Selecting the right kind of hight performance hosting for your Drupal project requires knowledge and experience. Amazon Web Services, the Acquia cloud. Pantheon and Omega8: Who is the winning kid?
Shared hosting is not the best option for your Drupal project. Performance will usually be slow, you won't have ssh, and you won't have any Drupal specific tools such as Drush. Moreover, if your site succeeds your hosting provider will usually shut it down for using too much resources, or ask you to upgrade your plan (which won't be enough).
A regular VPS is just slow. The software which splits the resources between different VPSs residing on the same server make each of them runs slower. The advantage over shared hosting is that you can use SSH and install Drush which are essential for real Drupal sites. But the site's speed is low compared to sharded hosting, you and you also have most of the headaches of dedicated hosting (unless you have a webmaster, it may quickly become the place for worms and hackers, and it's unscalable). And your webmaster won't be able to install performance tools since he won't have enough place.
A dedicated server's performance is enough for a many Drupal sites, but it's hard to manage. It won't be that fast If you don't have a webmaster who manages it in top form with Drupal-speific optimizations and upgrades. The only advantage of dedicated servers over shared VPSs is that you can install caching tools like memcache and opcode caching tools like zend, but it requires a webmaster to configure them and maintain them on top form. Also, it may quickly become the place for worms and hackers, and it's unscalable, so this option is not rally recommended.
If you host your dedicated server directly on the cloud (e.g. on Amazon AWS), you will get better scalability, but you will still have to manage it yourself. It won't be that fast If you don't have a webmaster who manages it in top form with Drupal-speific optimizations and upgrades, so you will have to upgrade it and pay more and more. Also, it may quickly become the place for worms and hackers, so this option is not rally recommended.
Drupal-Speific Cloud Server
Here you find Acquia. You get development, staging and production environments on a dedicated host, together with drag & drop support, drush and best git support built-it, as well as many development and performance tools. Great for development, but might be pricy for production. It only starts from 165$ per month, but one of my clients paid around 2000$ monthly when trying to run his production sites there. Why? Acquia is stored on the AWS - the Amazon cloud, on relatively cheap (but dedicated) machines. Indeed you can switch to larger server when you need it but it's not that easy. So you'd better preserve a little more capacity then you need right now. Pantheon may be a cheaper alternative (starting from 25$+), if you only use one site, but it's still hosted to AWS and suffers the same issues of scalability.
Drupal Production Hosting
Here you find omega8.cc, with all production-level bells and whistles alteady built it. The fastest Drupal hosting platform on the world. Relatively cheap to start with, and very cost-effective, since you don't have to buy it's ultra scalability on advance. Aegir control panel, with many Drupal platforms alteady built-in, together with security optimizations. Some migration required, but you save on webmaster costs and security upgrade costs required to keep existing Drupal sites on top performance. This is really a VPS (virtual private server), but VPSs are stored on amazing machines can automatically scale up to 32 GB RAM and 24 CPUs for short load peaks – free of charge. So it really feels like a dedicated server, together with the ultra-scalability of the cloud, but without paying for it. The speed is amazing - when I transferred one of my Drupal websites to omega8.cc, page load time went down from 4 to 1 second. Prices starts from 34$ per month (when paid yearly).
Acquia and Pantheon are best for heavy development. But for cost-effective production, use Omega8.cc. Currently we use omega8 for development as well, and help clients people move their production websites there.
|Server Type:||Shared Hosting||VPS||Dedicated Server||Cloud Server||Drupal Cloud Server||Drupal Production Hosting|
|Examples||Bluehost, Interspace||Amazon AWS||Acquia Cloud / Pantheon||Omega8.cc|
|Control Panel||Cpanel / Plesk / Webmin Included||Same||Requires a webmaster to install||Same||Custom||Aegir - Drupal Specific|
|Scalability||No||No||No||Manual (Requires Server Upgrade)||Manual (Requires Server Upgrade)||Automatic|
|Automatic Scalability for Peaks||No||No||No||No||No||Yes|
|Security||Low - No shell but hard to upgrade||Same||Same||Same||Better - but still full shell and no easy upgrades||Best - Limited shell and easy platform upgrades|
|Starting Price||5$||10$||30$||50$||165$+ - Acquia Cloud or 25$+ - Pantheon||34+ / month|