VPS Hosting vs Dedicated Hosting

7 Key Differences You Should Know

Keen to understand more about VPS or dedicated hosting? Read on as we dive into the key differences between the two, and help you decide which is most suitable for your needs.

There are many different types of web hosting out there, but the three most popular are shared, VPS and dedicated hosting. These hosting types vary in terms of performance level, as well as cost – but how exactly do they differ?

Shared is your most basic type of hosting. It’s only really suitable for small static sites or personal blogs. That’s why we’re focusing on the major players in the game: VPS hosting vs dedicated hosting.

VPS Hosting

Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting is where multiple websites use the same server, but have their own set resource limits on things like RAM and bandwidth. It also uses what’s known as a hypervisor (specialist software) to borrow resources from the other sites on the server if you’re maxed out and others aren’t using their full allocation.

Generally, VPS hosting is suited to small business websites, or large personal sites that need decent resource limits. No one wants the pain of slow loading speeds on their site, or worse still, to have their site constantly crashing. That’s why VPS hosting works well – it’s flexible in handling surges of traffic, and isn’t too expensive.

Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated hosting is the big cheese of the web hosting space. You don’t simply get a slice of stilton or a chunk of cheddar – you get the whole wheel of wensleydale. In essence, you have an entire server to yourself.

You’re in total control from the get-go, and can choose your own resource limits. Dedicated hosting tends to be for medium to big business sites, but if you’re ambitious, you can save time and hassle in the long-run by signing up to a dedicated plan (safe in the knowledge your site will grow to that level).

Making that call isn’t easy, though. Many may find themselves caught in two minds over which type of hosting to go for – in which case, allow us to help! We’ve spent our fair share of time online, and know out stuff about website hosting.

Through a series of analogies, we’ll help you break down the differences between VPS and dedicated hosting. By the end of this guide, there should be little doubt in your mind over which hosting plan to go for.

Further Information

  • How to Host a Website – Need to get to grips with the basics? Allow us to help.
  • Best Web Hosting Providers – There’s a lot of competition in the web hosting space. Here, we cut through the noise and rank the best in the business.

1

VPS Hosting vs Dedicated Hosting: Pros and Cons

VPS hosting pros and cons

VPS Hosting Pros VPS Hosting Cons
  • Adequate performance levels for the majority of websites
  • Cheaper than dedicated hosting
  • Can’t match dedicated hosting for resource or performance
  • You’re still sharing resource, so features may be limited

Dedicated hosting pros and cons

Dedicated Hosting Pros Dedicated Hosting Cons
  • Huge resource limits and great performance
  • Saves you upgrading to a higher plan should your website grow
  • Relatively expensive monthly pricing plans
  • Requires technical knowledge
2

Resource Allocation

The simplest way to think about resource allocation is like ordering a pizza. With VPS hosting, you’re all sharing the resources – every slice, all the sides, all the drinks, and even the dips. If you need extra, there’s always a chance someone may leave you some, but it’s not a guarantee.

With dedicated hosting, you have your own pizza. It could be a small, medium or large deal depending on how much you need, but either way, it’s all yours. Naturally, you’ll pay more, but in return, you have 100% of the re(sauce).

VPS hosting is less limited. Because you hold a larger portion of the server’s hardware, you have more resource. You’ll also get root access over the server environment, which basically means you can install extra software and edit any file on the server.

VPS vs Dedicated Hosting – Resource Allocation: Verdict

Dedicated hosting is the obvious winner here. You get as much resource as you like, as well as not having to rely on someone else. VPS hosting undoubtedly has its benefits, but it’s no contest when it comes to the amount of resource you’re supplied with.

3

Security

Think about security like living in a block of flats, as opposed to your own house. If someone leaves the door to your building open (i.e. another site on your server has a security breach), you may be at risk. Sure, they still have to get into your specific flat, but there’s a security risk nonetheless.

Dedicated hosting is like owning your own property. It can still be broken in to, but you can’t be put at risk by others’ carelessness.

Shared Hosting vs VPS Hosting – Security: Verdict

While VPS hosting is generally very secure, dedicated hosting offers a higher level of protection. Both types of hosting allow you to install your own security software, but with dedicated hosting, you are in full control of any security breaches.

4

Performance

In the world of web hosting, good performance is all about how quickly your website both loads and runs for users, and how well.

In the context of travel, performance is like a bus route. If only a few people get on the bus, the driver only needs to stop occasionally, meaning you’ll arrive much quicker (faster loading speeds). If lots of people get on (visit your site) the driver must stop at every destination, which inevitably slows down your journey (website).

VPS hosting gives you your own bus. And, if your bus becomes full, there’s a chance you can get a second bus (bandwidth from another site) in service too. Meanwhile, dedicated hosting gives you a turbo-charged, double-decker bus, capable of delivering tons of visitors to your site at breakneck speed.

VPS vs Dedicated Hosting – Performance: Verdict

Unsurprisingly, it’s another win for dedicated hosting. Greater resource limits mean your site should be able to deal with huge surges of traffic and still load quickly. VPS hosting offers great loading speeds, but if multiple sites on the server experience spikes in traffic, your site may slow down.

5

Configuration and Customization

Both VPS and dedicated hosting offer managed and unmanaged plans. These can be thought of like putting together furniture. With unmanaged plans, you’re given the tools, but must build it yourself; managed plans, on the other hand, will be built and maintained for you.

It’s no surprise, then, that most people opt for managed plans (even though they are a tad more expensive). In terms of customization, both VPS and dedicated hosting let you adapt your resource limits month-on-month, so there’s not much between the two.

VPS vs Dedicated Hosting – Configuration and Customization: Verdict

Both VPS hosting and dedicated hosting offer managed and unmanaged plans, and both have adjustable resource which can be amended month-on-month. VPS hosting does have a slight edge, though, in that you can borrow resource from other sites if you exceed your monthly limits.

6

Scalability

Scalability is the extent to which your hosting plan can grow with your website. This can be thought of like the growth of a tree.

VPS hosting is a bit like a budding olive tree – there’s space to grow, but you’ll never hit the same heights as a great oak.

Dedicated hosting, on the other hand, is just that – a great oak. You have all the resource, security and performance you could ask for, so there’s not really any room to scale. You can adjust your limits month-to-month, but you’ve effectively hit a glass ceiling.

VPS vs Dedicated Hosting – Scalability: Verdict

VPS hosting takes the win here. It acts as a great middle ground for sites who sit between needing a shared or dedicated hosting plan, and can grow with your site until you’re ready to upgrade. Dedicated hosting provides everything you need outright – if your website is ready for it, you’ve already scaled to the summit.

7

Price

No analogy is needed for price – after all, money makes the world go round.

As you’d imagine, dedicated hosting is more expensive than VPS hosting. You’re getting the best level of hosting out there, so it’s no surprise that these are the plans you pay the most for.

VPS hosting offers a nice range of prices. There are different tiers of plans that give you access to different levels of resource limits.

Below, we’ve put together a table of some of the best providers for both VPS and dedicated hosting. Costs range from the lowest price point to the highest, and all are charged monthly:

Provider VPS Hosting Plans Dedicated Hosting Plans
HostGator $89.95 – $159.95 $189 – $289
InMotion $39.99 – $144.99 $189.99 – $589.99
Bluehost $29.99 – $119.99 $119.99 – $209.99
A2 Hosting $49.99 – $99.99 $169.99 – $349.99

Bluehost offers the cheapest VPS and dedicated hosting plans out of any of the top providers. When it comes to quality, though, InMotion offers the best VPS hosting, while HostGator sits on the throne as the best dedicated hosting provider.

VPS vs Dedicated Hosting – Price: Verdict

It’s another win for VPS hosting. It’s clear that dedicated hosting gives you better performance, greater resource, and tighter security, but that all comes at a premium. VPS hosting still has adequate capacity for the majority of sites out there, and will be far more affordable for most.

VPS Hosting vs Dedicated Hosting: Top Providers

Here at Website Builder Expert, we’re not content with simply explaining the differences between types of hosting – we want to give you some real insight into the providers who offer them.

That’s why we conduct our own expert research. We’ve spent hours looking into hundreds of hosting plans, and put together a list of the top-rated providers based on the factors we’ve discussed.

Top 3 VPS Hosting Providers

InMotion

4.5 out of 5

Top Choice
Disk Space

5 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

5 out of 5 stars

Uptime

3.5 out of 5 stars

Pricing

3 out of 5 stars

Features

5 out of 5 stars

From our research, InMotion is the standout provider for VPS hosting – and with top features and great value for money, it’s easy to see why. InMotion offers a respectable uptime of 99.97%, up to 260GB of storage, 6TB of bandwidth, and 8GB of RAM. You also get access to an abundance of help features, a free domain, and a 30-day, money-back guarantee.

A2 Hosting

4.3 out of 5

Disk Space

2.5 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

5 out of 5 stars

Uptime

2.5 out of 5 stars

Pricing

4 out of 5 stars

Features

4 out of 5 stars

A2 Hosting is all about putting its customers first. You can get help and support 24/7 via phone, live chat, a ticketing system, or though its excellent knowledge center. Its uptime (99.95%) and features may not quite meet InMotion’s lofty heights, but there’s an anytime money-back guarantee, and you can get hosting on both a Windows and Linux server.

Bluehost

4.2 out of 5

Disk Space

2 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

5 out of 5 stars

Uptime

4 out of 5 stars

Pricing

3.5 out of 5 stars

Features

4 out of 5 stars

Of the top three VPS hosting providers, Bluehost has the cheapest plans. It also provides the best uptime at 99.98%. Features such as storage space and bandwidth are slightly smaller, but still pretty plentiful. Where Bluehost comes into its own, though, is WordPress hosting, so we’d definitely recommend checking it out if that’s something you need.

Top 3 Dedicated Hosting Providers

HostGator

4.8 out of 5

Top Choice
Disk Space

4 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

5 out of 5 stars

Uptime

4.5 out of 5 stars

Pricing

3.5 out of 5 stars

Features

4 out of 5 stars

HostGator is the king of hosting. As the leading provider of dedicated hosting, HostGator gives you the best uptime of 99.99%, 24/7 help and support, and tons of features with massive limits. These include up to 1TB of SSD storage, unmetered bandwidth, 30GB of RAM, and 8 CPU cores. If you need the best of the best, look no further.

Bluehost

4.6 out of 5

Disk Space

4 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

5 out of 5 stars

Uptime

4 out of 5 stars

Pricing

4 out of 5 stars

Features

3.5 out of 5 stars

Bluehost again offers the cheapest plans when it comes to dedicated hosting from the top three providers. The 99.98% uptime it offers is one of the best around, and its features are pretty great too. Although the limits are lower than those from HostGator, you do get a free backup, and the same level of help and support.

InMotion

4.4 out of 5

Disk Space

5 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

5 out of 5 stars

Uptime

3.5 out of 5 stars

Pricing

2.5 out of 5 stars

Features

3.5 out of 5 stars

InMotion’s main focus may be shared and VPS hosting, but the fact it’s a top three provider for dedicated hosting is a testament to how good the service really is. InMotion’s top-tiered pricing can look a little off-putting, but few websites will ever need that level of plan. With up to 16 CPU cores, 64GB of RAM, and 15TB of bandwidth on offer, InMotion certainly is a big player in the dedicated hosting space.

VPS Hosting vs Dedicated Hosting: Conclusion

Hopefully this article has cleared up the difference between VPS hosting and dedicated hosting. In short, VPS hosting works on a virtual shared server, where you host your website alongside others; dedicated hosting, meanwhile, gives you your own server to work off.

As you’d expect, VPS hosting and dedicated hosting differ in a number of ways. So, to recap, here’s a table that breaks down their differences in key areas and shows which is better:

Difference VPS Hosting Dedicated Hosting
Resource Allocation

 

Winner: Dedicated Hosting

Flexible resource limits with the possibility of using other websites’ resource on your server. Massive resource limits are flexible month-on-month depending on your needs.
Security

 

Winner: Dedicated Hosting

You can install your own security software, but are still pretty vulnerable if other sites on the server have a security breach. You’re in charge of your own security, and can install software to protect your site without relying on others.
Performance

 

Winner: Dedicated Hosting

Fast loading speeds for the most part, unless multiple sites on the server have traffic surges simultaneously. Super quick loading speeds based on the resources available to your website.
Configuration and Customization

 

Winner: Tie

Technical set-up can be done for you with a managed plan, and resources are flexible based on your site’s performance and that of those on your server. Again, technical set-up and support isn’t too much of an issue with managed plans, and you can customize your site with additional software.
Scalability

 

Winner: VPS Hosting

A great type of hosting to grow with your site, given its flexibility and the generous resource available. You’re already at the summit. You can upgrade your plan, but you shouldn’t really need to scale up much more.
Price

 

Winner: VPS Hosting

Cheaper than dedicated hosting with a nice affordable price range, usually around $20 – $120/month. The most powerful and most expensive type of hosting, usually ranging from $100 – $400/month.

VPS hosting is best for small business websites or large personal sites. It’s the logical step up from shared hosting, and has all the flexibility and resource you need to scale.

If that sounds like you, then we’d recommend taking a look at InMotion, A2 Hosting, or Bluehost. InMotion came top from our research findings, with the largest resource limits, great support, and an uptime of 99.97%.

Dedicated hosting is best for medium to large business websites, or influencers who experience large volumes of traffic. It’s the best form of hosting you can get, boasting almost infinite resource and unrivalled performance.

HostGator stands head and shoulders above the rest as the best dedicated hosting provider. Coming in second and third place are Bluehost and InMotion, respectively. HostGator is known for its stellar 99.99% uptime and abundance of brilliant features.

VPS Hosting vs Dedicated Hosting: FAQs

What are the benefits of VPS hosting?

VPS hosting has many advantages. It sits as a lovely middle ground between shared and dedicated hosting, with great flexible resource limits and a high level of control over your server’s software and hardware. VPS hosting is also affordable, and capable of growing with your website.

What are the benefits of dedicated hosting?

Dedicated hosting is as good as it gets. You have massive resource limits, capable of powering even the biggest of websites. It’s what enterprise-level business sites will run on, and can handle mass amounts of traffic without compromising the performance of your site.

What is cloud hosting?

Cloud hosting is a process that connects various servers, and pulls resource from each depending on your website’s needs. There’s no set cost with cloud hosting – it depends on your usage limits – so it can be seen as more ‘pay-as-you-go’.

How do I know if I’m ready to upgrade from VPS hosting to dedicated hosting?

One issue affecting websites that are ‘too big’ for VPS hosting is loading speeds. If visitors are complaining about this, it may be worth assessing whether you’ve got enough bandwidth resource. Similarly, if your site has lots of sensitive data, you may want to upgrade to avoid security risks.


Website Builder Expert aims to provide you with honest data. That’s why we conduct our own research and obtain direct, personal insight.

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About Charlie Carmichael

Charlie Carmichael

It's my job to research website builders and find out which one's really are best for your specific needs. Having tested numerous builders, I'm in a great position to help you guys not only get online, but have great success once there.

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