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Is a Virtual Private Server Right for You?

Published on 2/26/2011 by

If you’ve outgrown your shared web hosting account you’ve probably been told that it’s time for you to upgrade to something that can better fit your needs.  At this point, you have two options: a virtual private server or a dedicated server.

The difference between VPS and a dedicated server

A dedicated server is a server that is dedicated just for your use.  Think of it like your home computer.  If nobody else shares that computer with you, it is your dedicated machine.  Likewise, when you have a dedicated server, you don’t share any hard drive space or resources with anyone else.

A virtual private server is a dedicated server that has been partitioned or split up so that many clients can share the same machine.  Each VPS can have its own operating system and control panel and never shares resources with anyone else.

Why choose a virtual private server

Virtual private servers are a cost effective way to get all the benefits that a dedicated server has to offer without all the cost.  Virtual private servers are significantly less expensive than dedicated servers and are a nice middle ground between shared web hosting plans and dedicated servers.

Who can benefit from VPS?

Virtual private servers are an excellent fit for those who use too many resources for a shared web hosting account, but not enough to warrant investing in a dedicated server.  This may include:

  • Small businesses
  • Active forums
  • Ecommerce stores
  • Websites with large databases
  • Highly trafficked blogs
  • Websites with resource intensive scripts
  • File sharing sites
  • Video streaming websites

In short, any website that has experienced a large amount of growth and finds that they’re consistently using more resources than their web hosting accounts affords them can benefit from a virtual private server.

Managed versus unmanaged VPS

There are two types of virtual private servers available with most web hosting companies, managed and unmanaged.  An unmanaged virtual private server leaves you in complete control of everything from installing and uninstalling software to allotting resources and plugging up security holes.  If you’re technically savvy and familiar with server operations this may be a good fit for you.

A managed server is overseen by your web hosting company.  You’ll still have complete control to do with your server what you wish, but your web hosting company will take on the responsibility of securing your server and applying any software updates and bug fixes to your operating system.  If you simply need the added space and bandwidth but don’t know much about how to secure a server, a managed virtual private server is right up your alley.

Is a virtual private server right for you?