Choosing between shared hosting, VPS and a dedicated server

“What’s the difference between shared hosting, a virtual private server (VPS), and a dedicated server”? The answer to that question contains multiple facets and is, in fact, NOT the question you should be asking yourself. Instead, you should ask: “What type of hosting service better corresponds to my web presence”?

 

Shared Hosting

Your profile:

  1. I want to start my web presence with something like a blog, or try different things; I am unsure exactly what I need and where I am going with this yet.
  2. I need to put a “Business card” website online so I can finally have a web presence and provide information on my products, services, and contacts. I would also like to have my own emails @mydomain.com

You are starting on the web. Shared hosting is for you because it’s THE stepping stone to any internet project. You’ll be able to put a website up and launch your projects without a problem because you are hosted on an “all inclusive” type of environment made to give you peace of mind. It’s the perfect platform for static and informational websites that have low traffic.

Shared Hosting

Why shared hosting?

We call it “shared” due to server configuration. Indeed, a huge and high-performance server is used to host multiple customer accounts and all their websites. Those who criticize this platform will tell you that consequently, its inconveniences are mainly server resource limitations (CPU, disk I/O and RAM), the impossibility to install custom software and that they have no “root” access to manage the server to their liking. But when you don’t need those specifics, why bother?

Server management

None! The hosting provider takes care of everything: software and hardware updates and maintenance, security management, DDOS protection blacklists, spam, etc. You only need to take care of your website.

The next step?

When our website is located on shared servers, the next step is to look into the VPS. You will know when to make the jump when your website becomes slow, when you start using resource heavy applications, or when you require customized server configurations unavailable on shared servers.

Virtual Private Server (VPS)

Your profile:

  1. The revenue of my SMB depends on my online presence. My web project receives a considerable amount of attention and my website must be online 24/7/365. I need technical support to assist me; my hosting provider must take care of the technical aspects for me.
  2. My web project is expanding and my needs are continuously in flux. I need dedicated resources on a scalable platform in order to avoid load problems during peak traffic periods.

A Virtual Private Server is ideal for businesses that depend on the web to offer their services. Additionally, it’s a scalable platform: if you saturate your VPS’s resources, it’s very easy to provide you with additional resources without having to resort to a server migration. Therefore, this platform is ideal for resource hungry websites that know sporadic spikes in traffic due to particular events like Holiday sales, contests, tax periods, etc.

VPS

Why VPS?

On a technical standpoint, a VPS is a server that has been divided into a few parts. You obtain a portion of the global resources (qty of vCPU, qty of RAM) and an operating system is executed just for your instance; it’s like having a dedicated server, but instead of having dedicated hardware, it’s a virtualized layer. In other terms, we give you dedicated server resources, but not the server itself.

There is also another VPS platform: instead of sharing a dedicated server into parts, the VPS is created on a Cloud platform. This means that a series of servers are connected together, where more can be added or removed with no impact to installed virtual servers. Its key advantage is increased scalability.

Server management

A VPS usually provides you with full server access so you can perform your own server manipulations as a system administrator. You are therefore entirely responsible for the software maintenance of your virtual server. Advanced technical support is often available, but for additional fees.

There are also VPS solutions that are fully managed by the hosting provider, but they will limit the manipulations you can make on the server (for example, you might not get “root” access). If you do not have the experience or the resources necessary to manage a server, VPS can still be a viable option and remain affordable.

The next step?

How do you know when to get a dedicated server? When you need to install specific software not supported by the VPS platform, or when you need to make sure that the hardware you are using is only used by yourself and no one else. In other words, it’s time to go dedicated when you decide that it would be preferable if you were 100% responsible for your site and everything that goes along with it, thus gaining independence and freedom.

Dedicated Server

Your profile:

  1. My company knows a certain success and my web presence is paramount to the survival of my business. I am not a stranger to SEO notions or website security and management. My IT staff can take care of all aspects of web management, applications, operating system, etc.
  2. I need a platform where I can do what I want when I want to, both in terms of software and data. Resources must be dedicated to me because I will be developing and/or executing high performance and demanding software.

Without your web presence, your business does not exist. You devote your personal resources to manage your website and your web applications. A dedicated server is basically having a computer all to yourself, where you are the sole responsible person for its maintenance, but that the server is located in a data center that will provide you with peace of mind when it comes to electrical supply and internet access.

Dedicated Server

Why dedicated server

The costs to set up a secure electrical platform and a redundant network are monstrous. Consequently, you need to setup your server in a data center optimized for server management.

Server management

In general, technical support services are rather limited and you need to pay for the hosting provider’s advanced professional services. You are the responsible party when it comes to your server’s management and well being.

The next step?

How do you know that a dedicated server isn’t enough? If you get there, I’m sorry to inform you that quantum computing is not available yet. Too bad! Nothing’s bigger, except bigger hardware, or additional servers when you get to it.

I hope we have enlightened you a bit in your service selection. As a web hosting provider, Funio provides some of these solutions. So choose wisely!

Published on at by in: Funio, iWeb, VPS, Web Hosting

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