Shared hosting vs. managed VPS. When to upgrade?

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008 12:50PM UTC

To follow up on the previous posting “Going from a dedicated server to a VPS. Am I downgrading?“. To discuss the opposite direction, what’s the difference between shared hosting and a managed VPS? When should you upgrade?

The primary reasons for using a VPS:

  • Dedicated resources (Quality of Service).
  • More control of installed software.
  • More secure.
  • Dedicated IP address.

With shared hosting the hosting provider has to make sure each customer’s hosting configuration performs well. The administrator might be able to perform proactive measures, but in many cases this isn’t possible. This is because each shared hosting account uses the same memory, CPU and disk space. This is similar to a noisy neighbor in a massive apartment building. All it takes is one bad tenant to affect the others. Each customer must share the same resources on a shared hosting server.

Dedicated Resources (Quality of Service)

With a VPS you are allocated a fixed amount of resources (just like a dedicated server) and these resources are dedicated to you. Each customer is separated at the operating system level and another customer cannot affect your VPS. This increases quality of service since you have a specific amount of memory, CPU and disk given to your account. This is also the main reason for the differences in price between VPS and shared hosting.

A common issue on many oversold shared hosting providers is that you are suspended once you use too much CPU, memory or disk space. On a VPS you will never get suspended for this reason. Also, shared hosting’s dirty little secret is that many dynamically generated web pages (i.e. blog, forum, CMS, E-commerce) are primarily CPU bound. On a massively oversold shared server there is only so much CPU to go around.  These providers put 500-600 accounts on each server and for this reason the performance of ALL clients on that server is affected.

Other Advantages of Choosing a VPS Solution Include:

More Control of Installed Software

With a VPS we can customize the software to the customer’s exact specifications. Since software such as apache, PHP, MySQL, etc are dedicated to just your account. Conversely, shared hosting is configured to please the majority and exceptions are not possible. In addition, if you need a service (otherwise known as a daemon) running or custom programming libraries, this is all possible with a VPS.

More Secure

Since each VPS is separated at the operating system level, each customer is running in its own memory, CPU and disk space. This prevents your account from getting compromised when another customer forgets to update to their blog software to fix security risks that have been discovered – if hackers get into their shared hosting account they can quickly move horizontally into your account if you’re on the same shared server.

Dedicated IP address

This is important for any service that uses the source IP address for reputation purposes. This is extremely important with outbound E-mail (SMTP) and significantly decreases the chance of blockage because another customer sent out spam. To put this in perspective, we’ve seen cases where one misguided salesperson sending out less than 200 emails in an email blast has caused IP-based blocking of an entire IP (including all the responsible senders on that IP).

The HostCube Advantage

There’s one advantage that can sometimes be at credited to shared hosting: the provider manages all the system administration. Fortunately, this service is also provided when using a service like HostCube Managed VPS. The components of system administration include:

  • Backups
  • Service monitoring
  • Security monitoring
  • Software updates
  • Software configuration

There’s no need to worry if your VPS is secure, and is your site running as our managed VPSes give you the best of both worlds: the ability to work as if in a shared hosting environment with the performance of a dedicated server.

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