In this post, we’re going to look at the 10 main differences between VPS and dedicated hosting. You’ll be able to figure out which might be right for your situation.
We’re going to look at the following 10 differences between VPS and dedicated hosting.
- Power and Storage
- Management and Maintenance
- Type of Environment
- Technical Failures
VPS hosting, or virtual private server hosting, basically takes the resources of a single server and splits them amongst a variety of different website clients. This is a great option for people who don’t need a ton of resources to run their website, but would still like the customization and security that this option offers over a shared hosting solution.
VPS hosting splits a single server into a number of virtual private servers which all run their own server environments. Unlike shared servers, which split processing resources without creating new server environments, these virtual private servers can handle certain modifications and software. These differences generally make VPS environments a little more powerful and customizable, which makes them a bit more expensive than paying for a shared server.
On the other hand, since a single server can be split into many VPS environments, this will usually make the solution a fraction of the cost of a dedicated server. Make no mistake, a dedicated server is generally more powerful than a VPS in literally every way. The cost-benefit analysis that you’ll be doing is whether the increased price tag is worth it for your website. Do you really need the extra power and resources that dedicated hosting can offer?
Dedicated hosting is not the same thing as owning your own server. Dedicated hosting means that a different company still owns and manages the server, but that there is simply only one server which is dedicated to your business or website. It is a great intermediary, offering a lot more power than VPS hosting but a lot less cost than purchasing or even renting your own server.
In a nutshell, dedicated hosting is the most powerful kind of server experience that you can purchase from someone else. The only drawbacks to dedicated hosting that you’ll see popup in this list are scalability and pricing.
Dedicated hosting can be far more expensive than the VPS alternative, and it can also be a big funkier to scale. Once you go dedicated hosting, you’re kinda committed to paying for new physical servers in chunks when you need them, even if you cap out at just a little bit more resources than you’re currently using.
Alternatives to dedicated hosting including purchasing or renting your own server. This is a great option for companies or websites that have extensive need of controlling the hardware setup of their own server or want the server in-house to handle any scaling or technical difficulties without turning to outside help.
10 Differences Between VPS and Dedicated Hosting
Keep in mind that some of these differences will be minimized by the pricing and skill of the company that you’re working with to host your site. Some companies will offer VPS environments that far outstrip the power of a dedicated hosting environment. If you do go this route, you might be able to get more power out of a VPS than a dedicated hosting environment. Or at least better service and scaling.
This is the big one. It is the opening and closing argument in favor of VPS. VPS only has this one argument, and to be honest, it only really needs this one argument. VSP environments are a significantly cheaper way to host your website than a dedicated server. Forget all the extra power and the cool factor of having your website be the only site that lives on a single server. If you want dedicated servers, you’ll have to pay a lot for them. VPS solutions allow many, many different websites to run on a single physical server. Which means for the same price that they could run a single server with a single website, a hosting company can house a lot of different websites. Which makes the costs to run those websites a lot cheaper. They take up less physical space, require less power and maintenance, and make them more money. VPS hosting is quite a bit cheaper. And that should tilt the scales in its favor from the beginning. It’s only really in a scenario where you need the added power that you should turn away from the VPS model. What’s the actual price difference? Great VPS models can range from $60 to $100 a month, while great dedicated servers can be upwards of $150 a month. Cheap VPS models can come in around $20 a month, while cheap dedicated models are around $100 a month.
Shared hosting is a process where a bunch of different websites are run from a single server. In the case of shared hosting, there aren’t different true environments or divisions between the different files. If someone were to hack a single website on a shared host, they could in theory gain access to the other websites on the server without too much difficulty. This is almost impossible to accomplish on a VPS. Like a dedicated server, the website basically functions with partitions between itself and other websites. So both VPS and dedicated server environments are relatively free from the kind of security concerns that can come from sharing real estate in a shared hosting environment.
Power and Storage
Dedicated servers really start to pick up ground here. While there’s not much difference between VPS and dedicated solutions when it comes to security, and while cost is a major win for the VPS model, dedicated servers even the score here. On a VPS server the resources of a single server are split between a number of different websites. This effectively means that the power of the server is also split between those sites. You’ll get less storage space and smaller processing speeds. These differences won’t matter for smaller websites, but the mid-majors might start to experience some performance issues that they’d like to fix. It really depends. Look into the kind of package that your VPS host is ready to offer your website and run the numbers to see if it’ll be enough.
Here’s an interesting one. While the dedicated server offers you a lot more resources, you’re also tied to a physical model. It’s really difficult to scale up or down from that model to handle fluxes in traffic. With a VPS, on the other hand, you can pay for more or less resources generally when you need them. Dedicated servers might require an additional physical component to scale. This may be a simple fact of paying for an extra piece of hardware, but it also might require a second server to run the website properly. A VPS generally can always create a little more room to grow, but also it offers less scalability than a cloud hosting solution.
While virtual private servers certainly beat shared servers on this one, they are no match for a full-scale dedicated hosting solution. Both VPS environments and dedicated servers can take additional software installations, but only dedicated servers can handle hardware customizations. There may be additional limitations in a VPS environment that do not exist for a dedicated server as well. A lot will depend on the kind of access that you have to your VPS environment, the way that it is set up, and the amount that the hosting company is willing to work with you to make changes.
Management and Maintenance
This one is tricky, because obviously this will depend on the hosting service that you use more than the hosting type that you end up with. In general, however, a dedicated hosting solution will generally provide you with quicker and more efficient ways to manage the problems that arise. There are hardware and software solutions available for any bugs, and anyone working on your server doesn’t have to manage other files at the same time. There aren’t other processes and data that are occurring in the sae server. Also, technicians can have a lot more freedom to make things run well in a dedicated environment. Then again, if you have a great hosting service for your VPS, then you might also get great management and maintenance. While the technical hurdles are a little bit more to overcome, the service might be able to do it for you.
Type of Environment
A dedicated server runs the hosting straight from the hardware. You can make hardware modifications to the server which directly affect the server that your website is running off of. Unlike the dedicated server, the VPS is a virtual private server. The “server” in this case is a simulation based on the physical server. Hardware modifications will affect the processing used to create the VPS environment, not the server itself. So with a VPS you have less options for hardware modifications. Both VPS solutions and dedicated servers can handle software modifications.
Websites experience failures and problems. We all know that that is inevitable. There will be difficulties and things will crash and you’ll need to work hard to get it up and running again. But the last thing you want is a server crash unrelated to your latest batch of HTML. Both options are about even on this one. If the physical server that a dedicated server runs on goes down, that website is down. If the physical server that a VPS environment is running on goes down, then that website will go down as well. On the other hand, certain websites on a VPS server can cause the whole server to go down which can then bring down the individual virtual private server that your website was running on. A failure in a virtual private server could bring down the physical server that houses other virtual private servers.
In relation to the increased power and storage that dedicated solutions offer, they can also generally offer a better performance. But this can be contingent on a few different things. No two physical servers are the exact same. A much better VPS environment that you’re paying a lot for can actually be better in performance than a clunky dedicated server that isn’t well supported. That said, in general, a dedicated server offers you better performance. Also keep in mind that it is easier to optimize, customize, and maintain because there is less data to sort through and technicians can make actual changes to the hardware and physical construction of the server.
While it’s related to maintenance and management, it isn’t quite the same thing. The support offered by your hosting company may differ from VPS to dedicated hosting. Keep in mind that customer service is generally relative to the company and how much you’re paying them. Even a really bad customer service model can be overcome by a high paying customer.
Those are our 10 main differences between VPS and dedicated hosting. Again, dedicated hosting is the more powerful choice in every way. But you’ll pay for that extra power. And in a number of situations, the extra price tag for that power won’t really be worth it.
A VPS solution is still plenty powerful for a lot of business websites and consumer websites when you start out. If you need more power later, you can always transfer to a dedicated server solution. Starting a website on a dedicated server might be a way of preparing for more traffic than you’ll ever encounter!