Virtual private server hosting is like owning your own pool. It's not crowded and you have a lot of options.
You have total control over what you install. For example, you won't be forced to upgrade your version of PHP, as you would be with a shared host.
You also often have dedicated hardware resources (server memory and processing), along with fast solid-state drives, and guaranteed network speeds. This can make your site load a lot faster.
You have to manage everything. If you want to use PHP, then you have to install it. If you're a beginner, you might want to consider shared hosting.
I use Linode, and have been very happy with them. One thing I've liked is that when I've prepaid for 2 years of hosting, they've given me a 15% discount.
I've also considered using Digital Ocean, which is roughly the same price as Linode (unless you're prepaying and get a 15% discount).