The majority of the sites I’ve produced have been on shared hosting plans. In short, a shared hosting plan is where multiple sites are stored on the same server. Every site on that server shares the resource capacity (disk space, bandwidth, etc.) of that server; there’s no cap for how much resource a single account can use. So if a single site on the server consumes of a ton of memory, or gets an insane amount of traffic, the performance of every site on that server will suffer.
Because of their affordability, shared hosting plans are by far the most popular. The price makes shared hosting tempting, but we have a few reasons you may want to consider upgrading to a VPS.
What is a VPS?
A Virtual Private Server (VPS) is similar to a shared hosting account in the sense that multiple sites are stored on the same server. However, a VPS partitions individual accounts so they have a guaranteed allotment of system resources. On a VPS, there’s a defined amount of memory, bandwidth, etc. that only you can use. It doesn’t matter if there’s a resource hog hosted on the same server.
This means your site will perform better (provided you don’t exceed your resources), and your site will enjoy:
- Better security. On a shared hosting account, websites share the same server configuration; this makes it easier for hackers and bots to find security holes. And if another site is compromised, it threatens every other site on that server.
You may also be in a shared environment where it’s possible for someone else on the same server to create permissions on your website files that gives them ‘read’ or ‘read, write’ access to those files. This allows them to use the ‘read’ permissions to read files and gain access to your database and site data. They can also use ‘write’ permissions to insert malicious code and give them full access to your site.
- Greater speed. You’re much less likely to run into performance bottlenecks on a VPS, and you’ll see better uptime. There’s no risk of your site going down because another site got a huge surge in traffic.
Depending on your host, there are other perks to having a VPS: newer versions of PHP, SSH access, CDN management, etc.
- Dedicated IP. Another risk of shared hosting is that every site shares the same IP address. If some spammy site on your server gets its IP blacklisted, then so is yours. (There’s also the risk that another site gets hacked and then flagged by Google.) And unless the host switches everyone to a new IP block, then you could lose your standing in Google, Bing, etc. (NOTE: While some shared hosting accounts do offer a dedicated IP address, there’s always an upcharge.)
If you’re curious what other sites are hosted on your server, you can use this Reverse IP Lookup tool, or the “neighborhood checker” from Majestic. You may be surprised which sites you share an IP with, or how many. But if you search my site – you’ll find one.