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What is the difference between a VPS and Cloud Hosting and Shared Hosting

Updated on August 22, 2013

What are the different types of hosting available?

That's a good question, I think a lot of hosting companies out there forget that non techy users can easily get lost in all our jargon. Let me break it down for you as best I can, we'll start from the normally most expensive option and work down.

Datacenter Hosting

A typical datacenter can contain thousands of servers as well as networking equipment and storage arrays.
A typical datacenter can contain thousands of servers as well as networking equipment and storage arrays. | Source

Dedicated Server:

This is a Physical server that is all yours, there is no sharing of anything involved with this type of hosting, other than the network connection. You can usually run whatever software you like on it and update and change it as you need. It also allows you to run Virtualisation software on it as well.


5 stars for Performance vs Cost

Virtual Server/Cloud Server:

This is the next best thing to a Dedicated server and normally substantially cheaper unless you have large requirements. With these servers you can run whatever software you like, just like a dedicated. But you normally can't run another Virtualisation layer on top of it. These virtual servers will share the same physical hardware as other customers but come with dedicated resources. Cloud Server hosting also provides the benefit of higher availability through the use of redundant hardware, this comes with additional costs but much better up-time.

Tell us your thoughts?

Which type of hosting do you prefer?

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VPS Servers:

These are similar to Virtual Servers but very different in terms of performance. These servers often have heavily shared resources, they will state that your guaranteed a certain amount of Ram but that you can burst if your server requires it. Generally these servers have higher stated resources than a Virtual/Cloud server but will never perform as well as a true Virtual Server. Also the VPS servers are more locked down and you are not free to upgrade Kernel's or Versions with these as that is handled by the hosting provider. We would generally recommend avoiding VPS's unless you have a low budget or don't care for performance.

Shared Web Hosting:

Lastly and generally the cheapest form of hosting is the Shared Web Hosting. Now this could come in the form of a hosting providers dedicated server or a full shared cloud web host, where you site can float between servers for high availability. Generally the performance of Shared Web hosting is more than enough for most websites. It's only when you start getting thousands of hits a month that you should need to start looking for something better.

Reseller Hosting:

This is simply a way for Resellers or Hosting Providers to lease space from a larger Hosting Company on one of there servers (Generally Virtual Servers sometimes a Physical Server). They will be provided with some kind of Control Panel software such as cPanel or Plesk, and can then begin creating Web Hosting accounts for their customers. If you are a customer of one of these Resellers, then your website is generally only shared with other customers of the Reseller.

Cost vs Performance of Servers

(click column header to sort results)
Server Type  
Dedicated Server
Most Expensive - Best Performance
Virtual / Cloud Server
Average Price - Near Dedicated Performance
VPS Server
Cheap Price - Lower Performance
Reseller Web Hosting
Reasonable Price - Better Performance than Shared
Shared Web Hosting
Cheapest Price - Ok Performance for Small Sites

The views expressed above are that of the author and from their own experiences.


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