Assuming that I have build an application using PHP, let's say something like vBulletin or assume that I will install the vBulletin itself. Will it performs better if it is in a VPS rather than a shared hosting?

To clarify my question, does the VPS or the dedicated servers make the language perofrms at its best? If no, why then when I visit a website which is running on top of server always has an amazing peroframnce while when I visit a website on top of shared hosting it perofrms well but not as good as the other?

3 Answers 3

  • shared hosting — everybody's code is using same physical machine, same operating system and probably even same web server. Usually there are no guarantees at all about how much CPU will be allocated for your application. On the other hand, you get log more power when others are idle. There is however usually a cap on how much CPU your app may use. This is good option for sites with low traffic.
  • VPS (Virtual Private Server) — it's a virtual machine, usually sharing same physical machine with others, but VPS are allocated on server in such way, that they either have fixed share of CPU or at least guaranteed minimum. You have full control over your own, full-fledged operating system. Big downside of VPS-es, is that very often they use network attached storage (typically iSCSI), which isn't great for I/O. Big advantage is that they come in all kinds of sizes, so it's a viable solution for all ranges of traffic (though for high traffic you might need more than one VPS). Best know VPS service is Amazon EC2.
  • dedicated server — that just a piece of hardware that you have collocated in data center. No virtualization overhead, not sharing hardware with anyone, you can have local disks. Disadvantage complexity of maintenance and practical impossibility of real time scaling (if your site get's slashdotted, there is no way of adding more servers fast enough). As for price, YMMV, if you have very high traffic site, it might be overall cheaper than VPS. But you have to calculate for additional complexity, having deal with technical stuff like backups, failovers, load balancing etc.
  • This is a good summary of the three basic types. I would also add that with shared hosting it might depend if the host is using a cluster of servers instead of just a single server (there are a few of those available). Performance can be quite good in that case. With VPS (or cloud) options, it might be worth mentioning Rackspace (rackspace.com/cloud). A cloud server can often scale up when load is heavier, thus giving you better performance. Disclaimer...I am not affiliated with Rackspace in any way.
    – Rob
    Commented May 13, 2011 at 14:48

Assuming the same hardware allocation, a server will always be slightly more efficient than a VPS. But virtualisation software has become very good in recent years; the difference is no longer massive.

The advantage VPS has over shared hosting is that if someone else's application brings their VPS down then it doesn't affect yours. In shared hosting, one person can bring down a whole server full of applications.

The advantage VPS has over a dedicated server is purely price.


It would depend on the specification of the VPS compared to the shared hosting environment, and whether you know what you're doing when setting up the VPS compared to how knowledgable/clever the people organising the shared hosting are.

Running on a VPS will generally give you more resources to use. Also, the additional cost (time and money) of running as a VPS compared to going with shared hosting, usually means it's more often used by people who know what they're doing, so their applications are better designed/optimised/whatever.

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