VPS is an ideal hosting solution for online shops, businesses that have to comply with the PCI standards and any sites that need to scale and become more complex. From this article, you’ll get to know how VPS functions and how it differs from other types of hosting. You’ll learn about the main advantages of VPS and will be able to decide whether you need it.
How a VPS Works
A VPS is a server that is shared between multiple users. Yet their shares don’t overlap. You’ll get access only to those resources that belong to you. No one will be able to “borrow” your resources, as it happens when you use shared hosting. Each site that’s stored on the server is given a specific amount of memory and power.
Your VPS hosting provider installs a virtual layer on top of the server’s operating system with the help of virtualization technology. This layer separates the server into individual compartments, which enables each user to install their own operating system and software.
An essential part of the VPS technology is a software called a hypervisor. It builds virtual environments by creating, releasing and managing all the available resources. There are two types of hypervisors: hosted and native (the latter is also known as bare-metal). The former runs on the standard operating system. The latter controls the bare-metal server’s hardware.
Now, let’s formulate the same idea with the simplest words. With a VPS, you get access to a private server. This server is virtual and not physical. One physical server can contain multiple virtual servers and each of these virtual servers belong to one user only.
Managed vs. Unmanaged VPS
When choosing a VPS hosting package, you might opt for either managed or unmanaged one. With the former, your hosting provider will be in charge of the maintenance and upgrades of the virtual server. With the latter, the hosting provider will focus only on maintaining the physical server — and you’ll need to take care of the virtual part yourself. The unmanaged package costs less but requires certain technical skills.
Differences Between VPS and Other Hosting Options
Apart from a VPS, you might want to purchase a shared or a dedicated server or use cloud hosting. Below, we’ll analyze the main differences between them.
When you launch a small site, it might be enough to buy a shared hosting plan for it. It is the most common form of web hosting. It suggests that multiple sites are hosted on the same physical server and share its key resources (such as CPU, RAM and hard drive space). Such an approach helps all the site owners to cut down expenses — but it also has inevitable shortcomings.
For instance, if your business needs to comply with PCI standards, you might not be able to use shared hosting. Also, the deficit of common resources might tell on the performance of your site even if you don’t scale it or overload it with content. If some other site on your shared server has a huge spike in traffic, yours might load slower than usual. Moreover, the necessity to share resources might lead to security vulnerabilities.
Dedicated hosting is the opposite of shared hosting. You get a unique physical server for your site and you don’t need to share its resources with anyone. You should opt for this type of hosting if you have a site with robust technical demands.
Thanks to a dedicated server, you’ll get 100% control over your resources. You’ll be able to install your own operating system and customize the software to meet your individual needs. You’ll particularly appreciate it if your site needs to cope with large amounts of traffic and handles thousands of financial transactions daily.
Predictably, a dedicated server is the most expensive hosting option.
It can be considered as the golden middle between shared and dedicated servers. You’ll get many of the benefits of a dedicated server at an affordable price. You might ask, why do people need dedicated servers at all? Because they are much more powerful than VPS. If you have a resource-intensive, enterprise-scale website (such as a streaming platform), you need to get a physical server for it. In most other cases, a VPS should be enough.
Clouds are easier to scale. But at the same time, they’re slightly more vulnerable to hacking attacks than physical servers. Also, managing them typically requires more profound technical skills.
The Advantages of VPS
If you choose this type of hosting, you should appreciate its following benefits.
- Affordable costs
- Full control of your resources
- Enhanced data protection
- Fewer server errors
- No risks of being affected by the vulnerabilities of other sites on the same server
- Easy backups
- Faster loading times and better performance, compared to a shared server
- Improved user experience (as a consequence of faster loading times)
- Enhanced traffic generation and higher conversions (as a consequence of better performance)
- Flexibility and excellent scaling opportunities (when needed, you’ll be able to quickly purchase RAM, disk space, extra bandwidth and other resources)
- An opportunity to create multiple virtual environments on the same server and host other people’s websites
As for the disadvantages, there are probably only three of them. First, a VPS costs more than a shared server. Second, if you choose an unmanaged package, you need to have technical skills to control your virtual server. Plus, VPS hosting might be not enough if you have a resource-intensive site — in this case, you should switch to a dedicated server.
Hopefully, this article came in handy and now you better understand how a VPS functions. This type of hosting is slightly more expensive than a shared server but at the same time is nearly as powerful as a dedicated server. Depending on your technical skills, you might want to opt for either managed or unmanaged VPS packages. This type of hosting will enable your online business to develop quickly and efficiently.