Many businesses get started on shared hosting plans. These come with a budget price tag and allow companies to build an online presence for less than $100/year. These services will often come with an easy-website-builder of some kind and they claim to offer unlimited resources. However, many users quickly find there are many limitations on those ‘unlimited’ resources. Additionally, it’s possible for one site to slow down when other sites on that shared server are using more resources. When a business outgrows the resources of a shared hosting plan, or becomes impacted by other sites that are slowing down the server, it’s time to consider other hosting options. The two primary alternatives are dedicated servers and virtual private servers.
A dedicated server is a great option for businesses that need access to lots of storage space and server processing power. Very popular websites and other medium-size business processes can take full advantage of a dedicated server. However, these businesses will need to provide their own IT support or pay for additional support options. The cost of a dedicated server is much higher than shared hosting and they require greater technical expertise to manage. Setting up a shared server can be as easy and pointing and clicking on buttons in a control panel. However, dedicated servers commonly include an operating system and nothing more. From there, the business or their IT support staff will need to install everything else.
Virtual Private Servers (VPS)
Somewhere between shared hosting and a dedicated server is where virtual private servers (VPS) are located. This includes cost and features. Low-end VPS can cost as little as a shared hosting plan, but they are just as complicated to set up as a dedicated server. This is because a VPS includes a specified set of resources on a server. These resources are not shared with other users and will only be available for use by a single user. However, the VPS only includes an operating system. Once the VPS is set up, the business renting it, or their IT support staff, will need to install everything else they plan to use. Beyond cost, another benefit of a VPS over a dedicated server is the ability to rapidly deploy and scale VPS services in the cloud.
How to Choose?
When a company has outgrown shared hosting, it’s time to choose between a dedicated server and VPS hosting. With the benefits and drawbacks that come with each decision, it’s difficult to say that one option is clearly better than another. Instead, it’s best to consider the ways that one option can better suit specific business needs. When a business has relatively constant technology needs and they will be using most, or all, the resources of a dedicated server, then that’s the best choice. On the other hand, if a business does not plan to use all the resources a dedicated server can provide, they can save a lot of money by choosing a VPS plan. However, many more businesses will find the ability to scale their IT resources to meet demand by setting up a dedicated server to handle their core business needs and scaling through the addition of VPS services as needed. The bottom line is that every business must carefully consider their current and future technology needs before selecting the right dedicated server or VPS option for their specific situation.