When Henry Ford invented the Model T car, his revolutionary production methods meant that instead of having to share a ride on a bus, the average person could now afford to travel in the same way as the upper classes. A similar revolution has taken place in web hosting. Thanks to the invention of virtualisation, website owners with smaller budgets are no longer restricted to shared hosting, instead, they can have many of the features of a dedicated server with a VPS, a virtual private server. In this post, we’ll look a why VPS is the obvious next step up from shared hosting.
Why shared hosting is like riding on a bus
On a bus, there’s one large vehicle with lots of seats and everyone pays a small fare. With shared hosting, there’s one large server with lots of small accounts and everyone pays a small fee. For that, you get a share of the server’s resources: CPU (processors), memory, storage and bandwidth. This works well for the majority of small websites, most of the time, as the speed, storage, bandwidth and reliability you need usually perform without a problem.
However, there are potential issues.
Rush hour blues
Travelling by bus at rush hour can be a pain. When its busy, you’re not guaranteed a seat and with so many people getting on and off at every stop, the journey can be sluggish. And there’s always one traveller with too much baggage causing problems for everyone else. Shared hosting can suffer the same symptoms. If other users are running processes that hog the server’s resources, the performance of everyone else’s website can be affected. Your website can run slowly or even timeout, which can turn your visitors away and lose you business.
Catching a cold
It only takes one person to sneeze on a bus and before you know it, half the passengers are dosing themselves up with max-strength Lemsip. With so many people in a crowded space, bugs spread quite easily. Unfortunately, viruses and other malware can potentially spread in similar ways on shared servers. If a hacker manages to install an infected file on one site, it could be triggered to cross-contaminate other sites on the server.
When this does happen, the infection is often limited to sites within a single account – so if someone runs a handful of websites and one gets infected, it’s the rest of their sites which are most at risk. However, if your web host has not configured your server correctly, there is a chance that it could spread to different user accounts. This can’t happen with a VPS as they are independent servers.
When unruly passengers get kicked off a bus, it is not unheard of for the completely innocent person sat next to them to get booted off, too. The driver naively assumes that they are together and both as bad as each other. This type of ‘blanket sanctioning’ operates on the internet, as well, and has been a problem for shared hosting users. If other websites on your server have been blacklisted for breaking webmaster guidelines, such as sending spam or distributing malicious software, then your site and email address can also be blacklisted. As it’s the IP address of the server which gets blacklisted, any other sites on the same server may be affected. This can’t happen on a VPS or dedicated server as they have unique server IPs.
Not enough space
To make sure passengers are treated fairly, bus companies limit what people can do. You can’t, for example, use all the seats to put your luggage on. Web hosts try to make shared hosting fair, too, and this means limiting features such as storage capacity or the number of websites you can host.
Just as it makes more sense to use a car or van for moving lots of luggage, it also makes sense to use a VPS than shared hosting if the needs of your website outstretch the resources you have available. If your website is getting more traffic or you need to run bigger applications, sticking to a shared hosting package could be restricting your development.
Why VPS Hosting?
If shared hosting is like riding a bus, a VPS is like driving a car. It offers the functionality of a small dedicated server, including much larger CPU, memory and disk space allocations, but at a price that’s not much more than shared hosting. You’ll be able to host unlimited websites and run custom apps in an environment that performs significantly better than a shared server.
The chauffeur driven solution
What makes moving to a VPS even more convenient is that you’ll get a fully managed service. This includes free server set up, 24/7 expert technical support, software updates and patching. VPS also comes with a similar control panel to a shared hosting package, which makes negotiating your new environment easy to do.
VPS hosting is a low-cost solution with big features. It’s the ideal next step for growing businesses and websites looking for more secure web hosting together with better performance, more storage and increased processing capacity.
If moving to VPS is something you wish to consider, take a look at our affordable, fully managed VPS packages.