Shared vs VPS vs Dedicated vs Cloud Hosting

When you’re getting ready to launch a new website project, choosing the right web host can be a tough decision. Even for experienced developers, it’s no easy task given the overwhelming number of hosting companies available that offer different kinds of services and features.

But before choosing a web host, it’s important to work out what kind of hosting you need.

In this article, we’ll explore the four main types of hosting: shared, VPS, dedicated and cloud hosting. Each of these options has its own distinct advantages and disadvantages, which are important to understand so you can determine which solution best matches your website’s needs.

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is the most popular option for people building their first website.

When you sign up for shared hosting, the hosting company will put your website on a server along with hundreds, if not thousands, of other websites. This means each customer has to share space and resources on the server with every other customer, including CPU time, memory and disk space.

Think of shared hosting like living in an apartment building. All of the residents share the same building, but share things like elevators and stairwells, car parking and garbage collection.

Shared hosting is the cheapest and most economical option as far as hosting goes. However, you get what you pay for – in this case, shared hosting comes with strict limitations.




Shared hosting can range in price from $3.95 to $9.95 per month depending on the web host you choose.

Best suited to

Small websites with minimal traffic such as blogs and personal sites.

Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting

VPS is similar to shared hosting in that your website shares a server with other sites, but there are fewer sites sharing space and resources and the server is partitioned out into different virtualized server environments. Unlike shared hosting, VPS usually provides baseline resources that you’re guaranteed, as well as additional resources available at a moment’s notice should your site experience a traffic spike.

Think of VPS like living in a condo. While you still share the same building as other residents, you are responsible for the maintenance of your property and any repairs that need to be carried out inside your condo. Plus, there are fewer residents and you get your own allocated car parking space.




VPS hosting can range in price from $20 to $100 per month depending on the web host you choose.

Best suited to

If shared hosting is too basic for your needs and you want dedicated resources and more control over your hosting environment, then a VPS could be the right fit for you.

Dedicated Hosting

A dedicated server is exactly like it sounds: Your website is stored on a single physical server dedicated to your own personal use. You don’t share the server with anyone, you have full rights to the resources of the server, and you can configure the hosting environments to your exact specifications.

This type of hosting is generally more expensive, but in return you get very high performance and a higher level of security compared to other forms of hosting.

Think of dedicated hosting like owning your own house. You are the only resident (other than your family, if you have one in this scenario!). You can park your car in your own driveway and paint your house whatever color you like. But you are ultimately responsible for maintaining your property and it’s up to you to install a security alarm to scare off burglars.




Dedicated hosting can range in price from $80 to as much as $500 per month depending on your needs. Pricing is usually based on server specifications and additional services.

Best suited to

Since dedicated hosting is quite pricey, it’s best suited to large businesses and high traffic websites that receive over 500,000 visitors per month and have the necessary technical staff to maintain the server. Dedicated hosting is also an ideal option if you have a business that requires a high level of security.

Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting is based on the concept of cloud computing technologies that allow an unlimited number of machines to act as one system. So instead of a website being hosting on a single server, it’s hosted on a virtual partition of a server and draws its resources from a network of existing servers. This allows multiple servers to work together to handle high traffic levels or spikes for any particular website – yes, you have to share resources with other users, similar to VPS, but because there are more servers involved, there are more resources available to everyone.

Cloud hosting is extremely reliable because it draws its resources from multiple different servers – if one server goes down, the other servers fill the gap. Also, cloud hosting is flexible and scalable, so it can grow with your website – if your site needs more resources, just add them.

Think of cloud hosting like renting a room using Airbnb. You share the house with the owner and other guests – if there are any other guests at all– and when you’re ready to move on you can stay at another home listed on Airbnb.




Dedicated hosting typically costs around $30 and above, but pricing is usually charged on a per-usage basis.

Best suited to

Cloud hosting is a great option for any size business, particularly given its affordability. However, if you don’t have the technical know-how or access to someone who does, you might want to check out other hosting options.


Before choosing a web host, it’s important to work out what type of hosting you need, whether it’s shared, VPS, dedicated or cloud hosting,

Hopefully, this article has provided you a solid overview of the different options available. Your next decision will be choosing a web hosting company and there are many more considerations, such as price, features, hardware, reputation and scalability to keep in mind.

If you’re starting out with your first website, it’s a good idea to start small with a reputable shared hosting plan. You can always upgrade and migrate your site to VPS, dedicated or cloud hosting later as your site grows.

Author's avatar

Raelene Morey is the Co-Founder of Words By Birds, a digital writing agency that helps busy WordPress with writing articles, content strategies, lead magnets and other word-related things. A former journalist and editor, Raelene has been developing WordPress sites for over 10 years.


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An amazing post for me like a newbie person. I am using some cheap website hosting for my site but there a lots of trouble so will try your recommendation soon. My website always down due to bandwidth and there is an internal server error as my customers getting occasionally. Thanks for sharing such a good post. Will try your tips and recommendation. I used bigrock for domain registration but not for hosting.

Thanks for the good tips! It's true that people often purchase a hosting solution which is not really appropriate for their projects. This usually results in frequent downfall (e.g. when you have a high-traffic website, but you've purchased a simple shared hosting plan with low features). Another common situation is when a person decides that they need a dedicated server, but they do not have the needed knowledge on how to manage the server. If a website is not big enough and does not have high traffic, then purchasing a dedicated server is rather unfounded. It will just cost you a lot more money than purchasing a VPS with good specifications. When I was choosing a hosting solution for my site, I decided that it's better to directly contact a hosting provider and ask which service will best suit my needs. The support team of was really helpful and suggested me which plan will be the most appropriate one for my site.

Thanks for the clear and concise explanation of the different hosting options which has been useful to me today! :)

I'm a small reseller and thanking to switch VPS but I'm really confused about it but this blog clears everything nicely. thanks for the details sharing.

Excellent read guys! The article serves as an excellent guide for newbies in the field. The article helped me in getting better understanding of the subject. Can you please write an article on hosting guide for eCommerce site too?

Awesome post! Very helpful!

I am currently using the shared hosting with bluehost right now and it's pretty slow. Hopefully upgrading to the VPS hosting will speed up my blog page!

Short, clear and concise. Perfectly written article, many thanks!

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