Shared, VPS, or Dedicated Hosting? Which One Is Right For Your Niche Site? (The Quick & Easy Guide)

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I’m not a very technical guy when it comes to systems and networking. As a result, when my main niche site started to take off in traffic levels and pageviews, I had to do a lot of research for what type of hosting would be appropriate.

Hosting isn’t something that should be complicating. All you really need is for your website to run fast, not be at risk of crashing, can handle growth and traffic spikes, and is secure.

Shared, VPS, or dedicated hosting? Which one is right for me??

That’s the question I had when my niche site started to grow in traffic, and I’m going to share with you the simple way of deciding without spending more money than you should be.

The hosting provider I use for my own niche sites

All of my niche sites, including my main niche site, are hosted with Bluehost (EDIT: and Traffic Planet).

I have most of my niche sites in their Shared Hosting Plan, and my main niche site on its own dedicated server.

When you first start your niche site

When you’re just starting your niche sites, you won’t need to invest in more expensive servers. Shared hosting is perfectly fine.

It’s also the cheapest option, so you usually won’t need to pay more than $10/month, depending on which hosting provider you choose to go with.

I recommend Bluehost’s Shared Hosting Plan, where you can get it for just $3.49/month.

They let you host an unlimited number of sites, which is what sold me to join them in the first place.

Instead of having to buy an additional hosting account for each site you add, you can just add one into your current plan for free.

That’s incredibly useful if you’re like me and put up a ton of different sites and experiment with a lot of website ideas.

No need for VPS or Dedicated at this point

In the beginning of your niche site, you don’t need to go with VPS or dedicated.

I recommend having a shared hosting plan for all your sites, and then upgrading your winners when they start getting a lot of traffic.

That way… you can build all the sites you want, upgrade any high performers, and continue to build and launch an unlimited number of niche sites on your shared hosting plan.

When should you move away from shared hosting?

The answer here will vary depending on your site’s size. But the rough estimate is when you start to get around 10,000 uniques per day (around 300,000 visitors per month).

That’s when I made the move myself for my main niche site.

Until then, the site performs fine with shared hosting.

Which type of hosting should you move to at this point?

There are 3 types of hosting no matter which provider you go with: shared, vps, and dedicated.

So… at this point, there are 2 ways you can go: VPS or dedicated.

What’s the difference?

Dedicated hosting is the Mac Daddy of all hosting. You essentially get your own server and have full control over what you do with it.

VPS (virtual private server) is like the middle ground between dedicated hosting and shared hosting.

But I’m not going to turn this into some technical article… To put simply, dedicated hosting is the best possible option with the highest level of performance.

The only reason not to go dedicated at this point is cost.

Dedicated hosting is much more expensive than VPS hosting.

I have my main niche site on dedicated hosting, and I’m paying roughly $150/month.

VPS hosting would have cost me half of that.

Would it be okay to have gone with VPS instead?

Absolutely! It would run fine. I just wanted the best possible performance since I saw this as a long-term investment that would help me grow the business.

Plus… $150/month isn’t THAT expensive for a dedicated server from Bluehost. There are other providers where price gets closer to $500+ per month.

The perfect option for WordPress users

If your site is running on WordPress, Bluehost also offers an Optimized WordPress Hosting package.

Screen Shot 2015-07-18 at 4.21.21 PM

I haven’t used it myself yet, but after speaking with Bluehost, it’s definitely going to be my new middle ground before I upgrade into a dedicated server.

It’s basically VPS hosting that was designed for WordPress sites, and it’s pretty much the same cost as their normal VPS hosting.

If you’re on shared hosting and your site starts to grow, then definitely look into this hosting package.

How to move from shared hosting to VPS or Dedicated hosting

This was something I was concerned about.

If I go with shared hosting, can I move to VPS or Dedicated hosting easily?
Will it take a bunch of time?
Do I have to do it myself?
Do I need to hire somebody?
How long will it take?

With Bluehost, they handled the move for me for free. From shared hosting to dedicated in about 45 minutes.

That’s pretty awesome. All you need to do is contact them whenever you feel you want to upgrade and they’ll do the move for you right there on the spot.

Really great, especially if you’re not very technical like me.

Conclusion

If you’re just getting started with your new niche sites, go with Bluehost’s shared hosting plan. You’ll be able to host an unlimited number of sites with optimum performance.

To sign up, just go to Bluehost and click on their “Shared Hosting” link in their navigation.

Screen Shot 2015-07-18 at 4.24.26 PM

Then… when any of your sites start to really grow beyond 300,000 visitors per month, make the upgrade.

Bluehost will make the move for you, and it shouldn’t take over an hour to make the full transfer unless your site is really big.

If you’re like me and want the best possible performance, then go with their dedicated hosting.

But if you’re not ready to pay over $100/month on hosting just yet, go with their WordPress Optimized Hosting plan, which is half the cost.

Following this model, you shouldn’t have to pay more than you should, and will allow you to get the proper type of web hosting as your website grows.

(EDIT: After testing out Traffic Planet, I now recommend them for anybody who is serious about their website. Read about what happened when I switched from Bluehost to Traffic Planet here.)

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20 Comments

  • Reply
    Nick
    July 22, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    Thanks this is really useful. Good to know that in the beginning stages this can be done so economically.
    I’m much happier focusing on one website. Great course. Thank you.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      July 22, 2015 at 4:29 pm

      Cool, thanks for your feedback, Nick!

  • Reply
    Theodore Nwangene
    July 22, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    Hello Chris,
    I believe that choosing the best hosting plan for any site will hugely depend on your budget. Just as you mentioned, its good to start with a shared hosting server when you’re just starting and then move from there as your site continue to grow and of cause, you should also be making some money by then to afford it.

    I’ve never used Bluehost before and that was because i heard some negative reviews about them when i was just starting but, I’m happy to hear that its working very well for you though.

    That goes to support the saying that what works for Mr A might not work so well for Mr B.

    Thanks for sharing Chris, will probably try Bluehost soon :).

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      July 22, 2015 at 6:44 pm

      Good points, Theodore. Bluehost isn’t the absolute top quality option for hosting performance, and people have had mixed experiences, but it’s reliable at the price that’s offered imo. I know for my dedicated hosting, I would have to pay in the ~$500 range if I went elsewhere.

  • Reply
    Curtis
    July 22, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    I never liked Bluehost as a host. I had a shared hosting plan and my websites would *always* have many hours of downtime every single week, sometimes multiple hours in a single day.

    Bluehost is also owned by Endurance International Group which is a conglomerate that is known for buying up good hosting companies and gutting their service to increase profits. You can find a full list of the web hosts they own with a quick Google search. It may surprise you to discover that they basically own ALL of the most well-known web hosts based in the USA.

    Right now I’m hosting my site on Stablehost and they are much better. So far, I haven’t had more than a few 5-minute periods of downtime, which is far better than my experience was with Bluehost.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      July 22, 2015 at 10:50 pm

      That’s pretty surprising to hear, Curtis. Yeah, it seems everybody these days is using Bluehost. When did you make the switch, yourself?

      I’ve never experienced downtime even on their shared hosting before. Even this RankXL blog is hosted on my Bluehost shared hosting account and I’ve had no problems so far with it.

  • Reply
    Sophy
    July 22, 2015 at 10:46 pm

    Agree with Chris, share hosting for first start to build niche site. But the main problem with share are a lot of sites in one server(some hosting hosts more than 50 sites in a server ). Some time our sites down because some sites in the same server use a lot of resource.

    My option choose $5/month of DigitalOcean Cloud Hosting that faster than share hosting 5 to 10 time and we can host unlimited web sites. It is easy to resize hosting speed around 30s that price is lower than half of VPS.

    But the main problem use DO cloud hosting require highest level of technical because we mush setup own server and config to work.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      July 22, 2015 at 10:52 pm

      DigitalOcean sounds pretty cool, and $5/month is a great deal. Thanks for the suggestion, Sophy!

      I would probably have trouble on the technical side. I’m assuming they do offer some support with set up though?

      • Reply
        Sophy
        July 23, 2015 at 3:37 am

        Hmm, for my experience they provide me only blank server and I install more web components on the server.

        I am not sure they provide setup server or not. but they provide good support when we have problem with our servers.

        • Reply
          Chris Lee
          July 23, 2015 at 4:59 am

          Cool, thanks for sharing Sophy.

  • Reply
    Imran
    July 23, 2015 at 1:53 am

    Thanks Chris.

    Awesome information as always.

    I am using Hostgator for my niche sites and so far it’s working fine for me at $10/month[Shared Hosting plan for multiple website]. Only onetime it remain down for 1.5 hours in last 12 months.

    I have a question regarding visitors. When you talk about 300,000 Visitors per month. Does it mean Session or Users according to Google Analytics? Because GA shows 3 things.

    1. PageView (e.g. 200,000)
    2. Users (e.g. 90,000)
    3. Sessions (e.g. 110,000)

    Thanks.
    Imran

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      July 23, 2015 at 4:58 pm

      Hey Imran, 300,000 is a really broad number, and it’s going to be different for every site based on a lot of other factors.

      You should base it on sessions, which is the number of visitors to your site.

  • Reply
    Rob
    July 23, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    Hey Chris, quick question: how many hours per day do you currently work on your businesses and how does your schedule look like (main site, rankxl etc)?

    PS. Do you block some of your working time for reading books, blogs etc?

    Thanks!

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      July 23, 2015 at 4:50 pm

      It varies everyday, actually. I don’t have a set schedule like some other people I know who work online, but is probably something I should work on doing someday. Sometimes it’s 1-2 hours, sometimes it’s all day long. Sometimes, I’m working during the day, sometimes I’m working late throughout the night.

      I’m a pretty unfocused guy, haha. So that self-scheduling stuff will never work for me. Like setting aside 45 minutes for reading, then eating from 1-1:30. I do read books and blogs, but I don’t set aside specific time just for reading.

  • Reply
    Ariful Islam Palash
    August 21, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Currently I’m using arvixe hosting, till now they are giving me a top notch service. I’m thinking of building an authority site, hopefully I’ll give bluehost a try. You article is really helpful. 🙂

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      August 21, 2015 at 5:05 pm

      Nice, thanks for reading Arvixe.

  • Reply
    Nadya
    September 6, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    Chris, thanks for a very useful article. I am currently looking for a hosting for my first niche website, and your post comes in handy!

    I have a question.
    I plan to have more than one niche website, so would it be wise to host all of them under the same account? Bad things happen, and I am afraid that if one of my websites get penalized by Google, the others will crash too.
    It does not bother you to have all your websites under the same roof?

    Thanks again for the post and have a marvellous day!

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      September 6, 2015 at 5:05 pm

      Hey Nadya, it won’t matter unless you’re doing things like using all the sites as PBN sites.

      If they’re normal sites with nothing to hide, then it doesn’t matter.

  • Reply
    Duryab Aziz
    August 31, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    This is article is really good. You have shared everything what a niche blogger should know about good hosting.

    But after your update at the end I am still confused between Bluehost and Traffic Planet. Can you tell me more precisely which one will fit more in your case (as I have same case as yours ;> )

    Thanks..

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      August 31, 2016 at 6:14 pm

      Bluehost is perfect for those starting out (building their first few websites). It’s cheaper.

      Traffic Planet is a lot better choice for when you start growing the site and getting traffic.

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