When you’re trying to get a website up and running for the first time, the jargon used by people in the industry can make it difficult to understand exactly what you’re buying. One of the most common acronyms you’ll encounter when looking for hosting services for any kind of website will be VPS. That stands for Virtual Private Server. Let’s take a look at what the term means, and what a VPS can mean for you and your website.
VPS Replaced Many Onsite Servers
In the early days of web hosting, many individuals and companies that wanted to keep total control over their data used dedicated servers that they kept on their own premises. A dedicated server refers to hardware that is set aside for hosting one website, and nothing else. When web traffic was much smaller than it is now, and websites were simply a few pages of HTML and thumbnail pictures, that worked fine. Those days are long gone.
Hosting companies began building server farms that could serve the needs of hundreds, and then thousands of customers. Compared to operating your own dedicated server, the cost of renting out server space from a hosting company was very low, and the performance was much better. There were problems for some users that moved to this shared hosting service setup, however.
Shared Hosting Can Suffer From Performance Problems
Many companies needed to keep sensitive data on their servers, or needed them to be set up in a very specific way. They wanted to make sure that the server that their website was hosted on wasn’t shared with other sites. They paid extra for private hosting. They rented out an entire server, or multiple servers, to make sure that their data and traffic was separated from other websites.
That problem has been largely solved by VPS hosting plans. Server space is partitioned into virtualized independent operating systems. That means each virtualized operating system behaves as a dedicated server. A VPS can actually be affordable if you use a BlueHost coupon code or similar discount. This is because unlike truly dedicated servers, VPS allows you to pay for only amount of server space that your website requires, while not giving up the benefits of private hosting.
Benefits of VPS Hosting Plans
- Privacy – Your portion of the server is partitioned from all the other users, so it’s not possible for the data stored on your virtual server to be accessed from anyone else on the server
- Highly Customizable – Each VPS account can have its own operating system. No matter what server applications you want, you can use them without interference from anyone else on the server. You can customize your system, or even change it completely, without disruption of any other user installation
- Individual Control – Technically, a Virtual Private Server is a shared server, but because the different users are partitioned so effectively, you can schedule installations of server applications whenever you like, and restart only your virtual portion of the server whenever is convenient for you
- Reliable Resource Allocation – The random access memory and CPU capacity for the VPS server is allocated proportionally to all the users. With shared hosting, if your server has another site that’s a bandwidth hog, your website can suffer from long load times for your visitors. VPS hosting ensures you always get the RAM you paid for
When VPS Isn’t Enough
For most customers, the amount of data that a website contains is usually pretty small in comparison to the capacity of the server space they rent. The real problem is bandwidth. If your website gets a lot of traffic, you need to have your data delivered to users quickly no matter how many visitors try to access the site at the same time. Companies that worried about bottlenecks caused by too many websites being hosted on the same server also opt for private servers.
There are some configurations that call for true dedicated servers. If you have unusual hardware requirement, whether it be an ultra-fast CPU, extra RAM, or data transfer rates that would tax a conventional VPS setup, renting a dedicated server will allow you to get the setup you need. Hosting support teams will gladly tweak any hardware requirement you need for an additional fee, and you’ll have the precise setup you need for your unconventional setup without having to run it yourself. If you have an unusually large number of databases or other resource-hungry applications, you won’t affect anyone else on your server because you are the only client using it.