To reduce the cost of operation, most business websites tend to start off with web hosting that is cost effective and that would be Shared Hosting. However, Shared Hosting is also limited in many ways and there may come a time when you need to consider an upgrade.
Logically, the next step up would be the type of web host which offers additional benefits that can help higher-volume websites cope with increased traffic or other requirements. VPS hosting is usually the popular option when comparing the features and price.
Before I go into greater detail about this and the benefits of VPS hosting, let’s take a look at the limitations of Shared Hosting so that we can be clear about what the key differences are as compared to VPS hosting.
The Limitations of Shared Hosting
As mentioned, Shared Hosting is usually the first step into the game and is offered by almost every web hosting provider in existence. It is the simplest of plans and basically involves a web host cramming as many websites onto a single server as they think it can support.
All of those websites have access to the same features and share the same resources, from disk space to CPU power. Think of it like living in a communal hall where everyone lives in one huge room and shares a common kitchen, washroom and other facilities.
Because of the limited features that come with Shared Hosting plans, websites that grow larger may have difficulties remaining on these plans.
The question then would be – how do you know when it is time to move?
The main types of hosting plans are shared, VPS, Cloud and Dedicated hosting in order of power (and typically, cost). Although in some ways similar in nature, VPS hosting gives you dedicated resources on one server. Cloud hosting gives your virtual space on a network of servers. There is a limit to how much you can scale up your VPS plan, but with cloud, the sky is virtually the limit – at a price.
When to Move to VPS Hosting
After considering the benefits of VPS hosting as compared to other options, below are usually the general indicators which let you know that it is time to step up to VPS hosting.
- Your Website Traffic Increases Significantly
We’ve all been there before – your new site has just been launched and you’re eagerly monitoring your hit rates to see if people are visiting. Over time, the handful of hits a day that you first saw begin to grow and before you know it, you’re seeing hundreds or thousands of visits per day. Each of your website visitors consumes resources and if your Shared Hosting account is using up too much of those, your web host may take action. From throttling your traffic to an outright suspension of your account, your traffic may come to an abrupt halt. Although web hosts typically have a few Shared Hosting plans you can scale up to, there is a limit and once you hit that cap the logical choice is to move on to VPS hosting for better benefits and at affordable price. Caption: One of the most distinctive differences between shared and VPS hosting is how resources are allocated (Img credit: WHSR – how does VPS hosting work)VPS hosting also has you sharing a server with others but in a dedicated environment. This means that you will be allocated server resources specifically for your site. You won’t have to share the server resources such as CPU, RAM or any data with others.
- You Want Greater Security
There may be times when you are looking to increase the security of your website for the benefit of your users. If you are running an e-commerce site, this might be for various reasons such as processing or storing the personal or financial information of your users. Because VPS hosting accounts are siloed, the data you store and the process is much safer as compared to if you were to use Shared Hosting. VPS hosting also lets you install additional firewalls or lay down better security rules and restrictions.
- Seeking Better Reliability
This again goes back to the nature of Shared Hosting versus VPS hosting. When something fails on your Shared Hosting account, typically all the sites that are being hosted on that server goes down. It’s like a really dangerous game of Russian Roulette. By its very nature, VPS hosting is typically more robust and the environments are configured in such a way that if there is a fault in your VPS account, the management software will usually reallocate your website to another instance and rebuilds it rapidly. The is one of the VPS hosting advantages you can get. There will be a slight downtime, but certainly not as bad as if your Shared Hosting account encounters a technical fault.
- You Need More Control
Shared hosting accounts are usually quite limited in terms of what configuration changes you can make to the servers. Even if your web host allows the changes you need, you will normally have to contact technical support and request that the changes be made on your behalf. This can be frustrating at times and may feel overly restrictive. Take for example if you want to install some extra tools for your website. Shared hosting won’t allow this since you don’t normally have administrative access to the server. VPS hosting lets you have full administrative access/root access irrespective of what OS your account is based on. You can also request customized plans such as specific amounts of resources such as processor cores or memory. VPS hosting plans are typically scalable and in some instances, these resources can even be adjusted on the fly.
- If You Run an eCommerce Site
If you are leaning towards running an online store or eCommerce site, there may be too many restrictions in Shared Hosting to meet your needs. VPS hosting offers more options that are better suited to hosting eCommerce sites simply because these sites are usually high volume and very demanding. With VPS Hosting you will also be better equipped to meet enhanced security needs that come along with accepting online payments. Serving up pages with multiple products lists are coping with increased queries to your database are also factors to be considered for eCommerce sites.
Most new users should be content with Shared Hosting and in fact, many of them will be content to stick with that for a long time. However, if you are serious about running your site it is very likely that your traffic will increase steadily.
Remember, migrating a website is just like moving house – it takes time and proper planning. Always ensure that you are a step ahead in the game and are prepared to move before performance issues force your hand.
Remember, if your site performance is suffering, your traffic volume will likely suffer as well. Users quickly get frustrated with erratic websites and there are many other sites they can switch over to if you aren’t at the top of your game.
If you are afraid of facing technical issues that you’re not sure you can cope with, there is always the option of looking for managed VPS hosting. UnifyHOST offers Linux VPS Hosting which gives you the technical support you needed. These plans may cost a bit more but offer you all the benefits of VPS hosting without the technical requirements needed to use them.