What is a VPS? Everything you need to know about virtual servers

What is a VPS? Everything you need to know about virtual servers

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A VPS (Virtual Private Server) is a virtual partition within a physical server that assigns exclusive resources to each partition. They grant root access that allows you to install an operating system and work with a high degree of freedom.

VPS hosting is one of the most popular hosting services you can choose for your website. It uses virtualization technology to provide you with dedicated (private) resources on a server with multiple users.

It is a more secure and stable solution than shared hosting where you do not get dedicated server space. However, it is smaller in scale and cheaper than renting a full server.

VPS hosting is generally chosen by website owners who have mid-level traffic that exceeds the limits of shared hosting plans but do not yet need the resources of a dedicated server.

VPS solutions generally offer several hosting plans. For example, at Speed2Host, we have three VPS hosting plans that adapt to different needs and allow you to scale your site seamlessly when you need more resources.

what is vps

How does VPS hosting work? Is VPS safe?

A server is a computer on which your web hosting provider stores the files and databases needed for your website. Every time an online visitor wants to access your website, their browser sends a request to your server and transfers the necessary files over the Internet. VPS hosting provides you with a cloud server that simulates a physical server; however, in reality, the machine is shared among several users.

When using virtualization technology, your web hosting provider installs a virtual layer on top of the server’s operating system. This layer divides the server into partitions and allows each user to install their own operating system and software.

Therefore, a virtual private server (VPS) is both virtual and private because you have absolute control. It is separated from other users of the server at the operating system level. In fact, VPS technology is similar to partitioning your computer when you want to run more than one operating system (e.g. Windows and Linux) without having to reboot.

A VPS allows you to set up your website inside a secure container with guaranteed resources (memory, disk space, CPU cores, etc.) that you don’t have to share with other users. With VPS hosting, you have the same root-level access as if you were renting a dedicated server, but at a much lower cost.

Comparison of VPS with other types of web hosting

Different types of web hosting allow you to perform different levels of customization on your server. They vary in price, performance (e.g. page load time) and service availability (e.g. uptime). Below, you can read about how VPS hosting compares to other hosting solutions.

Shared Hosting ( Linux )

Linux Shared hosting is the solution for website owners with less traffic. It is the starting point for most small businesses and bloggers. With shared hosting, you divide the same physical server among several clients of the hosting company. You don’t get dedicated resources for yourself, since your site runs on the same operating system as everyone else’s.

Therefore, the memory and computing power that your site can use is affected by the needs of other users of the service. For example, if there is a sudden spike in traffic on a website hosted on the same server, it can increase your page load time. You also don’t get to choose your operating system or other server software, since all users use the same configuration. Ultimately, it is your hosting provider that is in charge of every aspect of your shared hosting environment.

You can think of shared hosting as a rental where you share the same apartment with several roommates. VPS hosting is still a shared solution, however, everyone has their own room where they can customize the space according to their needs. For example, they can choose the paint, furniture, decoration, etc.

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Cloud Hosting

With cloud hosting, you don’t use a single server, but a cluster running in the cloud. Each server in the cluster stores an up-to-date copy of your website. When one of the servers is too busy, the cluster automatically redirects traffic to a less busy server. As a result, cloud hosting has no downtime, since there is always a server in the cluster that can handle requests from your website visitors.

Cloud hosting and VPS hosting are not mutually exclusive. Instead, many hosting companies offer VPS hosting on a cloud infrastructure. This is also the solution we have chosen at Speed2Host.Com, as we found that combining VPS with cloud technologies leads to the highest possible performance and reliability in the remote server environment.

WordPress Dedicated Hosting

WordPress hosting is a service specifically offered for WordPress site owners. It comes with several WordPress-related features that you can only use if you have a WordPress site, such as one-click installation, pre-installed plugins or a WP command line interface. Servers are configured for WordPress needs. Therefore, hosting providers offer WordPress hosting as part of their shared hosting service.

Although it is also possible to set up a WordPress site on a virtual private server, you cannot get access to custom servers that have been set up with WordPress in mind. However, if you still choose VPS for your WordPress site, you can configure your hosting environment according to your business needs.

Dedicated Hosting ( Dedicated Servers )

With dedicated hosting servers, you rent a complete physical server for your business. If you have a high-traffic website, dedicated hosting may be the best solution for you, as dedicated servers are fast, flexible, and fully customizable. However, the service also comes with a price tag, so it is not the best solution for everyone, especially if you have a small or medium-sized website.

While VPS hosting allows you to choose and configure your operating system and server applications, dedicated hosting goes one step further. It not only allows you to configure the software but also the hardware, as the entire server is yours and no one has a say in the configuration. You can also run a dedicated server on site (e.g. in your office), however, you will not get the support of a professional hosting team in that case.

VPS pros and cons 2021

VPS hosting can be an ideal solution for you if it is the service you really need. Below, you can read the pros and cons of having a virtual private server.

Pros:

  • It is faster and more reliable than a shared hosting server.
  • Since server resources, such as memory or processing power, are guaranteed, there is zero to minimal fluctuation in available resources.
  • Problems and traffic surges from other server users do not affect your site.
  • You get root access to your server.
  • You get more privacy since your files and databases are locked to other service users.
  • It is an easy to scale service. As your website grows, you can easily upgrade your server resources (RAM, CPU, disk space, bandwidth, etc.).

Cons:

  • It is more expensive than shared hosting.
  • More technical knowledge is required to manage your server.
  • Misconfigured servers can generate security vulnerabilities.

When to use VPS and how to decide if it is time for an upgrade?

VPS hosting is generally seen as the next step after your website grows out of the resource limits of shared hosting. If the more advanced shared web hosting plan is no longer enough to run your website smoothly, it is worth moving to a VPS plan. In such cases, VPS hosting can give you the best of both worlds: shared and dedicated hosting.

However, there are other use cases where it may be a good idea to start with a VPS plan from the beginning. For example, e-commerce websites where you need to ensure secure payments with a fast and stable environment can benefit greatly from a virtual private server. In fact, if you store any kind of sensitive information or have to process online payments, a VPS can help you reduce the risk of security breaches and identity theft.

If you expect to receive spikes in traffic at certain times on your site, for example, in the case of an event planning or ticketing website, a VPS hosting plan can be a godsend. Game servers and other resource-intensive sites can also run with much better performance on a virtual private server.

Is there an alternative to VPS? What is a managed VPS?

One of the biggest pitfalls of VPS hosting is having to manage the entire server environment on your own. If your remote server is not properly configured and maintained, you could face serious security risks and performance loss. Managed VPS hosting services have appeared on the market as a viable solution to this problem. You can consider it as an enhanced alternative to VPS hosting, which comes with full technical support.

Managed VPS is still a novelty in the market, however more and more hosting providers are offering it to their customers. For example, at Speed2Host, we aim to provide a fully managed hosting environment with all of our cloud hosting plans. We get your server up and running and make it run according to your needs, handle server uptime and monitoring, take care of backups and caching, and provide 24/7 technical support for all our managed VPS customers.

In short, what is a VPS?

VPS hosting gives you access to guaranteed resources and total control without having to manage your own server. It is an excellent solution for medium to high traffic, resource-heavy and e-commerce websites. However, businesses expecting rapid growth can also benefit from the stability of the service. If you want a reliable, enterprise-scale hosting environment at a friendly price, VPS hosting is definitely worth considering for your website.

We hope this article has helped you understand what a VPS is and how it works – if you have any additional questions, feel free to post them in the comments section below!