Virtual vs Physical Servers: What You Need to Know for Optimal Performance

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

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The topic of Internet resource hosting is commonly split into two options – virtual servers or shared hosting. In this article, we will review both types and provide advice based on the experience of CloudLITE customer support, as to which service might be the preferred choice, and under which circumstances.

To begin with, it may be that you have a website and are looking to host it, so you have turned to a specialist who has an idea of which hosting to use and may already have a preferred resource. However, if you would like to investigate further yourself, you will need to search for a reliable web host that will be appropriate for your needs—the very resource that determines how well your website performs on the internet.


These acronyms refer to a virtual private server or virtual dedicated server. They are often regarded as interchangeable terms and describe a virtual machine built to act as a dedicated server.

Physical Server

This is essentially the same as a home computer, although often more powerful, using special-series processors and memory to ensure the precise execution of programs. Video cards can also be installed, such as NVIDIA GRID and NVIDIA TESLA M60, for specific tasks, particularly for architects.


Virtualization technology operates by allowing several isolated virtual machines to run on one physical computer. This requires a hypervisor to be installed on each physical server, after which the servers can be combined into a cluster and managed by a management server, such as VMware's vCenter. Another product used is vCloud Director, allowing the creation and management of virtual data centers, including virtual machines and networks.

Types of Virtual Servers

Shared VPS servers were originally created using Linux upstream containers, with each client having their own isolated container to host their files and applications, with limited rights within their VPS. Cloud VPS, however, offers users fully independent virtual machines with the option of using their own OS, administrative access, and the ability to install any software needed. In addition, these VMs can be transferred between servers and in case of a physical server failure, are instantly launched on other servers or moved to less loaded servers when required.

Shared Hosting

This is considered an easy option, where service providers install a set of applications on their server, such as web server, DBMS, and PHP. Each user is granted access to a particular folder for placing files and a control panel, allowing them to configure the provided parts of the web server and DBMS as required for their site. The main advantage of shared hosting is its low cost and ease of use.

The performance of a user's project can be significantly impacted by various factors. If one website requires more resources, other sites on the same host may experience noticeable slowdowns. Additionally, if a physical server fails, all client sites hosted on it will cease functioning. And, with shared hosting, installing software and libraries is not possible.

However, our engineers have observed that virtual servers operate similarly to physical ones, with a maximum 5% performance loss due to hypervisor presence. Additionally, both shared hosting and virtual servers can perform the same or different tasks, with virtual servers better suited for highly loaded applications and PHP scripts.

Shared hosting is a good choice for websites receiving up to 2000 visitors, or for those who find server configuration challenging and prefer an affordable alternative. In contrast, a virtual server is best suited for those who need high-speed and smooth website performance, with the ability to accommodate larger numbers of visitors.

Ultimately, choosing between shared hosting and a virtual server depends on project requirements. For growing projects aiming to increase their influence, a virtual server is recommended to ensure they can handle increased traffic and avoid unexpected breakdowns. Conversely, shared hosting is a suitable solution depending on specific needs.

It is essential to select the most appropriate resource for the task at hand from the outset to ensure optimal site performance.


The distinction between IaaS or "cloud", VDS/VPS and shared hosting can be unclear. Overselling is a common practice in the latter two, which makes it almost impossible to prevent two users on the same physical machine from influencing each other, leading to competition issues.

Misleading advertising is also prevalent. Full-fledged VPS / VDS with root access were available much earlier than the term "cloud", which typically includes automatic mechanisms for self-service, elasticity, and consumption accounting. Service providers have the freedom to choose how available cluster resource pools locate resources for specific clients.

However, a "cloud" solution may even be less favorable than classic VPS / VDS. With "cloud," there is the potential to transfer a user's virtual machine to another server or data center at an inconvenient time, and resolving problems such as sudden disk performance drops may take longer to address.


Is Shared Hosting Worth The Investment?

To conduct a fair comparison of the various types of web hosting, it is necessary to weigh the pros and cons. Shared hosting offers a cost-effective option with minimal maintenance requirements as the provider provides administration support. However, its disadvantages also warrant consideration - shared hosting has low resource isolation and limitations on pre-installed software. Therefore, this option is ideal for smaller web projects with basic needs.

It is crucial to understand that shared hosting is not inferior to VPS. Rather, it is better suited for those who do not want to handle server administration and prefer pre-configured software.

On the other hand, VPS offers larger resources and flexibility in customizing and installing specific software, making it an excellent choice for companies with experienced system administrators. However, managing security and configuration is the responsibility of the user, and costs may be substantially higher than shared hosting.

Ultimately, the appropriate web hosting choice is determined by one's particular needs and financial capabilities. VPS guarantees superior performance, increased security, and business uptime prevention. If your website has outgrown shared hosting, you prefer self-administration, and have the relevant budget, then VPS is the optimal choice.