What is dedicated hosting, VPS hosting and shared hosting? And when are they right for your business?

Many of us see the terms “shared hosting”, “VPS hosting” and “dedicated hosting”, and our eyes understandably glaze over. It’s not very obvious what the difference is at first glance, and even less obvious when each type of hosting it suitable for your business. We thought we’d put together a quick and simple run down of each type, to help you determine whether shared hosting, VPS hosting or dedicated hosting is right for you at this time – and what you might need to consider for the future.

We’re going to start from the most heavy duty option, and work our way back.

Dedicated Hosting

It’s easier perhaps to think of website hosting as a box. That box represents a server, which incidentally looks like an awful lot like a box.

With dedicated hosting, you are paying for the entire box. You don’t have to share it with anyone, and everything inside that box is all yours to play with. Think of it like a fancy-pants mansion, high on a hill somewhere.

The sort of things you will find inside the box include a CPU (central processing unit), as well as hard drives which supply storage space for your files, and finally memory, also known as RAM. These things determine how quickly your box can process information, as well as how much information can be processed at the same time.

Dedicated hosting is generally considered to be the royalty of all hosting solutions, and is suitable for very large, very hard-working and/or very busy websites, usually with thousands of visitors on a daily basis. Ultimately, if your website grows large enough to need to be hosted on a dedicated server, that can only mean good things!

Dedicated hosting comes in two formats, fully-managed or self-managed. The difference between the two basically boils down to who will set up and maintain the operating system of the server. If it is fully-managed, then all of the necessary maintenance such as backups, updates, security and optimisation will be done for you at the server level. This should not be confused with the maintenance that will still always be required at the website level too. A fully-managed server includes just that – the server management. The website management on the other hand is something else entirely, and will usually need to be done by yourself or your web developer. These plans can come in all shapes and sizes, take a look at our dedicated hosting options to see which will be best suited to you.

VPS Hosting

VPS hosting is the middle-ground between entry-level shared hosting, and dedicated hosting. If we go back to our box analogy, with VPS hosting you may be sharing your box with a small handful of other residents. Think of it like a luxury townhouse complex!

The overall resources of that box will be divided up between all of you, and none of you will be able to use more than your allocated share.

There is still a lot of separation with VPS hosting, but without the expense of having the whole box to yourself. For instance, although you are still sharing the box, if one of your neighbours catches a nasty virus, the dividing walls inside are generally high enough to ensure that you can’t catch it from them.

VPS hosting is also a lot more affordable than dedicated hosting and once again comes in two different formats, those being fully-managed and self-managed. Once again, fully-managed means all of the server setup and maintenance is done for you by a team of professionals. However, if you’re very savvy with server management, you may prefer to do these tasks yourself, in which case a self-managed VPS hosting plan would suit you just fine.

VPS hosting is perfect for when you have outgrown the shared hosting environment, but you’re not quite ready to dive into a dedicated server of your very own. Both managed and self-managed VPS plans come with different specifications, so chose wisely!

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is where it all begins. This is the most entry-level hosting plan available on the market. As such, it is also the cheapest by a long shot.

If we once again go back to our box analogy, shared hosting is where you are sharing the box with several hundred other residents. Think of it like an apartment complex.

You’ll be a little more packed in, and your resources to an extent will be shared. You’ll still be allocated a limit of how many you can use, however there would not be enough resources on the server for all of the residents to max out their resources at the same time, so sometimes your neighbours may hold you back a little in terms of performance.

This sort of hosting is usually just fine for most small business and personal websites! Take a look at our available hosting plans if you think that they are a good fit for your needs!


If you’ve got any other questions about dedicated hosting, VPS hosting or shared hosting, please don’t be shy! The team are always here to help.

Simply call us on 1300 MY HOST (694 678) during business hours, or submit a ticket through OnePanel and one of the crew will be in touch!

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