Shared Hosting vs Reseller Hosting vs Virtual Private Servers (VPS)

Ardi Coetzee

Shared hosting is undoubtedly the most popular type of hosting that you get in our day and age. In fact, the shared hosting market has tripled in value over the last 10 years, going from 7 Billion USD to 22 Billion USD in the US alone. That's more than 10% growth each year! But with the rise of Cloud Solutions, it's going to be very interesting to see if shared hosting will maintain its dominance! So what exactly is the difference between Shared Hosting, Reseller Hosting and a VPS? And what do "clouds" have to do with all of this? 

Shared Hosting

Back in the day it was particularly difficult and expensive to get your own Dedicated Server. Even today, it is still quite costly for most businesses and very few businesses actually need an entire server. This is where Shared Hosting obtained it's popularity. With shared hosting you can easily get your own website online without the need to buy an entire server. This is made possible by dividing the disk space amongst the various users. 

The affordability of shared hosting is one of the main driving factors behind the rise of the number of websites on the internet.

Reseller Hosting

Reseller Hosting is a step up from normal shared hosting. While you would typically only have a single shared hosting account, with reseller hosting you are able to create multiple hosting accounts under a single Reseller Account. This is also where Reseller hosting gets its name. By being able to create multiple hosting accounts, you can easily start your own hosting reseller business without putting down the cash needed for an entire server. 

Reseller Hosting essentially boils down to a bigger chunk of the server as well as extra access permissions which in turn allows you to perform advanced features such as creating new sub-accounts. But it doesn't end there. Reseller Hosting gives you the ability to do a lot more than just create accounts, such as:

  • Modifying server config
  • Managing DNS
  • Creating different sized hosting packages

... and much more

But with all the features provided by Reseller Hosting, it still doesn't give you the full root access that you get with Virtual Private Servers.

Virtual Private Servers (VPS)

Virtual Private Servers are cloud solutions that mimic real Dedicated Servers in a virtual environment. What this boils down to is that you get all the benefits of a Dedicated Server, but with less power under the hood. This means that a VPS is basically just a Dedicated Server, but with fewer resources. In fact, CPU and Memory is generally divided amongst the users but not shared. So if you buy a 4-Core VPS with 2GB of RAM, then it means no one else can use your allocated resources. 

Root access is provided to the VPS which means you have full control. You can install software, tweak your settings and basically do anything you would normally be able to do with a Dedicated Server.

Conclusion

Every business has its unique needs. For some, a basic corporate website hosted on a shared hosting solution is more than adequate. But it's not adequate for everyone. Especially if you want to run custom applications for your business, or need to do advanced processing where a shared hosting account just won't make the cut. For those cases it might be seriously worthwhile to consider a VPS over a Dedicated Server, as it could provide you with the tools you need, without the hefty price tag of a Dedicated Server. 

About the Author
Ardi Coetzee
Ardi Coetzee
PHP Developer @ Namhost.com