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 hosting is the 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.
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 is the big cheese of the web hosting space. You don’t simply get a slice of pizza– you get the whole pie. 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).
If you just want to know who’s the best provider, then we actually recommend Bluehost for both VPS and Dedicated hosting. Its cheap plans and WordPress integration make it a fine choice for VPS users and dedicated alike.
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 our 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.
We recommend VPS Hosting for users who need their site to adapt to any situationVPS hosting has all the flexibility to take on any circumstance. If you think your website will go through fluctuating periods of high traffic, then VPS’ hypervisor will be able to allocate resources, meaning your users will never see a dip in performance. If you want to be prepared while also keeping costs down, VPS is the way to go.
We recommend dedicated hosting for those who value size and control over everythingThere’s no such thing as being too cautious when it comes to being online. If you want absolute control with all the bells and whistles, then dedicated hosting is for you. You won’t have to worry about performance dips or having to share resources when you have the whole server to yourself, giving you time to work and grow your website.
VPS Hosting Pros and 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
| 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
Dedicated hosting has better 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).
Because you hold a larger portion of the server’s hardware, you have more resources. 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.
To show you the difference, let’s take a look at InMotion, the provider with the best dedicated storage. The most storage you can get on an InMotion VPS plan is 360GB, which is quite a lot. In contrast, the most storage you can get on a InMotion dedicated plan is a whopping 4TB… that’s over 10x as much!
Dedicated hosting has the better 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.
This is why dedicated hosting is more secure than VPS hosting. Bluehost, for example, offers security as a paid extra through SiteLock for its VPS hosting, while for dedicated it’s complete with added SSL and network monitoring.
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.
Dedicated hosting has the better 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.
In our research, we noticed a lot of differences in the performances of providers for VPS and dedicated. For example, Bluehost scored 2.7 out of 5 for its VPS performance, but for dedicated hosting that rose to 3.6 out of 5. This will largely be due in fact to the extra server space you get on dedicated hosting.
Additionally, the performances for dedicated tended to outperform those of VPS. The highest performance score we got for VPS hosting was Hostwinds with a 4.1 out of 5, while the majority of providers were in the 2-3 out of 5 range. Dedicated hosting, however, was much higher performing in general with the highest score achieved being InMotion with 4.5 out of 5.
VPS hosting has the better 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 hosting has the better 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 hosting has the better value for money
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 annually (12 month contracts):
|Providers||VPS Hosting Plans||Dedicated Hosting Plans|
|Bluehost||$24.99/month - $83.99/month||$99.99/month - $139.99/month|
|HostGator||$23.95/month - $53.95/month||$109.97/month - $159.98/month|
|InMotion||$24.99/month - $59.99/month||$69.99/month - $269/month|
|1&1 IONOS||$2/month (includes $10 setup fee) - $18/month||$65/month - $160/month|
When it comes to pricing, Bluehost offers the best value VPS hosting and the best value dedicated hosting, with a 3.9 out of 5 value for money score in our VPS research and a 4.4 out of 5 value for money score for dedicated hosting.
This may seem a little odd considering 1&1 IONOS and InMotion have cheaper starting prices for dedicated hosting but as the resources increase in size so do their prices. Bluehost is able to offer a similar resource size without bloating in price as dramatically as the competition, making it our best choice for value for money.
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
Of the top three VPS hosting providers, Bluehost has the best value for money plans and an overall score of 4.8 out of 5 for hosting in our research. It also provides the best uptime at 99.98%. It may be a little lighter on storage than some of the other providers on this list, but you will still have enough for a small business website. Where Bluehost comes into its own, though, is WordPress hosting, so we’d definitely recommend checking it out.
While it comes second overall in our research, for VPS hosting specifically HostGator is actually tied with Bluehost with a 4.6 out of 5. Where it loses out slightly is price, but it makes up for it as the leading provider of 24/7 help and support with a fantastic 4.9 out of 5! Combined with its great features and generous amounts of storage, HostGator won’t leave you high and dry!
From our research, InMotion is a solid provider for VPS hosting with top features and great value for money. InMotion offers a respectable uptime of 99.97%, up to 360GB of storage, unlimited bandwidth, and 16GB of RAM. You also get access to an abundance of help features, a free domain, and a 30-day, money-back guarantee.
Top 3 Dedicated Hosting Providers
Bluehost again offers the best value plans when it comes to dedicated hosting from the top three providers with a score in our research of 4.4 out of 5. The 99.98% uptime it offers is one of the best around, and its features are pretty great too, such as the 15TB of bandwidth on the later plans. In our dedicated hosting research, Bluehost scored a mighty impressive 4.9 out of 5 overall, easily earning the top position.
1&1 IONOS is the newcomer to our top three since our pre-2021 testing and it came with a very impressive resume. It comes in second for price and third for features for our research for dedicated hosting, and with eight plans to choose from, you’re sure to find the one that suits you.
HostGator’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. HostGator’s top-tiered pricing can look a little off-putting, but few websites will ever need that level of plan. With up to 8 CPU cores, 30GB of RAM, and unlimited bandwidth on offer, HostGator is certainly a big player in the dedicated hosting space.
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:
|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: VPS Hosting
|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 setup and support aren’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 - $150/month.||The most powerful and most expensive type of hosting, usually ranging from $60 - $300/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 Bluehost, HostGator, and InMotion. Bluehost came top from our research findings, with the best value for money and great included extras such as free IP addresses and unlimited domains.
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 unrivaled performance.
Bluehost once again stands above the rest and comes in as the best dedicated hosting provider due to its cheap pricing and having the second highest storage capacity on offer. Coming in second after Bluehost is 1&1 IONOS, which offers similarly cheap plans on top of great features, while in third is HostGator, known for its stellar 24/7 support and abundance of brilliant features.
Website Builder Expert aims to provide you with honest data. That’s why we conduct our own research and obtain direct, personal insight.