Online Basics

Virtual Private Servers

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Category: Online Basics , Finding A Web Hosting Package

A Virtual Private Server (VPS) uses virtualization software to partition physical servers into multiple "virtual" servers—each having the ability to run its own operating system and applications. VPS is not for everyone, but is quickly becoming the hosting preference of choice for advanced Web developers who require root access to the server to run their own software.

Are you ready to switch from a shared server—the typical Web hosting setup—to a Virtual Private Server? Or, should you go even further and invest in your own dedicated server? Your need for server space, flexibility and growth potential will answer these questions.

You've Outgrown Shared Website Hosting Servers

VPS is a fantastic solution if your website has outgrown the space offered on a shared hosting plan, especially if you run multiple high-traffic websites. While dedicated servers are a big financial and technical investment, VPS offers an "in between" option that offers great flexibility and scope for a savvy Web developer without the hefty price tag.

If your bandwidth usage is high and your website seems slow to perform, you may need more resources than a shared website hosting plan provides. Shared hosting means you share everything - so you're restricted in how big your website can grow, and your available resources (disk space, bandwidth, etc) can be affected by the traffic flow and bandwidth usage of other websites running on the same server.

With VPS Hosting you don't share resources because you have defined memory and bandwidth allocations within your virtual environment. A VPS will give you far more bandwidth and disk space and ensure you are never compromised by someone else's website. It's also a more flexible solution if your website grows and you need to move to another server – since it's easier to move a VPS to a new physical server than to transfer the contents of a dedicated server over to a new host.

You Want To Run Specific Applications

If you want to customize your Web hosting server or need more technical flexibility than shared hosting, but the price tag of a dedicated server is prohibitive, then a VPS can be a brilliant option. You get full root-level access to install and delete software, set permissions, create accounts and determine your customized server environment – but because you are still sharing hardware you don't have to be concerned about the physical server maintenance and security.

VPS can be a perfect solution for businesses that want many of the features of a dedicated server but don't have the resources to physically host, support and maintain the server hardware. A shared environment won't offer you the same bandwidth or Web hosting space that a VPS will be able to support and there are also many more constraints on the software you can run in a shared hosting environment. In contrast, a VPS will give you the freedom to install, delete, reboot and do all the functions as if you have your own server. You also get an increased level of security as each VPS is isolated and completely separate from other Virtual Private Servers on the same physical server. The environment is secure and protected and each VPS can be rebooted or stopped independently – even if a hacker infiltrates one VPS there is no access to the others using the same physical server.

Website Hosting Using A VPS

VPS has clear advantages for website hosting as it offers a huge level of flexibility over shared website hosting, without stretching your budget to a dedicated server. A VPS offers you an environment for development and testing for your website hosting. For example, you could choose to have a VPS dedicated to testing and a separate VPS running simultaneously for your live or production websites. Without the need for two physical servers you can safely debug software, install major changes and software updates in a secure environment without affecting your live websites. You can also use a VPS for back-up or file storage. It's easy to switch between virtual servers so you can protect and maintain website visibility online even while undergoing extensive development work.

A VPS is not the same as a dedicated server, but it gives the illusion of being one. A good Web developer can do almost anything on a VPS that they would want to do on dedicated server, however, a VPS hosting plan is substantially less expensive, comes with technical support, and the hardware behind a VPS is not your responsibility. Sure, cheap servers can be acquired, but they will require a far larger overhead in terms of physical security and technical maintenance, security and support. Ultimately, a VPS can be the perfect solution when you need more flexibility and features than a shared hosting plan, but are not in the market for your own dedicated hosting server.