VPS hosting is type of service provided by Web hosts. Providers may offer unmanaged or managed options and name them differently but, the underlying concept is the same.
A Virtual Private Server (VPS) is a virtual computer system that runs its own own operating system (such as Linux or Windows).
In practice, a virtual private server functions pretty much the same way a dedicated server does. The main differences between them are: a VPS is defined in software and; it is not a physical ‘bare metal’ machine.
As a webmaster, you might think of virtual private server hosting as a step up from shared hosting.
Although your VPS will share a server with others, the resources available to it (such as memory) are guaranteed. This also means that your site security and performance are unlikely to be affected by other users on the same server.
VPS Hosting Advantages
Root Access – One of the main advantages of virtual private servers (over shared hosting) is that you will usually be granted root (or superuser) access. This means you have greater control. You can install any software you like and configure it to your liking.
Dedicated Server Features – In terms of functionality, a VPS is equivalent to a dedicated server. Root users have full control of the operating system and how the inner workings of the system operate.
Lower Pricing – VPS hosting costs less than physical, dedicated, servers with the same specification.
Improved Security – Potential access to your files (which is a risk in shared hosting plans) is removed. You are in sole control of the operating system and it is not shared with other users or sites.
Guaranteed Resources – Dedicated amounts of memory, disk space, bandwidth and CPU are allocated to you. This means that, unlike shared hosting, your website speed and visitor access to it will not be affected by other users.
Scalability – As your website grows and more resources are needed, it is easy to upgrade to a more powerful environment.
Technical Knowledge Required – In unmanaged plans, customers administer their own VMs. This includes taking responsibility for backups, security patches and ongoing software updates.
If you have no desire to learn the technical aspects, consider paying a little more for a managed solution. Namecheap, for example, provides extra help with configuring core services, priority support and weekly backups as part of its fully managed option.
Previous: Web Hosting Buyer’s Guide