VPS hosting contains the best elements of shared hosting and dedicated hosting services. Like shared hosting, VPS hosting puts your website on a server that also has other sites running on it, except that there are fewer sites per server. The sites share the cost of running on the server, which results in a monthly or yearly charge that's less than the relatively high price tag of dedicated hosting.
We're often asked whether a virtual private server is faster than shared hosting options. Unfortunately, it's impossible to provide a general answer. There are powerful hosting plans with faster computing resources than that of a VPS. The difference, however, lies in the fact that our VPS services offer guaranteed resources (computing power), whereas shared hosting products are influenced by the number of resources available to other customers and ultimately only represent theoretical values.
Excellent performance, great features, and helpful tech support propel InMotion Hosting to second place in our roundup of the best web hosting services 2020. InMotion has been around since 2001, and is one of the world's largest independent web hosting companies. It offers several shared hosting plans, with prices starting at a very attractive monthly cost.
US-based GoDaddy is one of the largest web hosting companies around. As one of the few that’s done television advertising, it’s probably the best known, too. Even its cheapest web hosting package comes with 100GB storage, unmetered bandwidth, and a free domain – with plenty of options due to GoDaddy's vast domain name repository. GoDaddy also boasts a guaranteed 99.9% uptime, free backup and restore, and expert hosting support available 24/7, all year round.
You get other customer-centric bonuses for 24/7 customer support, including 24/7 toll-free callback phone support, free domain name and SSL certificates for as long as you remain a MochaHost customer, a website builder with 500 free templates (and a service that will custom-design your site if you need) and a site migration service. In addition, all plans are e-commerce ready and come with free shopping cart software.
That means that, even though there may be multiple virtual machines on the same physical server, you are in an isolated environment with dedicated resources (RAM, Storage) and virtually allocated CPUs that no one else can touch. Plus, with root access, you can make technical changes that would not be allowed on a shared hosting plan. You get the advanced performance, control and flexibility usually reserved for dedicated servers, but at a much lower price.
Web hosting services offer varying amounts of monthly data transfers, storage, email, and other features. Even how you pay (month-to-month payments vs. annual payments) can be radically different, too, so taking the time to plot exactly what your company needs for online success is essential. Many of these companies also offer reseller hosting services, which let you go into business for yourself, offering hosting to your own customers without requiring you to spin up your own servers.
HostGator gained points for uptime monitoring and regular backups, along with free cPanel or Plesk. We liked that SSH is available for the more technically inclined site operators and that dedicated IP addresses could be purchased. We did take points off because it's sometimes difficult to tell what the price is once promotional plans run their course. That said, with a generous 45-day money back guarantee, there's a hosting solution for almost everyone at HostGator.
If you're not sure of the type of hosting your business needs, you might want to start small, with shared Web hosting. You can always graduate to a more robust, feature-rich package of, say, VPS hosting or even dedicated hosting in the future. Unfortunately, some hosts don't offer all hosting types. Consider how much you expect to grow your website, and how soon, before you commit to anything longer than a one-year plan. It's worth spending the time up front to make sure that the host you select with is able to provide the growth you envision for your site, as switching web hosting providers midstream is not a trivial undertaking.
We use this analogy on our web hosting page. Shared hosting is like an apartment building – lots of residents in the same building, sharing the same resources, but also very affordable. Dedicated servers are like having your state-of-the-art house, where you’ll pay a lot more, but you also don’t have to share the space or utilities with anyone. VPS is in the middle, like a townhouse, where you have a few residents in the same building, but you each have dedicated resources and are in full control of your home. It costs less than a dedicated server, but still gives you much of the same benefits.
VPS hosting sits in the intersection of shared hosting and dedicated servers. Unlike shared hosting, VPS is an isolated environment with dedicated resources, which means you have more processing power and your site loads faster. VPS is best suited for applications that have seasonal traffic spikes or RAM-heavy/CPU-intensive applications. If you are developing a new application that has a complex database and you’re not sure how many visits you’ll get, VPS hosting is the affordable option to start with before you upgrade to a dedicated server.
A VPS runs its own copy of an operating system (OS), and customers may have superuser-level access to that operating system instance, so they can install almost any software that runs on that OS. For many purposes they are functionally equivalent to a dedicated physical server, and being software-defined, are able to be much more easily created and configured. They are priced much lower than an equivalent physical server. However, as they share the underlying physical hardware with other VPSes, performance may be lower, depending on the workload of any other executing virtual machines.
BigCommerce is a bit different from our other hosting plans in that it's a SaaS (software-as-a-service) provider instead of an IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) provider. In other words, rather than renting space on a virtual machine where you setup and configure your own site, BigCommerce provides you with an app you login to that creates and online store.
As a result of VPS hosting's hybrid nature, its cost isn't quite as low as shared hosts' fees, but it's not nearly as high as dedicated hosts' fees. You can expect to pay between $20 per month and $100 per month, depending on the configuration. Shared web hosting, on the other hand, is extremely cheap hosting; you can often set up shop for less than $10 per month. Dedicated web hosting will typically set you back $100 per month or more.
Telling someone what I do for a living is always an interesting experience. Either we’re totally in sync, both lost in conversation about WordPress woes or some time-saving program update, or it’s me talking with crickets in response. There’s just something about web hosting. It’s hit-or-miss whether someone is up to speed on the nuances of all that this industry has to offer.