Shared hosting is not meant for websites that use large amounts of RAM. As your website grows and you add more and more content, you will start to see a decrease in your website’s load times. As soon as this happens, it’s an indication that you are maxing out your limits. Upgrading to a VPS will enable you to scale your website without having to worry about slow load times.
With a dedicated server, you can install any operating system. Cloud VPS offers a limited selection (at Liquid Web, it’s CentOS 6, CentOS 7, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, Debian 8, Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard, and Windows Server 2016 Standard Edition.) Otherwise, both options give you full root access with control over the OS and all the software in the environment.
There are a few downsides to shared hosting, though, mostly because you’re sharing. For instance, if someone else on your shared server has a huge spike in traffic, that could affect your website’s performance. However, if you’re just getting your website off the ground and don’t have huge traffic volume, shared hosting is a great way to get online!
The further an end user’s browser is from your server, the longer it takes to deliver your content and the more likely your server could be bogged down by content requests. A content delivery network can shorten the space between website visitors and your server by storing static content on nodes around the world, allowing for faster content delivery and better performance by freeing up your server’s resources.
With VPS Hosting, there are multiple instances of separate operating systems on a machine—thus giving you your own virtual private server. So while you still may be sharing a physical server at the data center, with your own virtual operating system, you’re able to have dedicated resources such as RAM, bandwidth, and disk space. In other words, the environment mimics having a dedicated server—at a lower cost!
If you are familiar with hosting control panels, shell commands, and you have basic server administration and troubleshooting skills, then unmanaged VPS is the way to go. Note that while you purchase self managed VPS, you should be capable of managing applications, software, services installed on your VPS. Also, you must know installation/uninstallations, resource monitoring, server performance tweaking and troubleshooting of any technical issues.