VPS vs Shared: comparison between virtual and shared hosting

Started by land_driver, Aug 10, 2022, 12:49 AM

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land_driverTopic starter

Many owners of Internet resources host their net applications on virtual servers or use shared hosting. In this topic, we will try to consider both services in detail, and based on the experience of CloudLITE customer support, we will conclude which of these services can be preferred and under what circumstances.

Let's assume that you have a site or plans to create one. You turned to a specialist who knows what technologies to develop a website with. Most likely, he already has a personal idea on which hosting to place it on, and will offer a resource from his own developments.
But you like to figure things out yourself, and therefore, in order to get to the truth, you need to be puzzled by finding a reliable and really appropriate web host. The same resource that determines how your website will be placed on the Internet.


These abbreviations are quite common. Some write VPS, others use VDS. Both concepts appeared at about the same time and actually mean the same thing. VPS (Virtual Private Server) or VDS (Virtual Dedicated Server) is a virtual dedicated server.

Physical Server

This is the same computer as you have at home, and sometimes more powerful. Physical servers use special-series processors that are more costly than most home computers.
Together with a special type of memory, these processors guarantee the precise execution of programs. In addition, NVIDIA GRID and NVIDIA TESLA M60 video cards can be used in servers, which are needed for specific tasks and for the most part by architects.


Virtualization is a technology that runs several isolated virtual machines on one physical computer. In order to implement virtualization, technical means are needed. A hypervisor is installed on each physical server (the provider may have hundreds of them). Servers are combined into a cluster, the cluster is managed by the management server.
At VMware, it is called vCenter, and allows you to effectively distribute virtual machines across virtualization servers, manage hypervisors (servers, networks, storage, etc.).

In order to create numerous virtual data centers in the described infrastructure and give control to the end user, another product is used - vCloud Director. It allows you to manage virtual machines, virtual networks, and a virtual switch.

types of virtual servers

Historically, shared VPS servers appeared on the market first. They are built, as a rule, on the basis of Linux upstream containers. Each client on such hosting receives an isolated container to host their files and applications. In this case, the user has access with limited rights within his VPS.

Today, this technology is already becoming obsolete, and over time it will be completely replaced by cloud VPS, which has a number of advantages:

    Users virtual machines are independent - the influence of one user on others is excluded;
    Each VM can use its own OS;
    The client gets full administrative access inside the VM and can install any software;
    VM can be transferred between servers and export\import;
    In the event of a physical server failure, VMs are instantly launched on other servers;
    When the load on the physical server is high, VMs are moved to less loaded servers.

This solution is successfully used in tens of thousands of companies, and over time, more organizations are discovering virtualization.

Shared hosting

As a rule, that is a very simple type of hosting. A set of applications is installed on the provider's server - a web server, DBMS, PHP, etc. Each user has access to a folder for placing files and a control panel from which he can configure the provided parts of the web server and DBMS for the needs of the site. The advantage of such hosting is low cost and clarity.


    User projects have a big impact on performance. If one website needs more resources, then other sites on the host may be noticeably slower;
    If a physical server fails, all client sites hosted on it do not work;
    You can not install your software and libraries.

Expert experience

According to the observations of our engineers, the virtual server works in the same way as the physical one. The performance loss due to the presence of a hypervisor is no more than 5% compared to a similar physical server. If necessary, the size of the resources allocated to the VM can be changed in one click.

Shared hosting and a virtual server can perform both the same tasks and different ones. If only websites are hosted on a shared site, then on VPS you can run highly loaded applications (SAP HANA, Oracle databases, 1C: Accounting server) or provide PHP scripts.

Who Should Choose Shared Hosting?

Shared hosting is a solution that is appropriate for sites with no more than 2000 visitors, or for those who find it difficult to configure a server. The advantage of this solution is the low price.

Who should choose a virtual server?

If you have purchased a virtual server, you can count on a much larger number of visitors than in the case of shared hosting. Plus, it's not much more costly if you really want to get high speed and smooth site performance. A dedicated Internet channel will allow visitors to work with your site at any time they want.


As with everything, you first need to decide what your requirements for the project are. If you plan to grow and increase your influence in the selected segment, then you need to stay on a virtual server.
That your website will be able to receive more visitors at the same time and avoid unforeseen breakdowns. Otherwise, shared hosting is also suitable.

We recommend that you use the resource that is most appropriate for your task from the very start.


Where is the line between IaaS aka "cloud", VDS/VPS and shared?
At least the last two technologies allow overselling, and it is almost not possible to avoid the influence of two users on the same physical machine on each other - at least for something, but they are guaranteed to compete, which will be especially noticeable if you do not set dedicated cores and disks, hard limits on IOPS etc.

There is even outright misrepresentation. At a minimum, full-fledged VPS / VDS with root access appeared on the market much earlier than the term "cloud", which usually means not just changing the virtual machine hypervisor,
but simple (including automatic) mechanisms of self-service, elasticity and consumption accounting with full (well, almost) the freedom of the service provider to choose the internal mechanisms for locating the resources of a particular client according to the available cluster resource pools.
Moreover, the "cloud" may even turn out to be less preferable over classic VPS / VDS due to the fact that the "cloud" may at the most inopportune moment decide to transfer the user's virtual machine to another machine or even to another data center, and constant problems such as a suddenly sagging Disk performance can take much longer to resolve.


Shared hosting: cheap and angry?
To make everything fair, we will highlight the advantages and disadvantages of each type of web hosting. The advantages of shared tariffs include, first of all, low cost. Also, such hosting practically does not require maintenance, since the provider takes over this task — here you will definitely not need administration skills.

But let's also consider the disadvantages: virtual hosting has a low degree of resource isolation, as well as a number of limitations on pre-installed software. Therefore, before making a choice, make sure that:

— your web project is not too large and does not require a lot of resources;

— the appropriate software is installed on the virtual hosting;

— you do not need flexible server configuration and root access.

It should be understood that shared hosting is no worse than VPS.
It's just aimed at those who do not want to do server administration and prefer to use ready-made configured software. If this approach meets the requirements of your web project, then you definitely should think about shared hosting.

VPS: Is it worth aiming for more.
The main advantage of VPS is large resources, as well as the ability to customize and install specific software.
All this makes VPS a more flexible solution. But at the same time, all responsibility for the configuration and security of the server falls on your shoulders.
So, it is better to think about VPS for companies that have a qualified system administrator on staff. In his capable hands, a VPS can become a much more productive and secure solution.

The disadvantages of VPS include the cost: it can significantly exceed the prices for shared hosting.
Another possible difficulty is the availability of additional functions and more complex management that requires administrative skills. But here we must proceed from whether the goal will justify your means. Remember that VPS performance helps to avoid website "crashes" and prevent business downtime, financial and reputational losses, and its security is ensured by timely software updates and analysis of network activity.

So, VPS web hosting is definitely suitable for you if:

— the maximum allowable load on shared hosting is no longer enough for your web site;
— it is important for you to administer the server yourself;
— your budget fully justifies the costs of VPS.