When it comes to building a website, there are numerous decisions you’ll need to make as far as what’s best for your needs once your site outgrows the usefulness of its standard web hosting service. One of the most important of these will be the type of server you decide to go with next.
While fully dedicated servers come alongside many advantages, not everyone may feel ready to make that investment right off the bat. Both semi-dedicated and cheap VPS hosting services offer the modern consumer on a budget some very viable alternatives and represent a good middle ground to migrate to after outgrowing standard shared hosting services. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between the two and examine the pros and cons of each option.
What Is the Difference Between the Two?
Which of these two options for you is going to depend largely on what your individual needs are, as well as what you’re hoping to get out of a server upgrade. However, it helps to start with a basic understanding of what each option actually is in a nutshell.
With a VPS (virtual private server) hosting option, you’re getting an option that is a bit like having a fully dedicated server, but on a much smaller, more limited scale. One server is, in effect, split up into a number of individual parts and your site will be hosted on one of these parts.
A semi-dedicated server is going to offer you a similar experience to the one you’re already used to getting from a standard web hosting service. Your site will be sharing resources with other websites and webmasters. However, there will be far fewer accounts assigned to any given server than with the standard options. The result is a much higher degree of functionality for each individual website.
The Pros and Cons of Cheap VPS Hosting
One of the major reasons people decide to go with cheap VPS hosting over another option is that they’re on a tight budget and can’t necessarily afford to pay a lot more for web hosting than they already are. However, many of the benefits that come with dedicated hosting are important to them. (Virtual private hosting servers can start out at price points that are very close to those attached to standard hosting options.)
Even so, it’s important to understand that the more resources you want to be able to take advantage of, the more it’s going to cost you to go this route. Be aware that some hosting providers are going to charge a lot extra for options like server backups, access to the control panel, dedicated IP addresses, and more.
If you’ve always wanted root access to your website server, then VPN hosting could definitely be something to consider. You’ll have the ability to reboot your portion of the server when and if necessary. You’ll have your choice of operating systems, installed software, and other similar concerns.
However, it’s important to understand that you’ll have more responsibility to take care of as well. It’s going to be up to you to make sure your account stays up to date, patched, and secure. These things won’t be taken care of for you by your hosting provider. You’re more or less on your own.
Degree of Protection
Although the responsibility level that comes with a VPN server is considerably higher, you do get to rest easy knowing that your website has its own dedicated set of resources. You won’t have to worry about whether or not other users that share a server with you are using more than their fair share of the associated resources.
It is, however, very important that you choose a service provider with care. Not everyone is going to be as honest as they should be about the amount of resources you’re getting for your money.
The Pros and Cons of Semi-Dedicated Servers
To be sure, semi-dedicated servers are more expensive than the cheaper shared hosting options you’re used to. However, they are still significantly cheaper than a fully dedicated server would be. As far as how they compare to VPN servers, it depends largely on the hosting provider you choose, but the general range is going to fall within the same ballpark.
Limitations and Functionality
Since you’ll be sharing hosting resources with other users that have their websites located on the same server you do, you’ll have to be prepared for everything that comes along with that situation. If one of the other accounts turns out to be a resource hog, it could negatively affect the functionality of your own website.
As with VPN hosting options, it’s really important to choose a hosting provider that has a reputation for being trustworthy and honest. You want to be able to trust that if they tell you you’re only sharing resources with six other websites that you’re not actually sharing resources with ten or twenty.
Degree of Control
Semi-dedicated hosting doesn’t allow you the same degree of control that VPN hosting does. However, for many webmasters, this isn’t a problem. Some even prefer not to have the responsibility of maintaining their own server. You won’t be able to personally reboot your individual portion of the server if needed or desired, but you’ll be able to count on your hosting provider for more direct assistance and help maintaining the integrity of the server.
Your web host takes care of maintaining the hardware responsible for your server. They also take care of updating applicable software, keeping things secure, and so forth. Many web hosts will even give their semi-dedicated customers priority consideration when it comes to assistance requests or tickets.
Ultimately, which of these two options is right for you and your website is going to boil down to how much control you need and how much responsibility you want when it comes to maintaining your server. Always make sure you research the reputation of a given service provider before signing on the dotted line to ensure the integrity of the services you receive.