How do you explain shared web hosting, virtual private server and dedicated server to a non-techie? Here’s a simple analogy that I thought of:
Shared Web Hosting
Imagine a refrigerator in your house. Everyone in the family has a share of space in it. You can buy your own stuff and put it in there. Of course, you need to be considerate with other people. You cannot just occupy every space in the refrigerator or others will complain (but you can if you want!). That’s basically what a shared hosting service is. You are sharing a server with other people, sharing its resources and when someone uses more resources than yours, you get affected. You are lucky if all the users in the server are well-behaved. I just moved out from this type of service because this blog is already using more resources than others causing them to complain. This is the cheapest among the three.
Going back to the refrigerator scenario, this means that you have your own refrigerator dedicated only to you. No one uses the refrigerator except you. You can buy a lot of stuff, put it in there and no one will complain. This one is obviously expensive, actually the most expensive among the three. Imagine buying a refrigerator just for your own self?
Virtual Private Server
Going back to the refrigerator scenario, you still share a refrigerator with others. But you have a reserved space inside the refrigerator that only you can use. Nobody can put their stuff on your space, they have their own spaces too. Nobody cares whether you put a lot of stuff in your space or not, because they have their own reserved space on the same refrigerator. You virtually have your own refrigerator, but actually you’re sharing it with others but on better terms. Obviously, this one is more expensive than shared hosting but cheaper than dedicated server. This is the service that this blog is using right now, courtesy of Dreamhost PS (use MACUHA50 promo code to get $50 discount!).
For a more technical definition of these terms, visit the Wikipedia: