WordPress Hosting: What’s the Difference Between a Virtual Machine and a Virtual Hosting Account?

While there are many differences between the two, at the most basic level, a virtual machine is like having a whole separate computer in your digital space, and a virtual hosting account is like renting a slice of computer power to power your website or blog.

With that in mind, here’s how WordPress hosting works.

The Two Main Types of WordPress Hosting

There are two main types of WordPress hosting:

  • Virtual Machines (VMs)
  • Virtual Hosting Accounts (VHAs)

A virtual machine is, you guessed it, like having a whole separate computer. You control what software is running on it, just like you would control a physical computer. From a security standpoint, a virtual machine is considered to be just as safe as a physical computer because everything is locked down by your web host (more on them in a bit).

A virtual host, meanwhile, is like renting a slice of computer power to power your website or blog. This slice of computing power is usually reserved for high-traffic sites, so you’ll have to pay for this service (usually on a per-year basis). With virtual hosting, you don’t really have complete control over the software and settings that are running on the host, like you do with a virtual machine. You simply have control over the content that is being hosted on the website (typically posts, pages, and images).

So, what is the difference between a virtual machine and a virtual hosting account? Essentially, a virtual hosting account gives you the ability to run more than one website on a single computer, while a virtual machine is specifically designed for individual use.

More Than Meets The Eye

Let’s take a quick look at what else virtual machines and virtual hosting have in common. First, both allow you to operate multiple websites or blogs from one platform. Second, you don’t need to install any software to utilize either of these services, as everything is provided to you by your web host.

Third, both services offer support through ticketing systems and live chat options. Fourth, you get access to advanced features (like caching and security) without having to pay extra. Finally, you can upgrade your account whenever you like, with most web hosts offering a free trial of their service before requiring you to pay for monthly hosting subscriptions.

Because these services are often utilized by individuals or small businesses who need a basic web presence, many web hosts offer them for free. This means you’ll have no additional charges other than your domain registration fee, and you can use their services to power your site without fear of breakage or malfunction.

The Major Differences Between VMs and VHAs

Although the two are somewhat similar, they are, in fact, two very different services. Here’s a quick overview of the main differences: