Scenario 1: The time has come. You have finally made the decision to become visible online with your product or service. Maybe you just want to inspire many people with your lifestyle, knowledge or thoughts, or offer like-minded people a platform for networking. The idea is there. Now it's time for the realization. You have already chosen a suitable content management or store system. Now all you need is a suitable webhosting plan - that shouldn't be a problem. But did you know that under certain circumstances, having your own server is the better solution?
Scenario 2:You already have an online presence - perhaps a small store or a platform for your online courses. But somehow your site keeps experiencing downtime. Either it loads slowly or, in the worst case, breaks down completely. Users are annoyed and you get the equivalent feedback. This is frustrating - for both sides. On top of that, of course, you imagine how many sales you could be missing out on if your site is repeatedly offline or simply abandoned due to speed issues. It's not up to the CMS and applications, you already know that. A solution is needed.
In both cases, you need one thing: a stable(r) foundation for your website - and good know-how to make the right decision. Could a vServer increase the performance of your online presence? Or would it rather be an "additional burden" for your project and you?
All this we will now clarify. You'll receive a decision-making guide from us, which will be based on the characteristics of the two hosting options and will teach you what considerations you need to make in order to find the best solution for you.
Server or webhosting? - First clarify the requirements for your website!
Before we tell you the main points so that you can make a decision, you are first asked:
Which factors are particularly important or relevant to you for your website or online platform?
Take a look and see which of the following apply to you and your project:
- The speed of the website should be very fast.
- I want to run my website with as little effort as possible.
- The page should always remain stable even with many visitors.
- The page contains a lot of content (images, pages, etc.) and should load quickly.
- The project is to be operated particularly cost-effectively.
- The project contains rather few pages - and that also in the long term.
- The project also includes video content.
- Special functionalities are planned and necessary for the web project.
- The project includes several websites and platforms.
- I have to pay a lot of attention to the price of the hosting package.
After these initial considerations, we can start. Keep exactly these points in mind - or on a piece of paper - while you will read the following sections.
First things first: what is the difference between web hosting and servers?
Basically, both variants are "web space", i.e. storage space on a server that you rent and which is "online" at all times.
When you book a web hosting plan, you get this storage space on a server that hosts a relatively large number of web hosting customers. You can think of it like a garage with many parking spaces.
The maintenance and support (i.e. repair, security updates and other installations, etc.) of this server is provided by the hosting company. Accordingly, you do not need any server knowledge yourself and do not have to plan any time and effort for corresponding activities.
You get the assured storage space and can "store" your web project here very easily. Often you can very quickly and comfortably install a CMS or store system - and also other applications. This also includes email mailboxes. In addition, webhosting rates are also very inexpensive.
What you should be aware of when it comes to webhosting
All customers who have rented such a web space (web hosting) share the resources of a hardware server, so to speak. Therefore, web hosting tariffs belong to the so-called shared hosting. It may well happen that one customer (or several) uses a particularly large amount of server power, which means that less power is available to the web projects of the other web hosting customers at that moment. If we stay with the example of the parking spaces, this could mean that a vehicle might be parked at an angle on one day and need more space and therefore the parking space neighbor has to be satisfied with less parking space.
If this happens at the server level for web hosting plans, users of the corresponding websites may have to wait longer for the content to be displayed.
This is perfectly ok if you do not depend on your online platform to "perform at full capacity" at all times - especially when it comes to small to medium-sized sites. You will find out to what extent the tariff is sufficient once you plan which files (texts, PDFs, videos, animations, etc.) and how many pages the website should include or already includes and to what extent the corresponding web space is sufficient for this. Alternatively, you can of course get an estimation from a website expert.
However, if you run an online store or another project that secures your income or simply has a very large scale, you should choose a different solution for safety's sake. Also, if you want to install certain applications on your server, which are not possible with the simple web hosting package, you might want to use a server - more about this later.
The alternative: an own server for website hosting
The first advantage of using a server for your website hosting is probably immediately obvious to you. You often have much more storage space available. So, if you plan to have large sites - i.e. with a lot of content - or several sites at the same time in the short or medium term, then give enough thought to how much storage space is needed beforehand. All files must be taken into account here.
But not only that - in general, you also benefit from more processor power and RAM - especially if you rely on a dedicated server solution. This can be a virtual dedicated server (VPS), for example. Because here you are guaranteed performance at all times and you are independent of other server customers. So even at peak times - when many people visit your site - you have good performance. You can imagine this as if there were grids between parking spaces and you always had the full width of the parking lot available.
Faster loading times thanks to better performance also have a positive effect on your website ranking in Google. Find out more about the so-called Core Web Vitals and their importance if you are interested in this topic.
Another advantage for the server is its own IP address, which is available to you for both virtual and dedicated servers. The reason for this is as follows: If, in the case of web hosting, another customer who is located on the server sends spam, for example, then it is quite possible that you will also suffer the consequences - so that, for example, your e-mails will also end up in the spam folder of your (potential) customers more often later on. You can prevent this by having your own IP address (through your own server).
Having your own server for your website hosting also gives you much more flexibility. You can freely assign the resources and adjust everything to your individual needs.
In some cases, it makes sense to extend the functions of your own website with certain applications. This can primarily serve to offer the user a special user experience. Servers often offer much better conditions for this.
You can make settings on the system, manage and configure everything as you like and install exactly the programs you need for your project.
In real life, these can be the following options:
- a special caching method
- features like "Elastic Search" for your website
- a complex mail system
- free choice of the PHP version
- a content delivery network (CDN) in the background
- and many more
If necessary, you can also shut down and restart your own server independently. Of course, this is not possible with a web hosting package, as all other web hosting customers located on the server would also be affected.
Servers always score particularly well when a high rush of visitors is expected for a website or online platform. Think of an online store during the Christmas season, for example. If several of these in the form of webhosting packages on one server were to share resources, at least one of them would have a problem. It would miss out on visitors and sales, and its reputation would probably suffer as well - which in turn would have long-term negative effects. Also on the Google ranking.
Therefore, it is important to find out during the planning stage to what extent the functions intended for your site can be implemented as part of a web hosting package.
Challenges with server website hosting
There are two sides to every coin. Therefore, flexibility and speed also bring their downsides: Unlike a web hosting plan, with a server you are also responsible for server administration: that is security updates, other updates, installations and other administrative tasks - of course also in case of problems.
So, for example, you need to take regular actions that protect your project from external attacks. Therefore, it is important that you have the necessary know-how to perform this work.
In addition, you must of course be aware that speed and flexibility also have their price. Depending on the type of server, this can be between 10 and 100 euros, instead of about 3 -20 euros for a webhosting plan.
Here, costs and benefits must be weighed against each other.
What do I do if I would like to use a server, but I lack the know-how?
In this case, a managed server makes sense. You rent a server including managed service and the hosting provider will - depending on the offer - take care of the necessary technical work and security measures for you. So this saves you a lot of time and many considerations. And you can still enjoy the advantages of having your own server.
Webhosting vs. a server for your website - a decision aid
So that you don't get confused with all the decision criteria, we have created a graphic to help you. Simply answer the corresponding points with "yes" or "no" and you will get a solution. For all questions that you cannot answer on your own, contact a website or hosting expert of your choice.
In general, the following recommendations apply:
- for privately operated websites a web hosting tariff is all you need
- as well for smaller commercially operated websites without special functions
- online stores should rather be located on a server depending on functionality and extent
- complexly designed websites with many interaction possibilities, which should also run fast, should rather be hosted on a server
- if a large number of visitors are expected at the same time, a server should be chosen that can withstand these demands
But very important: There is still no general answer!
In addition, whenever you notice that your existing web application is experiencing downtimes or waiting times, you should check or have it checked to what extent the hosting you are using still meets current requirements and readjust it if necessary. Likewise, this consideration is already useful before a large "rush of visitors", so that you then do not have to experience a rude awakening - or better "falling asleep" - of your website. This can be even more important if live streams are also to run via a website.
Deciding between vServer, VPS and Dedicated Server
If you have chosen a server as the platform for your web hosting, then you may now be faced with the next decision: vServer, VPS or Dedicated Server. Here, too, you have to weigh up entirely according to your needs. Our vServer guide (LINK) can help you with this step. But already now a small tip from us: If you always want to rely on stable performance and also want to remain flexible, we recommend a VPS for larger web projects (such as a large online store). We would also be happy to advise you personally and individually.
What you should always pay attention to, regardless of the type of hosting:
- Is an SSL certificate included or can you purchase and install one? - Because this is now simply standard and relevant for the trust of your users in your platform.
- Is the server located in Germany? Find out more HERE.
- Do fast SSD hard drives provide good website speed?
- Is the provider's support fast and reliable?
- What are the backup options?
If you need further assistance with your decision, please feel free to contact us during our business hours through the specified communication methods.
In addition, you can still find some guides on our blog, which will help you with possible questions.
We wish you success with your online presence!