Between shared, dedicated, and VPS web hosting, it can be pretty hard to figure out exactly which one is best for you and which one makes the most sense for your company. VPS web hosting is a fairly new option that is catching on because it offers an in-between option for users who aren’t quite ready to spring for a dedicated server but have outgrown a shared server.
Since VPS hosting is still capturing attention as a viable alternative, let’s take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions about the service. That way, you can make an informed decision that will best benefit your organization.
What is a VPS?
VPS stands for virtual private server. With a shared server, multiple websites and data are stored on one computer, sharing resources. With a dedicated server, you have the computer all to yourself.
But with VPS web hosting, the computer that acts as your server is partitioned off. That way, the resources on the server such as memory and storage space are not communal. Instead, your website has its own memory and storage capacities that are unaffected by the other websites on the server.
The main deciding factor for many people is monetary. A dedicated server is the most expensive option, while a shared server is the cheapest one. A VPS is right in the middle of these two when it comes to cost.
How does a VPS work?
For years, it has been possible to partition off a hard-drive so that it has sections dedicated to one particular task or function. Additionally, computers are able to be virtualized using different operating systems. A Mac can emulate the functionality of a Windows PC using virtualizing operating systems.
The VPS works much the same way by creating multiple “mini-servers” on one larger computer. These are all separated from each other so that if the bandwidth usage of one computer increases with web traffic, it will not slow down the others on the server.
What are the advantages of a VPS?
For many people, the number one advantage of a VPS is that it offers a lot of the functionality of a dedicated server at a fraction of the cost. It also offers more stability than a shared server since you don’t have to share resources with other companies who are hosted on the same server.
But it also gives you more flexibility because you can customize them much more. With a shared server, the websites are managed by the web hosting company and you have input but not a lot of actual hands-on control. With a VPS, you can have as little or as much control as you need.
What is an unmanaged VPS and a managed VPS and which one should I use?
A managed VPS gives you a private server, but the web hosting company takes care of all the hands-on aspects such as updates, security patches, and server maintenance. With an unmanaged VPS, the hosting company creates the server space for you and then leaves you to do the work as you see fit.
As far as which one to choose for your business, the decision is really based on your comfort level with computers. If you are tech savvy and enjoy the ability to tinker with your website and customize it, then an unmanaged server may be a good idea. If you are not comfortable with computers and coding, then you may want to leave it alone and stick with a managed set-up.
For many businesses that are past the “training wheels” stage of a shared server, a VPS web hosting system is the best choice. It gives you all the functionality and flexibility of a dedicated server as well as a healthier dose of stability without costing you a lot of money.