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Hostwinds Shared, Business, & VPS Hosting

by: Hostwinds Team  /  December 14, 2019

It's a great time to be alive for many reasons, one of them being the medley of options we have available to us when we want to buy a product or service. Nowadays, we are generally curious about what alternatives may be out there before making a purchase, and the more choices, the better!

You know what they say about curiosity, though, don't you?

Curiosity killed the cat.

Random Fact: That actually isn't how the saying goes, yet it is often misused. In fact, the phrase goes, "Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back."

Random Question: When did the second part of that famous saying get lopped off? Who knows?

Better, More Hosting-Relevant Question: Are you curious about whether Hostwinds Shared, Business, or VPS Hosting is best for you?

Well, if you're the curious cat, satisfaction is about to bring you back to life because this blog post is all about the differences between Shared, Business, and VPS Hosting!

If you aren't familiar with Shared, Business, and/or VPS Hosting, you're not alone, and we've got you covered. Before analyzing the similarities and differences between the three types of hosting, we'll define them, beginning with good ole Shared Web Hosting.

What is Shared Hosting? / Why Use Shared Hosting?

As the 'Shared' in 'Shared Web Hosting' implies, Shared Hosting entails server resources being shared among multiple hosting clients. When you purchase a Shared Hosting account, you are essentially renting server resources.

P.S. By 'resources,' we mean sharing things like CPU, bandwidth, and memory.

If you need a really convenient and quick way to get your site online without you having to do much, Shared Hosting is your hero. Shared Hosting is really low maintenance for the client, so if you need to get your site up and running quickly without configuring anything, it is the optimal choice.

In other words, "It is a great product if you need something that 'just works' without needing extensive configuration."

When should I use a shared Plan vs. Using a VPS?

Shared Web Hosting is antithetical to Dedicated Hosting because a dedicated server gives you all its resources, whereas Shared Web Hosting clients share a server's resources with several others. If a few Shared Web Hosting clients get huge boosts of website traffic, the speed of other clients' websites will be affected.

A More Formal Definition of Shared Web Hosting: In the words of our "Shared Web Hosting Overview" guide's author, "Shared hosting, in general, is when a single physical server is set up to be used by multiple separate tenants or clients. This is typically accomplished by setting up individual pieces of that server into sub-accounts."

Shared Web Hosting Overview

Shared Hosting in a Nutshell:

  • Your website is hosted on a physical server. That is to say, all your website's information and files are stored on a server.
  • Without hosting, your website would not be accessible for viewers via the internet.
  • When you host your website using a Shared Web Hosting plan, you share the server storing your website data with several others, sometimes hundreds or thousands.
  • Shared Hosting is inexpensive because you are sharing your server's resources with that many other hosting clients. You all pitch in to rent the server together, so the cost for each of you is lower.

Shared Hosting is generally a good place to start if it is your first encounter with web hosting.

Why? (1) Shared Web Hosting is typically the most economical hosting package offered by a hosting provider, (2) Shared Hosting usually comes with a lot of things already set up for you, which is nice for those of us who aren't exactly technical geniuses as of yet, (3) oftentimes you won't have enough website traffic initially to warrant getting a more expensive hosting plan, (4) most hosting companies (including Hostwinds) allow you to easily upgrade your hosting plan if you do end up needing more resources in the future, (5) Shared plans almost always come with complimentary tools (like a control panel) to make your hosting experience even more convenient, and (6) no technical experience is required as a Shared Hosting client. Usually, Shared Hosting plans (like Hostwinds' Shared Hosting plans, for example) come with 24/7/365 assistance from a support team.

As mentioned within the "Getting Started with Hostwinds" Knowledge Base guide, "Static HTML pages, low-traffic or low-function WordPress sites, and other similar platforms are the perfect fit for this service."

Getting Started with Hostwinds

If you don't need much memory or many resources and don't have tons of site traffic at the moment, start with Shared Web Hosting.

What is Business Hosting? / Why Use Business Hosting?

A sequel to Shared Web Hosting would be the more powerful and robust 'Business Web Hosting.'

Technically, Business Hosting is Shared Hosting, but with fewer people sharing the server's resources. To be more specific, 50 clients share a Business Web Hosting server, whereas 60 clients share a Shared Web Hosting server. The inode limit, or file limit, for Business Hosting, is 600,000. Shared Hosting, on the other hand, has an inode limit of 250,000.

Business Hosting is more expensive than Shared because the former offers more power and better overall website performance. If you have a lot of information stored on your site via databases, Business Hosting is a better option than Shared Hosting.

A More Formal Definition of Business Web Hosting: According to our "Getting Started with Hostwinds" guide, Business Hosting "is a great place for your starting E-Commerce Platform, hosting multiple independent, yet related, WordPress sites with many plugins and traffic, Joomla sites, PHP-Heavy applications and CMS platforms, and more."

If you need more resources than offered by Shared or Business Hosting, we suggest getting started with a Hostwinds VPS.

What is VPS Hosting? Why Use VPS Hosting?

Definition of VPS Hosting: In order to properly define a Virtual Private Server, we'll deconstruct its three components: Virtual, Private, and Server.

Virtual: A VPS is similar to Shared Hosting in that VPS Hosting clients share server resources in the same way that Shared Hosting clients do. A VPS differs from Shared Hosting because the former involves virtualization technology partitioning the physical server into a bunch of little virtual servers (called VPSs).

To say that in a different way, a physical server uses a partition to store multiple virtual servers, and each of those virtual servers(just like the physical server) has its own set of resources. This partitioning allows Virtual Private Servers to possess their very own operating systems and applications.

By contrast, the servers hosting Shared Hosting websites don't use a partition to split up the server into little servers. Rather, there is one set of resources that all the Shared Hosting clients share.

Here's a somewhat peculiar analogy to help us visualize the difference between VPS Hosting and Shared Hosting:

Say the physical server hosting VPS clients is a batch of brownies (bear with us here ?). The server's resources are the ingredients amounting to the brownie batch.

For VPS Hosting, the brownies would be cut up into squares, and each VPS hosting client gets one of those brownie squares. This guarantees that each client gets a set of resources.

For Shared Hosting, the brownie mixture would be baked but never cut up into squares. Each Shared Hosting client would just grab a chunk of the large uncut brownie block at random. In this case, a client could grab 70 percent of the brownie slab and leave only a tiny bit for the others to share amongst themselves.

If you are interested in exploring the way in which virtualization technology divides a physical server into several virtual servers, we recommend looking up Hypervisor.

Private: A VPS's resources are separated from others. A VPS gives you guaranteed resources that can't be used up or tampered with by anyone else.

Server: This part is pretty self-explanatory. The VPS is a server in itself.

Get a VPS if (1) you would like more robust security for your website information, (2) you wish to have way more control over your server, (3) you are experiencing too much website traffic to maintain your Shared or Business Hosting package, (4) you want root access to your server, (5) you need a lot of RAM, (6) you are looking for better uptime, or (7) your website users are inputting their credit card information on your site.

The reason why item number 7 is crucial is that your eCommerce website must be PCI (Payment Card Industry) Compliant, meaning it has to have a high level of security for clients that enter in their sensitive information. A VPS offers a higher level of security than Shared or Business Hosting, so it is a better option in cases like these.

A VPS is cheaper than a dedicated server but offers more power, control, flexibility, and speed than Shared Hosting.

Advice From Our "Getting Started with Hostwinds" Guide:

"Choose a VPS when you know you already have a hustling bustling E-Commerce platform with established high-volume traffic. Use it for your custom-built app that needs back-end server-software, such as NodeJS, Python, Ruby, and more. Furthermore, a VPS is a great place to host your own Game Server, TeamSpeak server, or Automated Trading platform."

"A VPS is also well suited for any developers who need to have full control over the server settings. A Hostwinds Cloud VPS also allows you to install and configure applications that best fit your needs[…]."

Want to know more about the cool things you can do with a Hostwinds VPS? If yes, click below!

What Can You Do with a Cloud Server?

At this point, we have a pretty good idea about how Shared, Business, and VPS Hosting differ. Notwithstanding, we're going to explore these discrepancies further.

What is the Difference Between Shared, Business, & VPS Hosting?

In bullet-point format, here are some differences between Shared, Business, and VPS Hosting:

  • A VPS gives you root access, so you can configure and adjust as you please. This makes it similar to a dedicated server.
  • Shared and Business Hosting do not give you access to the back-end of the server.
  • VPS Hosting costs more than Shared and Business Hosting.
  • In the words of Hostwinds Support Team Agent David, "Shared and Business is mainly for web hosting, email, and managing your DNS."
  • If you have an eCommerce website, VPS Hosting would be a much better option than Shared or Business Hosting.
  • A VPS is more customizable and flexible than Shared or Business Hosting. 'Flexible' meaning you can easily adjust the VPS's RAM, bandwidth, or disk space.
  • A VPS offers increased security as opposed to Shared or Business Hosting.
  • A VPS gives you the ability to install software onto it.
  • You do need to have a little more technical prowess in order to use VPS Hosting.
  • Your resources are always guaranteed with a VPS, anytime.
  • Shared is a package for beginners that will get you started and up and running quickly.
  • Business Hosting gives you more power and speed than Shared, so if your site traffic surpasses Shared Hosting, upgrade to Business.

In terms of traffic for static websites, about 10,000 unique viewers or less is ideal for Shared Hosting, about 50,0000 or less for Business, and anywhere from 100,000 to 400,000 for VPS Hosting plans.

In a distilled format, here is what our "When Should I use a Shared Plan vs. Using a VPS?" guide had to say about Shared vs. VPS Hosting:

"The best service will depend on your needs.

If you:

  • Want to run a small site
  • Use WordPress/HTML/PHP
  • Need a stable platform
  • Want someone else to take care of most of the details
  • Want the ability to easily set it all up.

Shared Web Hosting will most likely be your preferred solution.

On the other hand, if you:

  • Have a site written in Python, Ruby on Rails, or Java
  • Need to pick Nginx over Apache for a web server
  • Need to use a Windows Operating system
  • Want to open a server for gaming
  • Need to use a specific set of PHP modules

A VPS will be a much more useful solution."

Did this information make it easier to pick a hosting plan? Feel free to share your thoughts below!

Still Can't Decide Between Shared, Business, & VPS Hosting?

Good News: You can always reach out to our team of experts via Live Chat ( or Phone (888-404-1279) if you are still apprehensive about which hosting plan to select. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Great News: You can always upgrade your hosting package, and fast!

How Do I Upgrade/Downgrade My Hosting?

Farewell, for now, curious cats!

Written by Hostwinds Team  /  December 14, 2019