You have decided to build your own website. It is a good decision as an online presence is important in our current technologically driven world. If you are new to website development, you would most likely be confronted with a lot of new and confusing terms. For that reason, we will limit the scope of this article to clarifying web hosting, shared hosting and VPS hosting.
Humans live in houses, cattle in ranches, horses in stables. Furthermore, water is kept in water containers and clothes are arranged in wardrobes. In some cases, different content types and content belonging to different people could be kept in the same container (shared). In other cases, they could have their own special space made or bought specifically for them (private). This illustration depicts web hosting, shared hosting and VPS hosting. To be fair web hosting and shared hosting are the same thing!
Websites are a number of pages, mostly in HTML format that has been linked together via the Domain. The pages often contain objects such as images, text, videos, pictures, and sounds among others. They are uploaded to the cyberspace, where they can be accessed by any computer connected to the Internet.
Web hosting entails buying space where the files of your website are stored. Comparing the cyberspace to a community, you might want to move into a hostel along with other people (shared hosting) or you might want to buy or rent personal accommodation (VPS hosting). If you are sharing a room, you would have your own space where you have your bed and keep your belongings. It would be your duty to maintain your space. Other users will also have their own space and be expected to maintain it. While you can guarantee the orderliness of your own space, you might not be able to guarantee that of others. This is considering some others might be lazy or even completely incapable of maintaining their space.
Shared Hosting: Advantages and Disadvantages
Shared hosting entails getting space on a shared server where you are provided with space to host and manage your files. You will have a domain name and be able to login to maintain your own space.
Advantages of Shared Hosting
- Cost: One of the major advantages of shared hosting is that it is cheaper. Since a lot of users are sharing the server, the price for using the server is shared among all users. Thus, it is cheaper to host your website on a shared server.
- Setup: It is easier to set up your website on a shared hosting server because the service providers (us) would have carried out the initial set up. For most shared hosting platforms, you can just log in and start uploading your files.
- Maintenance: You won’t have to worry about maintaining the server such as operating system updates and hardware repairs. Your service provider will be responsible for this.
Disadvantages of Shared Hosting
- Limitation: There would be a limitation of resources as your website could experience downtime and lags when it is shared with several high traffic websites.
- Security: The failure of some other users to properly protect their website can lead to loopholes. The loophole can be exploited to attack the entire server.
- Customization: You can’t customize a shared server. This implies that you would need to build your server around the default server configuration.
VPS Hosting: Advantages and Disadvantages
VPS means Virtual Private Server. You have your own personal server where your website files are stored. This is not shared by any other person, giving you full control and responsibility for your server.
Advantages of VPS Hosting
- Control: On VPS hosting, you can determine the configuration of your server as well as the installation of software and management of resources.
- Security: VPS hosting allows you to determine how much security you want on your server.
- Traffic: VPS hosting is able to maintain it’s performance even at excessive traffic.
Disadvantages of VPS Hosting
- Cost: VPS hosting is more expensive than shared hosting.
- Technicalities: You are expected to be able to properly set up your server, get it running and maintain it. Without such knowledge, you would have to employ someone who can.
- Disk Space: VPS servers do not offer unlimited spaces for storing files. You will have to increase your disk space as the situation demands. You will also need to make an effort to manage your space and bandwidth.
Both shared hosting and VPS hosting has its own advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, it depends on your personal requirements which one to choose.
You can opt for shared hosting if you are just starting out. When the need arises and you start getting increased traffic, you can switch to VPS hosting plan. Budget is one of the major reasons why people opt for shared hosting as well. You should opt for shared hosting if you are on a tight budget. If you do not have much time or the technical know-how to set up servers, then shared hosting will be great for you.
On the other hand, it is best to go for VPS hosting if you need maximum security for your website and you want to rule out all possible issues. If you desire greater speed, power and flexibility or your website handles a lot of traffic then you should opt for VPS. If cost is not an issue, VPS is recommended.