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What is a Virtual Private Server?

Published on 2/26/2011 by

A virtual private server (VPS) is a technical platform for web hosting whereby a single web hosting server is partitioned or split up into several virtual machines.  Each virtual server is capable of running its own operating system and control panel, and can be independently rebooted. 

The benefits of VPS

Virtual Private Servers offer many benefits over traditional shared web hosting for those who have outgrown their hosting accounts or need the freedom a VPS machine can provide.

Performance:  With shared hosting, when one domain consumes large amounts of the server resources, all the other websites on that server are affected and may experience slow loading pages, 404 errors or go completely offline.  This doesn’t happen with virtual private servers.  Because each VPS operates as if it were a single server, others cannot have an impact on your projects.

Customization:  Each VPS is completely customizable to whatever specifications you may require.  You’ll be in complete control of what operating system is installed, which control panel is used, how much memory is available, the size of your hard drive, and what applications are installed.

Scalability:  Virtual private servers adapt to growth, so you’ll never outgrow another web hosting plan.

Control:  Virtual private servers offer end users a level of control that shared web hosting simply cannot. With a virtual private server, you’re in charge of everything.  VPS owners are given:

  •  Root access.
  • The ability to install or uninstall software.
  • Complete control over configuration files.
  • The power to modify root application software.

Independence:  It’s mandatory with shared web hosting accounts to have to go through your service provider to add IP addresses or request SSH access, and that’s not the case with VPS.  With a virtual private server each virtual partition operates just like a real server, which means you’ll be acting as system administrator and can add IP addresses or reboot your server whenever you need to.

Cost:  Virtual private servers are on par with large shared hosting accounts when it comes to cost and they’re far less expensive than an actual dedicated server.

Security:  Because you’re in complete control of your VPS, you no longer have to worry about what another shared web hosting customer on your server is doing.  You manage what gets installed and who has access to files.

Virtual private servers are an excellent stepping point between shared web hosting and dedicated servers.  If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of managing an actual server by yourself, many web hosting companies offer fully managed virtual private servers.