What is VPS Hosting?

A VPS server gives you elevated access to your own disk space, memory, CPU cores, and software configuration. It’s like having your own virtual dedicated server in a data center, but for a fraction of the cost. This guide will explain what is a VPS and why VPS hosting is the right option for you.

A VPS (virtual private server) is a type of web hosting package that splits a physical server into “virtual” pieces that each simulate a separate server. This gives you dedicated computing resources for more control, better security, and overall faster performance.

This guide will cover the following:

How Does a VPS Work?

VPS hosting works by taking an entire dedicated server (or, cloud hosting network), partitioning off individual “nodes”, and running discrete “containers” in those nodes. This is how virtual private servers give you more power and control, but at a much more affordable cost than dedicated hosting.

Infographic: Where Does Your Website Live?

Does this mean VPS hosting is “shared”? No. With a VPS, you are not sharing resources with other users on the same server. 

You can host multiple websites on a VPS with little to no sacrifice in speed and performance. This is ideal for managing a variety of websites, or even providing your own hosting service as a reseller.

Do I Really Need VPS Hosting?

If you have noticed slower performance from your website, or you are maxing out your shared hosting account, then you likely do need VPS level hosting.

Entry-level VPS features provide an instant boost in performance and are not much more expensive than some of the better shared hosting plans on the market.

How Do I Know When It’s Time to Upgrade My Virtual Server Hosting?

If you are wondering when it is time to upgrade, a stress test can provide specific benchmark data to verify if you are able to handle requests in a timely manner. This simulates a high amount of load on your server to see how it responds and recovers. For more information, see the following guide.

Hosting Comparison Chart

OptionShared HostingVPS Hosting
Price Range$2.49-$19.99/month$19.99-$146.99/month
Custom Server SoftwareNoYes
Operating System OptionsNoYes
Experience LevelBeginnerAdvanced
Root AccessNoYes
Dedicated IP AddressAdditional PurchaseIncluded

For additional details, see our full guide Shared Hosting vs VPS Hosting | How Do I Choose?

VPS and Cloud Hosting

VPS hosting and “cloud hosting” are often associated terms. However, not all VPS hosting is cloud-based.

Cloud hosting refers to a hosted virtual server in a cluster or an array of networked servers sharing data. With server load distributed among a vast network of computers, there is little to no downtime.

While some VPS containers are still hosted in a single bare metal server, you will find more and more distributed in the cloud. InMotion offers Cloud VPS plans that include Linux virtual server hosting with your choice of operating systems such as Ubuntu, Debian, or CentOS.

Types of VPS Hosting

Managed VPS hosting refers to a VPS that is pre-loaded with a control panel, and critical software already installed.

Most hosting companies offer additional management services on top of this hosting stack, so even non-experts can enjoy the benefits of private hosting.

Unmanaged VPS hosting is generally cheaper than managed because you get a bare minimum of hosted services with your package. You get an operating system and a text-based terminal, that’s it. For some do-it-yourself users, this is a good way to save costs and enjoy more freedom. But for most users, the managed approach is worth the extra costs.

To learn more, see our article on Managed VPS or Cloud Server Hosting.

How To Manage Your VPS

The jump to VPS, however, comes with some additional responsibilities. Even a managed VPS is not totally managed. You retain control in a variety of critical areas:

  • What software do you want to add, and how often to update it.
  • How to manage subaccounts (such as additional cPanel users), and what share of resources to grant.
  • Safety and security of root level access keys and passwords.

VPS hosts can help you set up the correct protocols, but it is up to you to perform much of the day-to-day maintenance.

Virtual Private Server Hosting FAQ

We will now go over some of the common questions many people have such as “what is VPS hosting used for?”.

Is VPS Hosting Worth It? Why VPS Hosting?

Every website will have different needs. With sufficient optimization, an average site with about 25-50 visitors at one time can run well on shared hosting. However, as your site grows to a hundred or even a thousand visitors at a time, a VPS becomes a necessary expenditure.

Is VPS Server Hosting Better Than Shared Hosting?

A VPS provides the perfect middle ground between entry-level shared hosting and the ultimate power of dedicated hosting.

What is VPS Hosting Used For?

While VPS servers are great for housing busier and larger business websites, people use them for a lot of other applications, such as:

  • Scalable cloud infrastructure for small to medium-sized businesses
    • Collaborative document editing
    • Private video teleconference hosting
    • Customer relationship management (CRM)
    • Project management and other custom task management
  • Live streaming events
  • Load balancing and monitoring traffic between multiple other servers
  • Web application firewalling (WAF) traffic to and from another virtual server

Learn more about what you can do with Linux virtual private server hosting.

How Many Websites Can I Host On a VPS Server?

You can host virtually unlimited websites on a VPS platform. You are only limited to the disk space, memory, and CPU capacity of your container.

If you need more bandwidth, disk space, or CPU, your container can be updated on the fly with no downtime.

How Much Is VPS Hosting?

VPS hosting is a partition of a larger server, so it’s not much more expensive than shared hosting. Now that you’re familiar with what a VPS server is, you may be wondering “What is VPS hosting going to cost me?”In general, you could expect to pay $20 to several hundred or more per month than shared hosting—depending on the VPS package you need.

Considering the instant boost in performance, VPS is easily worth the added costs. InMotion Hosting VPS plans range from $19.99 to $59.99 per month on average.

How much bandwidth do you get with VPS?

Bandwidth and data transfer in a VPS can range from a few terabytes to unlimited. Just be sure to purchase the plan that meets your expected bandwidth needs. But, there’s no need to worry if you need more bandwidth in the future since a VPS is easily scalable. This means additional resources can be quickly allocated to upgrade the server as needed.

WordPress Hosting VS VPS

You will often see VPS hosting compared with WordPress hosting. What is the difference?

WordPress hosting refers to any hosting plan that has been optimized for the WordPress content management system (CMS).

These servers may be shared or private, but in both instances, you will likely see improved web server caching, PHP fine-tuning, and MySQL optimization.

If you are running a WordPress site, a WordPress VPS gives you the freedom, virtual private hosting, and an optimized server stack for your website.


You now know everything there is to know about VPS hosting. If you have any questions or comments feel free to drop them below.

Want more performance and power from your website? InMotion Hosting's VPS Hosting plans provide hyperfast site speeds on high-performance NVMe servers.

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