Think of a shared server as a large apartment complex, and all of the individual apartments are rented by other website owners. All of you need a place to live — just like your website’s files — but going out to buy a huge family home would be too expensive for your needs. Sharing common areas and utilities in an apartment block helps keep costs down. And the same is true for shared hosting.
Keep firmly in your mind the sort of assets that you require to serve your site(s) when seeking a host. Cost in a VPS is important, but not as key as you might think. VPS resource availability is scalable, so the cost that needs to be looked at is comparable cost from one host to the next. Also – as cPanel revised their pricing model recently, web hosting companies across the board will have to pass those costs on to users sooner or later. You will need to consider the cost of control panel when selecting a VPS plan. Companies like ScalaHosting has developed their own control panel to mitigate this issue – so their users would have little issues with the price hike.
“After having shared hosting plans with other providers for many years, I switched all of my sites to Liquid Web a few months ago for my first VPS experience. It's been smooth, fast, and easy to use. At one point I suddenly ran out of disk space, and within minutes I was able to use their system to upgrade my plan and move my site to a larger partition.” – David K.
The force driving server virtualization is similar to that which led to the development of time-sharing and multiprogramming in the past. Although the resources are still shared, as under the time-sharing model, virtualization provides a higher level of security, dependent on the type of virtualization used, as the individual virtual servers are mostly isolated from each other and may run their own full-fledged operating system which can be independently rebooted as a virtual instance.
Two unique features that InMotion VPS hosting provides for free are the Resource Monitoring Dashboard which provides you with charts and graphs to monitor resource usage and allocation on your VPS partition and the Live-State Snapshots functionality, which goes beyond the (free) daily backups and allow you to restore your machine to a specific “known” working state.
As you can see, a VPS can be the perfect middle ground for many – enough flexibility and resources for those who need more access or control than on a shared server but without the cost of a dedicated server. If you need root access, you can’t get that on a shared server, but you can get it on a VPS. If your site experiences unpredictable swings memory usage, and your host provides it, then the presence of burstable memory will be attractive. And, if you’re a fan of customization, then the fact that you can customize server-level software such as PHP, MySQL, and Apache will perk your interest. In short, choosing a VPS will allow you to have many of the same characteristics of a dedicated server but in a more affordable and manageable package.