When it comes to web hosting, you have 3 major options:
- Shared Hosting
- Dedicated Hosting
- VPS Hosting
If your website is driving a lot of traffic, though, shared hosting is not a realistic option – it’s only suitable for small websites or blogs and will crash if you drive too much traffic to it.
This leaves you with 2 options:
VPS hosting VS dedicated server hosting.
At a glance, the two are very similar – they’re both suitable for larger websites and allow for good website performance.
This leaves you with one question: which of the two options is right for your business?
In this article, we’re going to teach you:
- What Is Virtual Private Server Hosting (VPS)?
- What Is Dedicated Server Hosting?
- What’s the Difference Between VPS and Dedicated Servers
- VPS vs Dedicated Server Hosting: Pros and Cons
- Should You Get a VPS or a Dedicated Server?
So, let’s get started:
What is Virtual Private Server Hosting (VPS)?
VPS hosting is a type of hosting where you share a single server’s resources with several other users.
And yes – it’s a bit similar to shared hosting, but the two are not exactly the same.
With shared hosting, you share the entire server resources with other users. Meaning, if a website you’re sharing a server with gets too much traffic, YOUR website will slow down to a crawl, too.
With VPS hosting, on the other hand, you have a part of the server dedicated to you alone.
For example, if you’re paying for 1 GB of RAM out of 8 GB on the server, that 1 GB belongs to you and other users won’t be able to use it.
Think of it like renting an apartment in an apartment block. The block is shared, but this single apartment is yours and your neighbors can’t just barge in and use your kitchen.
What is Dedicated Server Hosting?
Dedicated server hosting is a type of hosting where you own the entire server (and not just a small part of it).
Think, instead of renting a single apartment in an apartment block, you own the entire block and you can do whatever you want with it.
For example, you can customize your server setup, pick what software you want to use, track malicious traffic and block it, upgrade your server hardware when needed, and so much more.
With a VPS, on the other hand, you can’t really do much in terms of customization.
6 Key Differences Between VPS and Dedicated Servers
As we just mentioned, the major difference between the two types of servers is whether you get a piece of the pie, or the entire pie.
But what does this mean, exactly?
Do you really need the entire pie, or is a single slice enough?
To help you make that decision, here are the exact differences between dedicated servers and virtual private servers.
#1. Resource Allocation
This one’s simple math:
With a dedicated server you get access to an entire server, which has MANY more capabilities than 1/8th of a server (which you’d be getting with a VPS).
And the more resources you have access to, the better your website will perform:
It will load faster, have less downtime, and won’t instantly crash if you get a spike in traffic.
Obviously, owning an entire server versus 1/8th of it is going to be that much more expensive.
A dedicated server will definitely give you a lot more resources to work with. The real question, however, is do you really need them?
If you’re just starting out with hosting your website, a VPS can be significantly more affordable.
If you have the resources to pay for a dedicated server, though, it’s definitely a much better choice.
#2. Server Performance
How your server performs has a very serious impact on your business (especially if the website itself is a large part of it, e.g. e-commerce, SaaS, etc.). Here’s why:
- Website performance has a big impact on your SEO, which impacts whether your customers can find you on Google.
- Users today expect your website to load fast. If your site takes 30 whole seconds to load, they’ll just go to your competitors instead.
- The faster your website is, the better experience your customers will have, making them more likely to stick around.
So, that said, you want a server that allows for better website loading speed and performance.
When it comes to server performance, a dedicated server is significantly better than a VPS. As you have more resources at your disposal, the website can simply run faster, better, and with less downtime.
If you want your website to be as fast as it can be, you definitely need a dedicated server.
If you’re just getting started with your business/web presence, though, sometimes a VPS can be enough.
We probably don’t have to tell you that your website security is important.
A DDoS attack, for example, can keep your site down for days in a row (costing you potential customers).
A hacker can also manage to get access to your servers and steal your data.
So – how do dedicated servers and VPS hosting compare in terms of server security?
As VPS hosting means sharing a server with other users, this can be a serious security threat. If someone else on the server gets hacked, the attacker might also get access to YOUR resources and do some damage there.
With dedicated server hosting, on the other hand, you own your servers, so you don’t run such a risk.
Dedicated servers are significantly more secure than VPS hosting, no doubt about it.
If the security of your data or servers is important to your business, then dedicated servers are definitely the right choice.
#4. Server Customization & Configuration
In terms of server customization and configuration, there’s not much difference between the two hosting options.
Both dedicated servers and VPS hosting come with Managed and Unmanaged plans (i.e. you can have the provider manage the hosting plan, or you can do it yourself if you’re tech-savvy).
Both types of hosting also provide root access and allow you to customize the server software configuration.
There’s not much difference between the two hosting types in terms of server customization, so let’s call this one a tie.
Scalability means how fast/well you can update your servers to support more traffic.
Imagine waking up one day and realizing you’re driving 2x more traffic (and paying customers) than yesterday.
Not necessarily – chances are, your hosting plan can’t support the traffic. Your website is crashing constantly, and your users need 10+ seconds to load each page.
This is where scalability comes in: it determines how fast you can upgrade your hosting to accommodate new users.
So – dedicated servers VS VPS hosting. Which one wins in terms of scalability?
- VPS hosting – Scaling is extremely easy. All you have to do is go to your VPS hosting provider website and update your plan.
- Dedicated servers – Chances are, you don’t really need to scale your dedicated servers – they can already handle a LOT of traffic. That said, if you DO need an upgrade, scaling can take a bit more time, as you need to physically upgrade your hardware.
Scaling VPS hosting is significantly faster and easier.
That said, if you’re using dedicated servers, you probably won’t even need to scale in the first place – you can already handle a significant amount of traffic.
In terms of price, there’s a clear winner between dedicated servers and VPS.
As you can imagine, owning an entire apartment block is more expensive than owning a single apartment.
That said, it all comes down to how many resources you’re paying for with VPS hosting.
You can be renting the bare minimum (e.g. 1 GB of RAM out of 8), or almost the entire thing (7 GB out of 8).
If you’re doing the latter, the price will most likely be very close to that of dedicated server hosting.
VPS hosting is a lot more affordable for smaller websites than dedicated server hosting.
That said, if you end up scaling up your VPS hosting plan, the price will soon catch up with that of dedicated server hosting.
VPS vs Dedicated Server Hosting: Pros and Cons
Now that we’ve covered all the differences between dedicated server hosting and VPS hosting, let’s cover the pros and cons for each of the two.
VPS Hosting Pros and Cons
VPS Hosting Pros
- Scaling your server capabilities is extremely easy – just upgrade your hosting plan.
- It can be quite cheap, with a good bang for the buck (especially for smaller businesses).
VPS Hosting Cons
- Not as fast, reliable, or secure as dedicated servers.
- You don’t have control over the server hardware.
- You only own a small part of the server, as opposed to the entire server.
Dedicated Server Pros and Cons
Dedicated Server Pros
- You get access to an entire server.
- Your server is more secure, as you don’t share it with other users.
- You get the best possible server performance, allowing for faster website load speed.
- You can upgrade your server hardware when needed.
- You don’t really need to scale your server – it can handle (almost) as much traffic as you throw at it.
Dedicated Server Cons
- Can be significantly more expensive than the alternative hosting methods.
- Scaling can be slower than with VPS hosting (because you have to physically upgrade the server hardware).
- Not affordable for smaller businesses.
Should You Get a Virtual Private Server or a Dedicated Server?
So, time to get to the point. Should you get a VPS or a dedicated server?
Here’s what we think:
Get a VPS If:
- You’re a small business that’s not too reliant on their website (bar, restaurant, local accounting firm, etc.)
- You don’t have a lot of traffic on your website and you don’t expect it to increase (e.g. early-stage SaaS company, blog, etc.)
- You don’t handle your users’ important data (and hence, security is not as important).
Get a Dedicated Server If:
- You get a lot of traffic on your website and need a strong server to handle it.
- Website performance is very important in your niche (e.g. SaaS business).
- You handle a lot of sensitive customer information and hence security is very important for your business.
- You’re using a server to back up your data and need this data to be secure.
If you need a backup solution for your business, we recommend getting a dedicated server for backup.
You should also follow the 3-2-1 backup rule for creating the optimal data backup strategy!
Best VPS and Dedicated Server Provider
There are dozens of VPS and dedicated server providers out there.
Not sure which one to pick?
We might be biased, but we recommend RedSwitches.
- Cheap Dedicated Server Hosting – Our pricing starts at only 100 USD per month.
- 24/7/365 Support – When issues arise, you need help now, not tomorrow morning. We offer 24/7 support, ensuring that all problems are solved in a timely manner.
- Proactive Monitoring – You have a business to run, so you don’t have time to deal with technical issues. Our team of expert engineers looks after your server, solving any problems that might pop up.
- World-Class Security – Virus scans, real-time system monitoring, and anti-DDoS protection are all standard in our managed plans. We’ll watch your server so you can watch your business.
VPS vs Dedicated Server Hosting FAQ
Still have some questions about VPS vs dedicated server hosting?
This is where we’ll answer them:
#1. What Is the Main Difference Between Dedicated and Virtual Servers?
With dedicated servers, you get to own an entire server – you’re the only one who has access to the hardware. With virtual servers, on the other hand, you’re one of several users taking advantage of the server.
#2. How Does a Virtual Private Server Work?
A virtual private server offers computing resources to a few tenants in a virtualized environment. It differs from shared hosting because it has less users than shared servers, but it’s also different from dedicated servers that have a single tenant.
A VPS runs on a physical server and users access it over the internet.
#3. Is a Dedicated Server Worth It?
If you want to get the most power out of your server, yes, dedicated servers are totally worth it. They allow for:
- Significantly better website performance.
- Advanced security features for your website.
- Ability to handle a LOT more traffic than other hosting options.
#4. How Much Does a Dedicated Server Cost?
On average, dedicated servers cost around $100 per month. But it can also depend on the dedicated server provider.
At RedSwitches, we offer the most advanced dedicated server hardware and software, starting at a small price of 100 USD per month!
Check out our full guide to dedicated server pricing to learn more.
#5. What Are Benefits of VPS Hosting?
The benefits of VPS hosting are:
- Can be significantly cheaper than dedicated hosting.
- Easy to scale up when you need more power.
- More control over your server than with shared hosting (but not as much as with dedicated servers).
#6. What Are Benefits of Dedicated Server Hosting?
The benefits of dedicated server hosting are:
- You have access to a LOT of resources for your server.
- Your website is going to be significantly faster and more secure.
- You don’t need to scale up your server – it can already handle (almost) any traffic you throw at it.
#7. What’s the Difference Between Managed and Unmanaged Hosting Plans?
Both VPS and dedicated servers offer an option of managed and unmanaged plans. Here’s what they mean:
- Managed plan – Your hosting provider’s tech team handles the server maintenance and whatever else you might need. E.g. picking the software, hardware, etc.
- Unmanaged plan – Your own tech team is in charge of maintaining your servers.
If you have a strong tech team and are a larger organisation, you can potentially go for an unmanaged plan.
Otherwise, the managed plan is a much better choice.
#8. How Do I Know If I Should Upgrade From VPS to Dedicated Hosting?
The simplest way to know if you should upgrade is by paying attention to your website’s loading speed.
Try visiting your website from different countries via a VPN, and see how long it takes to load.
If the website is loading very slowly, then it might be time to upgrade to a dedicated server.
And that covers just about everything you need to know about the differences between VPS and dedicated hosting!
Now, let’s do a quick recap and summarize our most important learning points:
- A virtual private server is a type of server where you rent a small part of a larger server for your needs.
- A dedicated server, on the other hand, is a type of server which you completely own.
- The main difference between the two types of servers is that a dedicated server is more secure and performs better, but is also significantly more expensive.
- If you can afford paying more for a faster web server, we always recommend going with dedicated servers.
- If you’re a small business that doesn’t really need a stronger website, though, a VPS should be fine too.