Virtual server or shared hosting?



The basic prerequisite for any successful project on the Internet is a suitable web hosting. Depending on the business model, different variants are possible. Especially for online business owners, who manage several websites or customers' web sites, the question is often whether a virtual server or a shared hosting is best suited.

Independent entrepreneurs or small agencies often look after several of their own projects or are responsible for managing the websites of their customers. While large companies typically have their own server infrastructure, the budget of smaller companies is often limited. Here you can either offer cheap virtual servers or special shared hosting packages.

Commonality of virtual servers and shared packages

Both for virtual servers and for shared packages, the owner acts as administrator and has the possibility to create further accounts with restricted rights. Usually, this does not even require extensive technical knowledge because the entire administration is managed by a user-friendly administration software such as Confix, Plesk or cPanel. In this case, the user has a graphical user interface, which can be used for setting up domains, assigning filenames and hardware resources, or user management. It is therefore possible to create separate management levels for each project or customer, in which the corresponding users can even make their own settings independently.

Differences between virtual servers and shared packages

Although both web hosting variants allow for separate management of individual domains and web sites, the differences at the technical level are relatively large. While a shared hosting, strictly speaking, is merely a shared webspace with more resources, a virtual server acts as a completely independent system environment. For example, on virtual servers, the operating system can be freely selected by users. With shared packages, there is no way to make such a deep change to system level.

There are also differences in the technical hardware resources. A virtual server is assigned specific power resources such as memory or virtual CPU unit. These are exclusively available to the customer, regardless of whether the service is fully retrieved or not. With the shared hosting, all accounts on the system share the available resources. The risk of congestion is significantly higher.

Another difference is the lack of configuration. On virtual servers, settings can be made to the operating system level. In this way, the system can also be used for the operation of applications that have special requirements. This is about the special configuration of script language support or database settings. On often rather restrictive shared servers such interventions are usually not possible.

Of course, the numerous advantages of a virtual server with performance and configuration freedom are not without a certain amount of responsibility and a lot of effort for the user. In concrete terms, the customer has to take over the entire administration and maintenance of the system with virtual servers, while in the case of shared webspace, the provider of hosting services completely accepts these tasks. Good knowledge of how to use Linux operating systems as well as administration skills are therefore essential. Finally, the virtual server is responsible for not compromising the system. Poorly maintained servers are often an easy target for hacker attacks, which then use the hijacked server for their own purposes. In concrete terms, the customer has to take over the entire administration and maintenance of the system with virtual servers, whereas in the case of shared webspace, the provider of hosting offers completely. Good knowledge of the handling of Linux operating systems as well as administration skills are therefore compulsory.

Which variant is best suited?

When deciding between a virtual server or a shared package, different criteria must be considered. Of course, the higher performance and configuration freedom are clear advantages of a virtual server, but they only bring the user a little bit of experience when it comes to administering the system. In addition, the decision should be dependent not only on one's own abilities, but also on the required performance for the planned projects. When it comes to private blogs or online games of small and medium-sized companies, a shared package is often enough. It does not matter, of course, if professional online shops or entire web services are to be managed.

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