VPS Vs. Dedicated Server - What’s the Difference?

Julia Raznik

Web Hosting Expert ··Hosting Services Explained

VPS Vs. Dedicated Server - What’s the Difference?

It’s vital to know the difference between VPS hosting and dedicated servers before you decide where, and how, you’re going to set up a new website.

In brief, VPS hosting offers great customization at a reasonable price point. Plus, you’ll get a respectable amount of processing power and some pretty efficient allocation of resources. You can find out the full details over on our VPS page.

In comparison, dedicated hosting offers you a totally private server along with huge processing power to boot. It’s much more expensive, but the service is geared towards large, successful enterprises. Why not check out our detailed dedicated hosting page before delving into this head-to-head.

Common Features


  • Customization options - Both hosting types allow users to install software and add custom applications and operating systems to the server

  • Great performance - While dedicated hosting might have slightly better performance, both options have great loading speeds

  • Good security - On top of security measures provided by the data host, you’ll be able to install your own custom cyber defenses and monitoring tools

Differences


  • Price - Dedicated hosting is a lot more expensive than standard VPS options

  • Traffic handling - Dedicated servers are designed to handle huge amounts of site traffic. While VPS has some impressive numbers too, it’s difficult to compete with a private server

  • Scalability - Having such impressive resources to draw from in a private server means dedicated hosting is often a lot more scalable than its VPS counterpart

Point By Point Comparison


Resource Allocation

  • VPS Hosting Resource allocation is pretty efficient with most VPS plans. While you’re still sharing a server with other organizations, you’ll be cordoned off into your own private space.
  • Dedicated Server Nothing can really compare to a dedicated server when it comes to resources. Since you own the entire server you’ll always be guaranteed 100% of the resource allocation.

Verdict
Dedicated server
It’s difficult for other hosting types to compete with dedicated hosting, especially when you’ll have a private server all to yourself.

Performance

  • VPS Hosting There are lots of impressive VPS packages around these days, and it’s no slouch in the performance department.
  • Dedicated Server You can choose as many CPUs and as much memory as you’d like when you sign up to a dedicated server, meaning there are no limits to your performance.

Verdict
Dedicated server
An easy win for dedicated hosting here given the near-infinite possibilities for speed and processing power.

Traffic volume

  • VPS Hosting VPS hosting can usually handle pretty big traffic spikes. However, if all the sites on your server experience similar spikes, you could get slow-down, despite you being in a segregated environment.
  • Dedicated Server Dedicated servers have been specifically designed to handle very large volumes of traffic, often up to tens of thousands of visitors per day.

Verdict
Dedicated server
Another win for dedicated hosting. Other options can’t really come close in terms of traffic management and volume.

Security

Security comparison between VPS Vs. Dedicated Server
  • VPS Hosting VPS solutions allow you to install your own security software as well as take advantage of measures offered by the data host. However, the risk is slightly increased here since you’ll be sharing a server with other sites.
  • Dedicated Server Dedicated hosting has all of the security benefits of VPS hosting, with the added bonus of being locked off in your own private environment. There’s no risk of your neighbors passing a breach onto you.

Verdict
Dedicated server
It’s a close one, but dedicated hosting just wins this one for its segregated environment.

Control

  • VPS Hosting You can install any software you like on your server and have full control over all aspects of your website. You can even install custom software if it’s compatible with your operating system
  • Dedicated Server Dedicated servers offer just as much control as VPS options. Essentially, it’s your server so you get to decide exactly what to do with it.

Verdict
Draw
Both VPS and dedicated servers offer fully customizable plans as well as managed options, making them just as flexible as each other.

Server Administration

  • VPS Hosting You have two choices when it comes to VPS hosting. Either manage the server admin yourself or pay a little extra to have a data host take care of everything for you.
  • Dedicated Server Much like VPS hosting, you can choose a managed or unmanaged option. Those choosing a managed service will have all maintenance and security issues taken care of.

Verdict
Draw
Again, both hosting types offer very similar services here. It all depends on how much responsibility you want to take on, and how much technical knowledge you have.

Scalability

  • VPS Hosting It’s fairly easy to scale up your VPS solution, although if you’re expecting significant spikes you might need to do a little planning beforehand to upgrade your package.
  • Dedicated Server Most dedicated servers don’t need to worry about scaling. Servers come packed with enough processing power to handle large traffic volumes, so scalability is already built-in.

Verdict
Dedicated server
Unless you’re expecting the traffic volumes found at the world's largest international corporations, it’s very unlikely you’ll need to scale up your dedicated server.

Price

  • VPS Hosting VPS is incredibly reasonably priced, and costs are coming down all the time as market competition increases. You’ll find prices can generally range between $5 and $100 per month depending on processing needs.
  • Dedicated Server As the most powerful form of hosting, dedicated servers come with a hefty price tag. Expect to pay hundreds, if not thousands of dollars a month for all that processing power and storage.

Verdict
VPS hosting
A very easy win for VPS hosting here as dedicated servers can’t hope to compete on price.

Technical knowledge needed

  • VPS Hosting This depends on how much involvement you want with your back-end applications. If you choose an unmanaged service you’ll need extensive web development knowledge, but those opting for managed services can get started very easily.
  • Dedicated Server Dedicated hosting has both managed and unmanaged versions. However, due to the more complex nature of the service, you’ll still need at least some basic technical knowledge either way.

Verdict
VPS hosting
Despite both hosting types offering managed and unmanaged versions, VPS servers are still a little easier to get to grips with.

Managed Vs. Unmanaged Options


  • Customer service - While you can expect 24/7 customer service under both packages, it will be much more limited if you choose an unmanaged option. Here you’ll be expected to cover a lot of the server administration yourself and won’t be able to call on as large a team of experts. Managed hosting, however, comes with a dedicated team to deal with any and all issues you might face

  • Customization - Customization options will be available under both plans, but unmanaged hosting offers a lot more freedom. You might find some managed hosting places several restrictions on what you can and can’t do with your servers given you won’t be responsible for daily maintenance

  • Security responsibilities - Under a fully managed service all security aspects will be taken care of for you. With unmanaged hosting, you’ll be responsible for much more and will need to ensure all your software and applications are patched and up to date. Some users prefer this extra level of control, but the inexperienced will definitely want to go for a managed service

  • Backups - In most instances of managed hosting you’ll be provided with daily or hourly backups of your data. When choosing unmanaged you’ll most likely need to take care of this yourself, so be careful when you’re planning for business continuity

Making the Switch Between Hosting Types


Traffic spikes
Traffic spikes

If your site has become incredibly successful you might want to move to a dedicated server to handle all the new traffic

Extra security
Extra security

If you deal with a lot of confidential information, a dedicated server might be best for you. Since your data is isolated in its own environment it makes breaches less likely

Cost-cutting
Cost-cutting

There’s no denying dedicated servers can be expensive. Lots of users find they can get an equally impressive performance from VPS hosting at a fraction of the cost

Bandwidth requirements
Bandwidth requirements

Bandwidth requirements have improved significantly in recent years, and some users have found that even shared hosting offers more than enough processing power for their small sites. Always check the packages available and match it to meet your needs

Traffic spikes
Traffic spikes

If your site has become incredibly successful you might want to move to a dedicated server to handle all the new traffic

Extra security
Extra security

If you deal with a lot of confidential information, a dedicated server might be best for you. Since your data is isolated in its own environment it makes breaches less likely

Cost-cutting
Cost-cutting

There’s no denying dedicated servers can be expensive. Lots of users find they can get an equally impressive performance from VPS hosting at a fraction of the cost

Bandwidth requirements
Bandwidth requirements

Bandwidth requirements have improved significantly in recent years, and some users have found that even shared hosting offers more than enough processing power for their small sites. Always check the packages available and match it to meet your needs

What Other Web Hosting Types Are There?


Dedicated Server Vs. Cloud

Cloud hosting is a great alternative to dedicated servers and will work for those looking for easy scalability but at a much lower price. Lots of medium-sized businesses have jumped on board and find it a good transitionary hosting method. You can learn more over on our comparison page.

Dedicated Server Vs. Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is very different from its dedicated server counterpart. Much better suited for small websites, it has nowhere near as much processing power and storage space. You can check out our full head-to-head to find out which one will work for your business.

Summary


Both VPS and dedicated hosting options are great choices for your organization. Each comes with a multitude of customization options, strong performance, respectable speeds, and are backed by responsive customer service teams.

However, if you need more power from your processors, or have a very large eCommerce store to operate, you’ll probably be better off with a dedicated server. Conversely, those looking to save money and scale down will find VPS solutions the perfect choice. Check your current levels of site traffic, and your long-term website goals before jumping into a decision.

Frequently Asked Questions


Can I choose between managed and unmanaged services?

Yes, for both VPS and dedicated hosting you have a choice of both. It all depends on how much control and responsibility you’d like over your servers.

What sort of websites can I run on VPS and dedicated servers?

Since both are highly customizable, you can run just about any type of site you’d like. However, we’d generally recommended only larger organizations consider these hosting types.

Can I run an eCommerce store on VPS and dedicated servers?

Yes, of course. In fact, both types of hosting should be able to handle thousands of transactions per day.

How many websites can I host on a dedicated server?

In theory, there’s no limit to how many sites you can host. It all depends on how much you’re willing to spend to cover bandwidth requirements.

Julia Raznik
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Julia Raznik
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