Shared hosting is a option for a majority of websites as they are extremely affordable. The drawbacks of shared web hosting however is that the “shared” service competes with other websites for the same services: RAM, disk space, CPU and the bandwidth, which can often be at capacity or oversold. This can considerably affect speed, service and the function of your site as others are fighting for the same resources. If your website is still relatively small, these shared resource issues may not yet be much of a problem. Another disadvantage of shared hosting is the lack of system-level control. There is no flexibility or control over system operating software or scripts.
Now the majority of webmasters do not need to worry about these issues, but there is a growing number of webmasters that do. If you fall into that category or like to plan ahead for future growth, consider looking at Virtual Private Servers (VPS) for your web hosting solution.
A Virtual Private Server is a single physical server that’s been divided into a series of “virtual servers”. Although the physical server’s resources, such as RAM and disk space, etc. are still being shared, each Virtual Private Server is operated completely independently from each other.
The independence of owning your own VPS account allows you to run and install scripts, software or even your own Operating System if you want. All this without effecting the other virtual private servers on the same physical server. This is possible because all accounts are granted “root” level access. This gives you the ability to install or remove any type of software or install firewalls or other privacy measures. VPS also gives you the option to create any additional accounts that you want, set any type of permissions or restrictions etc. Essentially, you have the same control that you would get from dedicated private servers, but at a much lower cost.
Virtual Private Servers also offer more security than a shared web hosting service. On a shared server, all the websites and domains on that particular server share the same operating system. If the server happens to get hacked or contracts a virus, all of the sites will be vulnerable and exposed.
Because Virtual Private Servers are virtually divided by an independent wall, if one of the other VPS happens to get hacked, none of the other accounts on the same physical server is visible to the hacker. They effectively act like completely different entities.
Since Virtual Private Servers are considered to be private servers and thus allows you complete control of the system, there is a potential of running into system problems if you are not familiar with what you are doing. It is possible that you can delete the wrong files, or set the permissions incorrectly, or expose your VPS to security vulnerabilities if you are not careful. If you are not familiar with web server administration, it would be worthwhile and recommended that you hire someone who is familiar with IT to maintain your VPS web service.