While they might sound similar, it’s important to consider the different functions when it comes to VPS vs VPN. In fact, aside from both having the word “virtual” in their names, they don’t have much in common. One is a dedicated operating system hosted offline and offered as a service, and the other is a network of dedicated servers that facilitate the use of the Internet.
- A VPS is a computer
- A VPN is a service
As a business owner, it can be difficult to know what you need. You know you need a website and a hosting service, but from there it can get confusing. But think of the value of what both definitions communicates: privacy.
This article will explain the differences between VPN and VPS to help you make a more educated decision.
What is a VPN?
A virtual private network (VPN) is a network of dedicated servers, which run a VPN service. The VPN service then makes a secure internet connection available through that infrastructure. This is good for maintaining integrity in business communications or for managing anonymity when surfing the web.
These anonymous, secure connections to the internet help keep users’ sessions safe from hacking by routing traffic through a server in a remote site. This can conceal the location, IP address and online activity of the user. In addition, data is usually encrypted so if any information is breached, the culprit won’t be able to read it. It is worth noting that although the market is flooded with providers offering free VPN services, these options are often unreliable and slow. This is definitely an instance in which it is worth spending a little money. What you end up with will most likely be a better performing product, and an easier configuration.
How does a VPN work?
As an internet user, you start the VPN software using your VPN service. The software immediately encrypts your data, before it even heads to the VPN server. Once it’s ready to go, it’s sent to the server and then on to your online destination. The destination sees the information as coming from the VPN server and its location – not your computer and its location.
Often, you will need to install some additional software on your computer provided by the VPN service or your IT coordinator. However, some VPN services can be used right from your browser.
Why use a VPN?
If you want to browse the internet securely, maintain privacy, and avoid Internet censorship, a VPN can help you accomplish that goal bit by private bit.
It doesn’t matter if you’re logging on from major airports or the local coffee shop, a VPN will mask your location and hide your actual IP address, making it very difficult for hackers to access your private information. This is excellent for people who travel a lot, work remotely, or take client meetings in public locations. Easily and freely communicate anywhere with a VPN, and it’s like you are always in the same location.
A VPN can be located in any continent or country. This means you can connect to a VPN in Great Britain, USA, Canada, or virtually any applicable country. Most hosted VPN services have locations in multiple countries to facilitate this. Thus, a VPN can bypass regional restrictions on content, social media, streaming services, or other geographically restricted assets that are blocked in your country. The benefit of breaking geo boundaries can be massive if you travel frequently.
A VPN can help anyone in any country participate as citizens of the free Internet.
What is a VPS?
A virtual private server (VPS) is a computer, much like the one you use at home. It can install and run any type of software, just like your computer. A VPS is used primary to host websites and provide a reliable hosting solution. Configure it the way you want, a VPS lets you do whatever you need it to do. The benefits of a VPS are many, but chief among is freedom.
A virtual private server is hosted online and runs a dedicated operating system, usually accessed through a paid subscription. The main server is divided into several virtual compartments, each of which functions independently from the others. Each of those units acts as a private server for one end user.
And being managed from a state-of-the-art data center, your server is always connected.
How does a VPS work?
Virtualization technology is used to take one physical piece of hardware and divide it into multiple virtual servers.
Layers are created to ensure that each compartment works as a standalone server, with its own operating system that operates independently of the others. Even though the physical server is shared, other users do not have access to your data, just as you cannot access theirs.
Additionally, a VPS typically allows the user to install custom software and applications.
Why use a VPS?
If your business is growing or you require special software or apps, a VPS is usually a great option.
Typically thought of as a middle ground between shared hosting and a dedicated server, a VPS offers a high level of customization without the high cost. In fact, a good developer can do anything on a VPS that they could do on a dedicated server – without responsibility for the hardware, maintenance, or support.
Content can also be shared more easily, because there is no censor. Most hosts will have some restrictions on content, but in general you will find fewer arbitrary restrictions and avoid getting your content censored.
Most VPS plans are now part of larger cloud hosted clusters. This makes them highly redundant and reliable for long term usage with very few, if any, connectivity issues or outages.
VPN vs VPS: Similar Names, Different Functions
A VPN is only used for one thing – keeping your data safe and secure when browsing the internet.
A VPS is a service provided by a hosting company in order to host a website or application. While it can ultimately be used to connect to the internet, it does not inherently keep your information secure.
There’s not a “right” option. When it comes to VPN vs. VPS, it’s just a matter of choosing the right tool for the job. Think about your business needs and what’s most important at this time – if you don’t find that your needs lean heavily in either direction, perhaps you need both. Consider VPS Hosting from InMotion Hosting.