What Is a Virtual Private Server?
First, let’s define what VPS actually stands for — virtual private server.
In layman’s terms, a server is a powerful computer that stores all of the data and files that make up your website. When someone types your domain name into their web browser, that powerful computer “serves up” your website to the searcher’s screen.
Now for the virtual aspect: VPS uses virtualization technology to split that one powerful server we just talked about into multiple virtual servers. Think of it this way: it’s one piece of physical hardware that functions like several separate servers.
The word private means just what it implies. Your virtual server is reserved for you, so you won’t have to share RAM, CPU, or any data with other users.
How Does VPS Work?
VPS Hosting simulates the experience of a dedicated server even though you’re still sharing the physical server with other users.
Your web hosting provider like Cloudnetvox installs a virtual layer on top of the operating system (OS) of the server using virtualization technology. Separating the server into individual compartments with virtual walls, this layer allows each user to install their own OS and software.
Because a VPS separates your files from other users on the OS level, it truly is a private server. This means your website lives within a secure container with guaranteed resources — think memory, disk space, CPU cores, etc. You don’t have to share any of it with others. We have various VPS Hosting and plans including: Standard VPS Hosting, KVM Linux VPS Hosting, Windows VPS Hosting, Storage VPS Hosting.
How VPS Compares with Shared Hosting and Dedicated Hosting
To truly understand how VPS works, it’s important to get familiar with some of the basics of web hosting, including other common plans. Here’s a brief breakdown of the difference between shared hosting and VPS Hosting.
1. Shared Hosting
Shared hosting is the most common form of web hosting and works well for many new website owners. When you purchase a shared hosting plan, you’re sharing key resources like CPU, RAM, and hard drive space with other website owners using that same server.
Let’s use an analogy to make understanding this concept a little easier.
Think of a shared server as a large apartment complex, and all of the individual apartments are rented by other website owners. All of you need a place to live — just like your website’s files — but going out to buy a huge family home would be too expensive for your needs. Sharing common areas and utilities in an apartment block helps keep costs down. And the same is true for shared hosting.
There are a few downsides to shared hosting, though, mostly because you’re sharing. For instance, if someone else on your shared server has a huge spike in traffic, that could affect your website’s performance. However, if you’re just getting your website off the ground and don’t have huge traffic volume, shared hosting is a great way to get online!
Looking for an entry-level plan? Check out our affordable shared hosting packages.
2. Dedicated Hosting
Dedicated hosting is the opposite of shared hosting. Rather than pooling resources (and sharing the costs) with other website owners, you have one dedicated server that is reserved for your website only.
Sounds great, right? The catch is that it’s more expensive, but you get 100% control over your resources and can customize the software to meet your individual needs. This type of hosting package is best for websites with robust technical demands. For example, dedicated hosting could be right for you if:
- you are getting large amounts of traffic each day.
- you need to install your own operating system.
- you are handling thousands of financial transactions.
- your website requires custom software.
3. VPS Hosting
VPS hosting sits squarely between shared and dedicated. When you choose VPS, there will be other websites hosted on the same hardware as yours (remember that powerful server we talked about earlier?).
But — and it’s a big one — your website is the only domain allocated to your particular virtual compartment. And that means you get your own operating system, dedicated storage, powerful CPU, scalable RAM, and unlimited bandwidth.
With a VPS, you are getting many of the benefits of a dedicated server — for an affordable price. In short, VPS hosting can give you more bang for your buck.
There are different types of VPS Hosting
With unmanaged VPS, your web hosting takes over installing the operating system, and you as the site owner take over managing various aspects of the server such as:
- Installing software, your control panel and taking care of software updates.
- Monitoring for security threats, installing security patches and fixing error messages.
- In the event of an outage or hardware failure you won’t get much if any support from your host.
- Configuring and maintaining your server including any upgrades you might want to see.
- You take over the responsibility of setting up your sites backup services.
- This is recommended for site owners who have a technical background.
Site owners with less technical acumen or a smaller staff can benefit from managed VPS. With managed VPS hosting, IT professionals lighten your load by keeping your server running correctly and taking care of your virtual server. Here’s what you should expect from a web hosting provider:
Initial server setup
When you launch your site with a VPS there are a few steps to take in order to set the server up including installing your control panel, server software and installing any applications and your operating system. A managed host will take care of this.
Similarly, all applications and OS updates, and ongoing fine tuning of the server will be handled for you.
Security patches for your OS and core server software are installed and updated, on your behalf.
Monitors for early warning signs of hardware failure and malicious attack
In the event anything goes wrong with your site, you can retrieve it back to an earlier version. Check with your VPS hosting provider to see what levels of management they offer. Some have greater flexibility, like Namecheap; we offer Self-Managed, Managed, Fully Managed and Emergency Assistance.
The tradeoffs between managed and unmanaged hosting are cost vs flexibility. While unmanaged services are naturally, far cheaper than managed plans, there’s a snag - you need to have the tech know-how to run and maintain a server, or be prepared to hire someone to keep it running smoothly and safe from potential attacks.
What are the benefits of VPS Hosting?
Since you have your own OS, with a VPS, you can customize it to your needs. For example, if you have your own instances of server applications from PHP, to MySQL, Apache, you can customize them so that the server fits your needs.
Offers the ability to oversee a hosting environment. Also, if you plan to install applications that need you to perform a system restart to finalise the installation, you can do this without affecting anyone else, at any time. Even though you share a VPS server with others, yours can be restarted without disrupting others.
More affordable than a dedicated server.
With a VPS Server, you have a predefined amount of RAM available to you whenever you need it. In contrast to shared web hosting, where there could be others sharing your server that could eat up the RAM when you want it most!
Another great thing about VPS is that you can purchase the resources you think you will need, and if that’s insufficient, you can simply increase its size.
Do I need VPS hosting?
There are use cases for every type of hosting, so who exactly is VPS hosting for? You should consider VPS hosting if:
Your business is expanding beyond the constraints of shared hosting.
You are expecting a substantial increase in site traffic within the next few months. For example, your site is geared toward a new marketing effort or promotional campaign, or if you’re expanding into other markets.
You might have enough bandwidth to handle a single website, but two, three? If you plan on hosting several websites in the near future you’re going to need more resources. Similarly, if your current shared hosting account is eating through the resources and your host is asking you to consider upgrading, it’s time to consider VPS.
Your website needs better privacy and performance compared to what’s available with shared hosting.
You want full control over the server, things like custom configurations, root access and installations unavailable with shared hosting.