than a shared hosting environment. If your biggest concern is cost, VPS may not be right for you.
  • Still shared: While VPS hosting gives you dedicated resources and your own unique virtual environment, you’re still sharing a physical server with other websites. There are some rare situations where another website could impact your site’s performance.

How To Choose the Best Hosting for Your Business

Shared VS VPS web hosting
Source: DreamHost

If you want to set up your business website, you need to make sure that you’re getting the right hosting package. Both shared hosting and VPS accounts can serve you quite well, so whichever direction you decide to go in, you should be very happy.

When deciding between shared and VPS hosting, the main things to consider are price and reliability. If keeping your costs low is more important than getting the most reliable hosting, you want to go with a shared environment.

If paying a little more is worth it for a more stable website, then VPS is the way to go.

Top 3 Shared Hosting Services

When looking for the best shared hosting services available today, you want to start your search with hosting companies that have an excellent reputation. The following are three of the top hosting companies that offer excellent shared environments for your website:

  • Bluehost: Bluehost is one of the largest and most popular web hosting companies, and with good reason. It has had an excellent reputation for years and continues to work hard to meet the needs of its customers.
  • SiteGround: SiteGround is another well-known hosting company that offers great shared hosting services. It’s committed to offering a modern hosting environment that meets the needs of all its customers.
  • WP Engine: If you’re going to be running a WordPress-based website, WP Engine is a great company to consider. Its shared hosting services are affordable and set up specifically to run WordPress sites properly.
illustration of a pointing finger, paper plane and server
Source: SiteGround

Top 3 VPS Hosting Services

If you have decided to go with VPS hosting, you can read through our page where we rank and review all the top VPS hosting services out there. If you prefer, select one of the following top three hosting companies that offer VPS solutions:

  • HostGator: This is likely the most recognized company in all of the web hosting, and with good reason. It offers all sorts of hosting technologies, including top-rated VPS options at a very fair price.
  • Liquid Web: This company is known for providing premium quality hosting, including a variety of great VPS solutions. While its prices are a little higher than many other companies, you do get what you pay for.
  • Kamatera: If you want to make sure that you’re working with a hosting company that allows your site to grow and expand, Kamatera is a great one to consider. It offers exceptional full-service VPS hosting that can meet almost any need.

What Should You Do Next?

Once you have decided which type of hosting you want to go with, you need to sign up for an account so that you can get started. In many ways, finding the best hosting provider and hosting type is the hardest part of creating a website.

Once you have gotten past this challenge, you can get your website functioning so potential customers can easily find you on the web.