One of the most important decisions when running a website is what type of hosting service you will use. Web hosting comes in many different types, each of which should be used in specific situations.
For many businesses, a virtual private server (VPS) is the perfect option for website hosting because it can be faster and more stable than other types of hosting. It also may improve the experience of online customers and is often the best balance of cost and performance. Let’s take a closer look and see if VPS hosting is what your business website needs.
- What a VPS is
- How VPS compares to other types of hosting
- The pros and cons of a VPS
- Whether VPS is the right choice for you
What Is a Virtual Private Server?
All websites are hosted on one or more servers, which are not all set up or configured the same. On a larger hosting server (or set of them), a VPS has a virtual environment that uses advanced software to segment resources from a physical server to be used exclusively for one customer.
When set up correctly, the VPS will look and function like its own physical server. You can fully control what type of hosting software you want installed, how the files are handled, and much more.
How Is a VPS Different From Other Common Types of Hosting?
One of the best ways to learn about a VPS is to compare it with other hosting options. This illustrates how this type of hosting functions and when it should be used. The most common hosting options today include shared hosting, dedicated servers, and cloud hosting (what is cloud web hosting?).
How does VPS compare to shared hosting?
Shared hosting is by far the most common option because it is inexpensive. This type of hosting allows multiple sites and customers to be set up on one server environment, similar to a VPS. But with shared hosting, each customer does not get their own virtual environment with dedicated resources. Instead, customers on shared hosting accounts have access to a large pool of system resources, including disk space, RAM, processing power, and more.
If one customer website gets a massive amount of traffic, it impacts the performance of the other websites on the same server. With a VPS, even if another customer’s site on the same physical server gets a spike in traffic, it will not impact your site. When you need reliable performance, a VPS is a significant improvement over shared hosting.
How does VPS compare with dedicated servers?
As the name suggests, a dedicated server is an individual server dedicated to one account. In most cases, this will mean one website runs on one physical server. It is also possible to configure the account so multiple physical servers are used to power a single website.
From the perspective of the website owner’s interface, it is difficult to see the difference between a dedicated server and a VPS. The main advantage of a dedicated server is that your account is given all of the resources available instead of dividing them up like with a VPS.
Dedicated servers are more expensive than a VPS option, though. Only large websites that get a lot of traffic will need to spend the extra money to get a dedicated server instead of a VPS.
How does VPS compare with cloud hosting?
Cloud hosting is popular, especially with smaller websites. It is similar to shared hosting in that each account shares a pool of resources. But unlike shared hosting, cloud hosting has resources spread out over many servers on a cloud infrastructure. This means there will be less of an impact when one website gets a spike in traffic.
While there are advantages to cloud hosting compared to shared hosting, the price is still in the same general range. Cloud web hosting is significantly cheaper than a VPS because you do not have full control over the environment on which your site is kept.
What Are the Pros and Cons of a VPS?
VPSes have been an option for webmasters for decades. They are a proven way to ensure your site is up and running to serve all types of visitors. Learning about the pros and cons will help you make the best decision for your site.
Advantages of a VPS
- Dedicated resources – You have a set amount of system resources dedicated to your account at all times.
- Easy upgrades – If your site gets a spike in traffic, you can quickly have the web hosting company upgrade your resources on the fly to maintain excellent service.
- Reasonable prices – While a VPS is more expensive than shared or cloud solutions, the price point is still typically affordable, especially compared to dedicated servers.
- Improved security – A VPS is kept in a logically separate environment; it is not vulnerable to hacks or viruses that may infect other systems on the same server, so your website is secured.
- Control – You can typically manage your VPS in any way you like. This means you can install whatever software you require, make custom configurations, and more. Often this is not allowed on shared hosting.
Disadvantages of a VPS
- Cost – While a VPS has a reasonable price point, they are a big step up in price compared to shared hosting.
- Confusing configuration – Often, you’ll need to configure the resources and know how much disk space, random access memory (RAM), central processing units (CPUs), and other resources you will require. Good hosting companies are happy to help you through this process.
- Resource allocation – Since multiple sites run on one physical server, it is important to ensure everything is allocated and configured correctly. If the web hosting company does not handle this well, it could hurt the performance of all the sites on the server, so choosing a reputable hosting provider is important.
Can You Move From One Type of Hosting to Another?
Choosing the right type of web hosting is crucial for ensuring your website operates properly. One great thing about all modern web hosting options, however, is that it is pretty simple to move from one type to another.
For example, if you start with shared hosting on a small site, you can upgrade to a VPS once you get a steady stream of traffic. Almost all web hosting companies will be happy to migrate you from a shared hosting service to a VPS or from a VPS to a dedicated server. You can also downgrade if you do not need a higher-cost package for your site.
Is a VPS Right for You?
A VPS offered by one hosting company may be quite different than one offered by another. Make sure you read through our list of the best web hosting providers (constantly updated based on recent performance) to ensure you pick the right type of hosting and the company that can meet your needs.
The popular hosting company InMotion Hosting offers VPS hosting. Also, Kamatera is a highly recommended hosting company that offers VPS solutions.