Shared Hosting Comparison

Shared web hosting is probably the most prevalent type of hosting available; it is also the cheapest - available for just a dollar or two in some cases. By comparison, our VPS plans start at $19.95.

Shared hosting works by installing a control panel like cPanel or Plesk on a powerful, dedicated server which is then shared by potentially thousands of customers. Typically, you will receive static (HTML, images, JavaScript) hosting along with at least one scripting language - PHP being the most common.

When compared to a VPS, shared hosting has three major downsides:

  • You are not the administrator of your hosting setup and are limited in terms of the software that can be run. You may have access to a MySQL database but be out of luck if you require PostgreSQL instead. If you are lucky the provider may install some software on your behalf, but largely you will be restricted to just a few pieces of software.
  • Often you will only be able to host one "site". If you want to run multiple sites, expect to pay for multiple accounts.
  • Due to the cost structure, shared hosting relies on your website using very little resources. If your site becomes popular and needs "too much" of CPU or memory, your provider may ask for more money, ask you to leave, or simply suspend your service.
  • Conversely as a shared environment, if another customer on your host starts using too many resources your own website may be slowed to a crawl until your service provider intervenes

A VPS has none of these restrictions:

  • You are the administrator of your VPS and can install any software you want.
  • A VPS supports "unlimited" domains - you are paying for a certain amount of CPU, memory, disk space, and bandwidth. Whether you use those resources to host 1 large website or 100 tiny websites is entirely up to you.
  • It is not possible to use "too much" CPU, memory, or disk space. You have paid for a certain amount and can expect to make full use of it.
  • Likewise, VPS resource allocations are such that its not possible for a fellow customer to excessively slow down your website.

A shared hosting account is by its very nature, "managed" - you are not required to upgrade the operating system, web server, or database server applications. By comparison, our service is unmanaged - meaning you (or your employees) need the technical knowledge to update and configure the operating system.

If you require a managed service, shared hosting is easily the most cost effective means of obtaining it. If you do not require management services, than the cost difference is less noticable. When choosing between the two types of service, ask yourself:

  • Do I have the funding available for a VPS?
  • Do I (or an employee) have the technical skills required to manage an operating system installation?
  • Do I need to use any non-standard website software (or run software that is not web-related at all? )
  • Do I want to host multiple websites?
  • Is my site too popular (or likely to soon be too popular) for the small amount of resources shared hosting provides?
  • Are the inherent performance fluctuations of a shared hosting environment unacceptable?

If you answered yes to three or more questions then a VPS is likely to be the best solution for you.

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