What is a VPS and why do you need one?

What is a VPS and why do you need one?

Posted by mwechsler in VPS on March 12, 2014 with No Comments

When looking for hosting services, you may have heard of a Virtual Private Server or “VPS” but not completely understood what that term means. A VPS can be used to host your WordPress blog, Minecraft server or business website. It represents an optimal hosting compromise of resources and cost. A “Cheap VPS” doesn’t mean low quality hosting – it could be exactly the type of price/performance value that you may be seeking.  


What is a shared server?

Back of VPS ServerOne server can host many accounts and websites. While each account and website appear are separate, all of them will share the same resources indivisibly between them such as the server’s processor and memory. If this is difficult to conceptualize, you can imagine sharing a huge room with many other people. While you may have your own chair and desk, you rely upon the same lighting, power and common space. If one person shuts off the lights by accident or takes up too much space, part or all of the other people are affected.  The same goes for hosting. When one person’s website has a problem and uses too much memory or computer processing power, all the other accounts on the server are affected. The server can go down. While this presents a risk and reliance upon others to be prudent of their use of common resources, shared hosting is the cheapest option. It is appropriate for small, nonessential websites.

 What is a dedicated server?

On the flip side of shared hosting is the dedicated server option. The customer owns or controls the entire server and has the right to use all the resources as he or she sees fit. It’s like having control of the entire room to yourself, including the space and the power, to divide as you see fit. While a dedicated server doesn’t present the risk of other hosting customers affecting performance, it is the most expensive option and is usually never cheap. It is the choice of large, resource hungry and very active websites that need to have full control over all the resources available to the server.

What is a virtual private server or a VPS?

A VPS represents the middle ground between a shared and dedicated server. Each account on the server is sectioned off and has its own dedicated resources – almost like a condo in an apartment building. Each account or apartment has its own dedicated space and resources. A VPS user has an amount of storage, space and processing power dedicated to his or her account. It is a very popular hosting compromise, frequently used for:

  1. Game servers such as Minecraft and Call of Duty
  2. Hosting small to mid-sized WordPress websites
  3. Hosting small business websites who want more reliability at a low price
  4. Backup of other websites
  5. Hosting a proxy service
  6. Hosting a VPN (virtual private network) and tunneling

A VPS is a flexible solution and a cheap way to obtain far more reliability and stability than shared resources.  While the costs can vary greatly between servers, it will still provide superior service at a fraction of what  it would cost to own or rent a single machine in its entirety. It is important to ask questions about what you’ll need and your host will probably be happy to help you answer them. A cheap VPS doesn’t have to mean low quality. Good hosting companies will pass on cost savings to customers leveraging from significant industry experience and knowledge which translates into greater efficiency and return on investment.

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