When it comes to choosing the hosting solution, every blogger, business, or enterprise has different needs, and there are seemingly endless providers to choose from. That doesn’t even consider the various hosting plans and technologies that are available! Customers debating between VPS and dedicated hosting may wonder why the cost differs when some features are similar; after all, a dedicated server can cost more.
Two options that people and businesses consider when their hosting needs are beyond the resources provided by shared hosting are virtual private servers, or VPS, and dedicated hosting. There are similarities between these kinds of hosting but also key differences, including:
Customers should note that the price differences between VPS and dedicated server hosting reflect the differences in technology and capability. Although there is overlap between the most expensive VPS hosting and cheaper dedicated server plans, the higher price of dedicated server hosting is due to the client’s ability to control and customize an entire server rather than sharing the resources with other clients as in VPS hosting.
With a VPS, multiple clients’ data is stored on a single server, similar to shared hosting. However, the servers are partitioned so that each customer has limited resources (hard drive and memory) but can “borrow” from other VPS clients if more resources are necessary and available. Customers should expect to pay more if they need to borrow resources.
The lower cost of a virtualized server may be acceptable to small businesses or bloggers who need more resources for their websites than shared hosting offers but don’t need enough resources to justify the cost of dedicated server hosting.
However, customers who cannot run the risk of downtime caused by sharing a server with other users may prefer to pay more for the security offered by dedicated hosting. Plus, clients cannot control if others’ websites have vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit to gain access to the server, which makes dedicated server hosting more secure and worth the higher price. Dedicated servers are the cream of the crop when it comes to website hosting for these reasons.
Although dedicated server hosting costs more than a VPS, customers can choose the best solution for them based on the server specifications such as processor speed, hard drive space, and memory. If the customer doesn’t need a lot of space or memory, for example, they may be able to save money by choosing a server without as many resources. Similarly, VPS customers may choose a virtual server with more resources for a higher price.
The Price Difference
Some hosts offer VPS plans for as little as $30 per month, which is just a bit more than shared hosting costs. However, there is a range of prices, and customers could pay as much a $160 monthly for a VPS plan that allocates them more resources.
Dedicated hosting plans prices start around $190 a month to over $500 per month. However, a cheap dedicated hosting plan may not compete with a more expensive plan offered by a different company.
Some companies offer discounts if customers purchase annual plans or may offer discounts to first-time customers. However, customers should prepare for price increases after those discounts run out.
Hosting clients need to consider their future needs as well as their present needs. As businesses grow and their websites see more traffic, they may eventually need more server resources. Clients on a VPS may be able to request a larger partition that uses more of the server’s resources.
But once there is no more room on the shared server to increase the partition size or the client approaches the resource limit of the full server, they will need to find a different solution.
It may be worth the cost to sign up for dedicated hosting in anticipation of these needs rather than deal with the hassle of moving between servers or even Web hosts. Because there is an overlap in prices between VPS and dedicated hosting, it may not be a difficult decision to opt for dedicated hosting.
While a dedicated hosting client is limited by the capacity of their server, it may be possible to physically upgrade the server. Doing so, however, can be costly and time-consuming because it requires physical hardware upgrade whereas changing the size of a VPS partition is a software change. If all of the dedicated server’s slots are in use, it may not even be possible to upgrade the server, and the client may need to purchase hosting from a more powerful server and move its websites.
Managed Vs Unmanaged Hosting
Another factor to consider is whether the customer wants a managed or unmanaged server. Both VPS and dedicated server hosting come in both varieties. With a managed hosting plan, the hosting company takes care of both the hardware and software on the server, and the customer doesn’t need to do any setup on the server. The host will also maintain software on the server.
In comparison, an unmanaged hosting server is more barebones, and the customer will configure the server, add software, manage plans, and have to perform software updates themselves. This allows for greater customization; the customer can configure every element of their server.
While an unmanaged server can be more affordable than a managed one, users who are not tech-savvy may wish to pay for a managed server to avoid costly technical issues and leaving their server vulnerable to hackers.
Although hosting clients may not know what their future needs will be, there are times when opting for a dedicated server may be the best choice, even if it costs more. This is especially true if a company is already approaching the limits of a virtual private server. Website growth can lead to downtime, slow performance, and even financial penalties for using more than the allotted resources.