For many people with simple sites and simple needs, a standard Web Hosting account is all they’ll ever need. They are using out-of-the-box software and their site’s needs are not overly demanding. But if you’re a developer, you might find that a VPS will better suit your needs. Especially when the cost of entry has never been lower.
To understand the difference, it can be helpful to think of a standard Web Hosting account as being in a shared office loft with other companies. All the companies just need a place to put their desk, chair and phone. Think of a virtual private server (VPS) as having your own office space within a larger building. You can do with it as you like; paint the walls, put up a presentation screen, etc. and you have walls and doors to isolate you from the activities of others. Or to put it in developer terms, with a standard VPS you have the ability to customize the system to be exactly the development environment you need, along with having a virtual machine to provide more shielding from the resource demands of others.
Even if you’re not the type to customize the environment and develop custom software, there are Managed VPS options available which combine the benefits of having cPanel and easy deployment of out of the box software, while still providing the benefits of your software running inside its own virtual machine.