VPS Hosting: All You Need to Know About Virtual Private Servers

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April 14, 2024

Servers 11 min read

All You Need to Know About VPS Hosting

VPS hosting is all the rage now, and for good reason. This type of hosting essentially takes a physical server and splits it into several virtual servers, with the primary advantage that each server has its own dedicated resources such as CPU, RAM, and storage. Technically speaking, all this is made possible through a software layer called a hypervisor, which creates and manages these virtual servers, also known as virtual machines (VMs).

Such is its popularity that the virtual private server market is projected to reach $8.3 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 16.2%:

Source

Given its rising demand, it's safe to assume people are beginning to appreciate the security, performance, and scalability VPS offers. 

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about virtual private servers—from what it is and how it works to the pros and cons of using it and comparing the types. 

Let's go!

What is a Virtual Private Server?

A virtual private server—or VPS—is a hosting service.

It's an isolated virtual machine that's hosted on a physical server. This server is typically owned and operated by a cloud or web hosting provider.

VPS hosting uses cutting-edge virtualization technology to divide a single physical server into multiple private virtualized server environments, all of which share its underlying resources.

Simulating a physical server, VPS hosting allows multiple users to use dedicated private resources.

Who Is VPS Hosting Ideal For?

VPS hosting is a great option for numerous businesses that need to balance their resource demand with cost-effectiveness. Some examples include:

  • App Developers: If you're developing apps that require more resources than a shared server can provide, but don't need the full power of a dedicated server, VPS hosting offers the right balance.
  • Gamers: Gaming websites often require more consistent performance and resources to ensure smooth gameplay. VPS hosting can provide the necessary stability and speed without burning a hole in your pocket.
  • eCommerce Businesses: eCommerce online stores can also greatly benefit from the reliability and security of VPS hosting, especially during peak shopping seasons when traffic spikes are common.
  • Medium-Traffic Websites: Websites with moderate levels of traffic that need more resources than a shared server can offer, such as blogs or even small business websites, can benefit from the scalability that VPS hosting offers.
  • Developers and IT Professionals: VPS hosting provides a customizable environment for developers and IT professionals to test and deploy applications without the cost of a dedicated server.

Virtual Private Server vs. Dedicated Server vs. Shared Server

Before we dive into virtual private servers in greater detail, let's go over the different types of web hosting services available at your disposal.

But why do you need different web hosting types in the first place?

Here are two compelling reasons:

  • You can customize your server to your heart's content
  • You can optimize your website's performance as well as service, depending on the best server type

So, ask yourself the following questions before zeroing in on the best server type:

Key questions to ask How it helps
1. What are my performance needs?
  • Determines the level of performance required for your website so that you can find the right fit
2. What is my budget?
  • Factors in your budget constraints and help compare the cost of each server type to find the most cost-effective option
3. How much control do I need?
  • Allows you to decide how much control you need over the server environment
4. What levels of scalability and security are being offered?
  • Determines if the server type allows you to easily scale resources up/down based on your needs and provides the requisite security features for your app
5. What is the level of technical support provided?
  • Helps you consider the uptime guarantee offered by the server provider
6. What is the backup and disaster recovery plan?
  • Determines if the server provider can offer regular backups and a plan for disaster recovery to protect your data
7. What is the server location?
  • Helps drive optimal performance
8. What is the hardware infrastructure?
  • Helps gauge if the server provider uses high-quality hardware for reliable performance
9. Is the service provider reliable?
  • Empowers you to assess the provider's reputation for reliability and customer service
  1. Shared hosting: Shared hosting is a great option for businesses that are just starting out and bloggers. In other words, if your website experiences low traffic, you can go for the shared hosting option.

It is characterized by:

  • Multiple users sharing a single physical server (and its resources)
    • Users not being allocated a set amount of resources (think: computing power, disk space, and memory); everyone's website runs on the same operating system
    • Poor website performance since resources are shared with multiple users at a time
    • The hosting provider takes care of all aspects of the shared hosting environment
  1. Dedicated hosting: Dedicated hosting is ideal for organizations with high-traffic websites that require maximum performance and control.

In this type of hosting. You get:

    • Your very own physical server dedicated solely to your business
    • Resources reserved exclusively for your use, guaranteeing consistent and reliable performance
    • Complete control over everything—from hardware to OS
    • The ability to customize the server to meet your specific needs
  1. Virtual private server hosting: A middle ground between the two servers is the virtual private server hosting. In this server type, you get:
    • A defined amount of resources allocated to your virtual server
    • The advantages of dedicated hosting for a pocket-friendly price, such as own OS, server apps, root access control, and so on
    • The cost-effectiveness of shared hosting, as you are sharing physical server hardware with other VPS users
    • The ability to scale resources up/down easily as your website grows or changes

Let's look at an analogy for virtual private servers, dedicated servers, and shared servers. Imagine you've rented a workspace. In this setup, three scenarios are possible:

  • Scenario 1 - Shared Server: Your workspace is a co-working space (much like WeWork) where multiple people share the same resources. You will have a designated desk and chair, but you will have to share common area facilities like a pantry, meeting rooms, etc.
  • Scenario 2 - Virtual Private Server (VPS): Here, your workspace is your own office suite, albeit in a shared, larger building with other offices. So, you will have a dedicated space with your own tables, chairs, lighting, Wi-Fi, etc.; however, you will need to share common building infrastructure like security and utilities.
  • Scenario 3 - Dedicated Server: This means you have your own standalone office building. Everything in the building is exclusively yours, and you have full control over how the space and resources are used. Since there's no sharing with others, you get complete freedom and control.

Why Go With VPS Hosting Instead of Shared or Dedicated Hosting?

Yes, VPS hosting comes with limited resources, but it provides a dedicated server space to the user.

So, while you do share a physical server with other users, you can still get the benefits of a dedicated server hosting environment such as:

  • Pay for what you use: With VPS, you will only pay for the resources you use and not a penny more.
  • Greater customization and control in comparison to shared hosting: VPS is a more secure and stable alternative than shared hosting. Your server is separated from others on the OS level, and you get root access to your server.
  • Cost-effective: VPS is a more cost-effective option than renting an entire server.
  • Scalability: VPS hosting allows you to easily scale your resources as your website grows—meaning you can easily upgrade or downgrade your resources such as RAM, RAM, disk space, bandwidth, etc. and plan based on your needs.
  • Improved performance: Since you have dedicated resources, your website will not be affected by traffic surges, and you will have better performance, stability, and security as compared to shared hosting—where resources are shared among multiple users.
  • Continuous resource availability: Since you have guaranteed server resources with VPS hosting (read: memory or processing power), there'll be little to zero fluctuation in the availability of resources.
  • Enhanced security: You can also better protect your files, documents, etc., as everything is stored away from other users.

What Are the Limitations of VPS Hosting?

VPS servers offer plenty of advantages, but this does not mean they do not have any limitations:

  • Comparatively higher cost: VPS hosting is more expensive than shared hosting. If you're on a tight budget, the higher cost of VPS hosting might be a roadblock for you.
  • Slight learning curve: Managing a VPS requires some technical expertise. If you're not familiar with server administration and troubleshooting, you may find it challenging to manage your VPS effectively.
  • Resource limitations: Despite having dedicated resources, you're still limited by the physical server's capacity. If your resource requirements exceed your VPS plan, you may need to upgrade to a higher-tier plan or consider dedicated hosting.
  • Responsibility: With VPS hosting, you're responsible for managing and maintaining your server. This includes tasks like installing updates, monitoring security, and performing backups. If you're not comfortable with these tasks, managing a VPS may be overwhelming for you.
  • Isolation: While VPS hosting offers some level of isolation from other users on the server, it's not as secure as dedicated hosting. There's still a risk of security breaches if the server isn't properly secured and maintained.

How Does VPS Work?

Let's start by defining a server.

Your web host needs to store your website's files and documents somewhere. This is where a server—aka computer—steps in.

Here's how the server works:

  • Step 1: An online visitor types in your website's URL to access it.
  • Step 2: Your browser sends a request to your server.
  • Step 3: The browser then transfers all the required files via the internet.

So what role does VPN play in all this? Keep going.

  • Step 1: Your hosting provider installs a virtual layer called a hypervisor on top of the operating system (OS) of the physical server.
  • Step 2: The hypervisor divides the physical server into virtual compartments, or partitions.
  • Step 3: Each virtualized layer enables users to use these virtual compartments as independent functions and empowers them to install their own software and OS.

The whole process can be likened to creating partitions on your laptop/desktop so that you can run it on multiple operating systems without having to reboot.

Tips and Best Practices to Maintain Your VPS Servers

If you're managing a VPS server, here are some practical tips to keep it running smoothly:

  • Stay updated, always: Keep your server's operating system and software up-to-date. Note that updates often include security patches and performance improvements that can keep your server running smoothly.
  • Monitor resource usage: Keep an eye on your server's resource usage. If you notice any spikes or unusual activity, you must investigate and take action immediately to optimize resource allocation.
  • Backups are key: Regularly back up your server data to ensure you have a copy of your important files in case of data loss or server failure.
  • Security-first: Implement security measures such as strong passwords, firewall protection, and regular malware scans so that your data is protected at all costs.
  • Optimize performance: Improve your server's performance by optimizing configurations and using caching mechanisms. You must also regularly review and adjust your settings for efficiency.
  • Check those logs: Regularly check your server logs for any errors or issues, as logs can provide valuable insights into your server's performance and help you troubleshoot problems on the go.
  • Keep it clean: Perform regular maintenance tasks like disk cleanup and database optimization to keep your server running smoothly.
  • Plan for the worst: Have a disaster recovery plan in place, including regular backups and a plan for restoring your server in case of a failure.
  • Stay informed: Keep yourself updated with the latest trends and best practices in VPS server management. You can always join online communities and forums to learn from others and stay ahead of the game.

How to Choose the Best VPS Hosting Plan For Your Website?: Top Strategies

Choosing the best VPS plan can be overwhelming for anyone. Use these tips as a great starting point to make the right choice:

  • Pick between self-managed or managed VPS options: Managing the VPS yourself requires you to have an understanding of troubleshooting software, server administration, how to manage apps within your VPS, etc. In the case of managed VPS, your service provider takes over these administration skills so that you don't have to.
  • Think about which OS you want to use: Think about which operating system you want to use for your VPS. As you may know, Linux and Windows are the most common choices. Linux is preferred for its stability and security and because it is an open-source software offering more flexibility. However, if you use Windows-specific apps and software, Windows VPS is the obvious choice. Vodien offers VPS for both operating systems.
  • Ask - What's the reliability and uptime provided by your VPS service provider?: Your service provider must guarantee an uptime of 99.5% or higher in their SLA at the least.

How to Know It's Time for an Upgrade?

If your website is struggling to operate smoothly—even on the most advanced shared hosting plan, it may be time to consider upgrading to a VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting plan. Simply put, VPS hosting is often seen as the next step when your website's needs surpass the resource limits of shared hosting.

Moreover, if your website is experiencing performance issues, frequent downtime, or slow loading times despite being on a top-tier shared hosting plan, upgrading to a VPS plan could be a good solution.

Remember, VPS hosting offers the benefits of both shared and dedicated hosting environments, providing you with more resources, control, and stability than shared hosting while being more cost-effective than dedicated hosting. A win-win for all!

What's a Managed VPS?

Managing your entire Virtual Private Server environment can take a toll on you. For instance, if the server is not configured properly, you may experience security issues. Or, if you don't manage it well, your performance levels may stagger.

We're here to tell you that a better alternative exists: managed VPS.

In this type of hosting service:

  • The provider takes care of the day-to-day management and maintenance of the server for you
  • The hosting provider handles tasks such as server setup, security updates, software installations, regular backups, and technical support
  • You get the benefits of having your own virtual server without the hassle of managing it yourself

Collectively, this means you can focus on running your website and getting customers through the metaphorical door without having to sweat about the technical aspects of server management.

Long story short, managed VPS hosting is a great option if you want the control and flexibility of a VPS without the need for technical expertise or the time to manage your own server. It provides a convenient and hassle-free hosting solution with expert support and maintenance included!

Get Your VPS Needs Sorted Out with Vodien

Want full control of your server? Check.

Need guaranteed resources as per your customized needs? Check.

Don't have the bandwidth, time, or will to run the server or manage it? Check.

Vodien can deliver on all accounts!

To start with, Vodien offers multiple managed VPS plans for you to choose from. Our optimized VPS services ensure less maintenance and empower you with a more hands-on approach. We also provide a 360-degree knowledge base comprising of learning resources and expert help to get your website going within seconds.

With Vodien's managed VPS hosting, you can focus on what matters the most—growing your business while we take care of the technical grunt work. Our team of experts is available 24x7x365 to assist you with any issues you may have. Upgrade to Vodien's managed VPS hosting today and experience the difference.

FAQs

Q. Is VPS Good for Hosting?

Yes, VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting is an excellent choice for hosting high-traffic websites like eCommerce websites, for instance. These types of websites require more control, customization, and resources than shared hosting can provide. With VPS hosting, you get dedicated resources and greater flexibility without the cost of a dedicated server.

Q. Why Do I Need VPS Hosting?

You may need VPS hosting if:

  • Your website has outgrown the limitations of shared hosting
  • You need greater control, security, and performance than shared hosting
  • You have a website with higher traffic volumes
  • You want a website with specific technical requirements

Q. What Is the difference between hosting and VPS?

The main difference between hosting and VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting lies in the level of control and resources allocated to your website.

With traditional hosting, your website shares resources with other websites on the same server, whereas with VPS hosting, you get a dedicated virtual server with its own resources and operating system. Obviously, this gives you more control and flexibility to customize your server environment to suit your needs.

Q. What Are the Benefits of VPS Hosting?

VPS hosting offers several benefits, such as:

  • Increased performance: With dedicated resources, your website will load faster and perform better, even during high-traffic periods.
  • Enhanced security: VPS hosting provides a higher level of security than shared hosting, as each virtual server is isolated from others on the same physical server.
  • Scalability: VPS hosting allows you to easily scale your resources as your website grows without experiencing downtime.
  • Customization: With root access, you can customize your server environment to meet your specific needs and install custom software.
  • Cost-effectiveness: VPS hosting is more affordable than dedicated hosting, making it a cost-effective solution for websites that require more resources than shared hosting can provide.

Q. How Do I Choose the Right VPS Hosting Plan?

To choose the right VPS hosting plan, consider factors such as:

  • Your website's resource requirements
  • The level of technical expertise you have
  • The level of support you need
  • The features and pricing of different VPS hosting plans help you find one that meets your needs and budget

Q. Can I Upgrade My VPS Hosting Plan?

A: Yes, most VPS hosting providers offer the flexibility to upgrade your plan as your website grows. You can upgrade your resources, such as RAM, CPU, and storage, to accommodate increased performance requirements and traffic.

Q. What Kind of Support Is Available for VPS Hosting?

VPS hosting providers typically offer various levels of support, including 24/7 customer support, technical assistance, and troubleshooting. Some providers may also offer managed services, where they take care of server management tasks for you.

Q. How Secure Is VPS Hosting?

VPS hosting is generally considered more secure than shared hosting, as each virtual server is isolated from others on the same physical server. However, it's important to choose a reputable hosting provider that offers robust security measures, such as firewalls, DDoS protection, and regular security updates.

Q. Can I Install Custom Software on My VPS?

Yes, with VPS hosting, you have root access to your virtual server, which allows you to install and configure custom software to meet your specific needs. Remember, this level of customization is one of the key advantages of VPS hosting over shared hosting.

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