Shared Web Hosting vs. VPS Hosting, Part 1

Originally Published on on October 31, 2008 By inmotion

We are often asked about VPS versus Shared Hosting. Most small and very small businesses will find shared hosting is a very good fit at a very reasonable price. There definitely does come a point when most businesses outgrow shared web hosting plans. Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting can provide a solid “next step” for both medium-sized businesses and those smaller businesses that rely heavily on their site or email on a day-to-day basis.

In this first article we’ll outline a few of the key differences between shared web hosting and VPS hosting. Some of these apply only in the case of InMotion Hosting’s plans, but many of them are standard for VPS implementations.

Separate OS and Software

Virtual Private Servers have a complete autonomous Operating System specifically for that VPS. All of the software necessary to run a shared hosting server is present but setup just for the VPS to use. A VPS from InMotion Hosting is almost identical to having a dedicated server while having the convenience of a shared hosting account. It even has a full copy of Cpanel included.

Private Email Server & IP Address

Shared web hosting solutions share not only the web server but also the email server. In many situations, shared mail servers will handle thousands if not tens of thousands of domains at a time. With a VPS Hosting solution, a company will have its own email server dedicated to handling its own email. In addition, the email will be coming from a unique IP address and this greatly helps ensure fast, accurate delivery. There are several other benefits but the above two are the biggest factors for small and medium sized businesses that rely on email for their daily operations.

Custom Security Policy

VPS Hosting platforms are allow for a customized security policy. Your company can dictate how your vps is accessed and when. For example, with shared web hosting, email (POP/SMTP/IMAP/Web Mail) must be accessible through both secure and standard connections. VPS Hosting allows the business to require that its employees access their email through a secure socket layer (SSL) connection. This helps ensure logins and passwords are encrypted and can help prevent hackers from obtaining that information while in transit.

On-Server Anti-Virus Scanning

VPS Hosting accounts will most often include the ability to scan all incoming email for potential virus threats through an on-server virus scanning process. This is a resource intensive process and shared hosting typically doesn’t include it because it can greatly degrade reliability of the shared hosting server.

Customizable Firewall

Shared web hosting usually (and really should if it doesn’t) includes some form of firewall protection to help prevent hackers from accessing the server. When the firewalls are set up for shared hosting, access must be allowed to everyone on that particular server to control panels, web mail, POP, SMTP, FTP, etc. With VPS hosting, because it’s a stand-alone environment, the firewall can be locked down to only allow access from specific locations to those important services. For example, a business may be concerned about who has access to update the web site and will want to only allow access from their office to FTP or the hosting control panel.

A follow up coming soon.

Please feel free to ask questions, technical or from a business standpoint, and I will try to answer them in our upcoming posts.