The most basic and cheapest hosting plans. What happens here is one server with all its resources like Ram and CPU are shared by many website owners.
Pros: Cheapest hosting with prices starting off at US$3 monthly
Cons: Shared resources can affect performance. If one site is blacklisted, it may affect the reputation of other sites.
VPS Hosting is a step above shared, but similar to dedicated hosting, in which the resources of a server are divided equally and allocated to each website.
While there are still a few websites on one server, each are within its own virtual space.
Advantage of such a setup is privacy and better security. If one website is blacklisted, it would not affect other websites.
Dedicated Servers are just what the name implies, a server dedicated to you. All the hardware that makes up the server is under your control.While they may be on the same network, the resources like hardware are not shared.
These plans are the most expensive, usually costing hundreds a month, but offer the best performance, security and flexibility.
Now let's compare the difference between Shared vs VPS vs Dedicated in areas like Speed and Security.
Web surfers, myself included pay for high speed internet connections. The last thing we need is a slow loading web page. A site which takes a few seconds longer to load loses at least 30% of its customers. Google is also particular about website speed as it plays a big part is user experience.
Websites on Shared Servers tend to be the slowest as most hosts pack as many websites on each account. Since resources like Ram are shared and in some cases throttled, it is very common for websites to take ages to load.
VPS and Dedicated servers are better in this sense.
This is where the biggest difference lies. Shared hosting websites are all in one server with little seperation between each website.
A good anology would be houses seperated by thin partitions. You might be able to evasedrop on your neighbours conversation.
Shared accounts are vulnerable to hacks. When one site is blacklisted, other sites reputation will also suffer.
The most common problem is in emails. When one site on a shared hosting is blacklisted for sending spam, the email accounts on the whole server would be blacklisted. This is due to the fact that most shared accounts run on one IP address.
With that said, now let's look at which hosting package is best for your needs.
Good for new website owners who want to test waters to see if having a website is good for their business. Good for those who just want a website to create awarness.
This is the next step up if you find you have outgrown the resources of shared hosting. Also good for those who are going into eCommerce, (selling online).
Great for those who want total control over their server. You decide on the hardware and softwares that would be installed.
With VPS and Dedicated Hosting, there is another factor which needs to be considered. That is Managed or Un-managed Hosting.
While a dedicated server is totally under your control, you still do not have direct access to it. Controling it requires an experienced network engineer.
In Managed Hosting, the web host will have their team of engineers and technicians at hand to handle the maintenance and security of the server for you. Monthly charges do apply.
For unManaged Hosting, you have to have your own team to handle the maintenance and day to day running of the server.