Like shared hosting, VPS hosting gives you allocated resources on a shared server. But unlike shared hosting, VPS hosting will give you private space for a virtual server within the shared space. This means you won’t have many of the problems and inconveniences that can come along with shared hosting, such as neighboring sites eating up all your resources and making your website lag.
VPS hosting gives you many of the resources of a dedicated server for a much lower cost. If you have a business or website that is too large for a shared server but not yet large enough to require its own dedicated server, you might want to consider VPS hosting.
VPS hosts — or Virtual Private Servers — give your site private and dedicated space on a virtual server within a shared system. By dividing a server into these virtual private servers, VPS hosting can help you avoid the pitfalls of shared hosting. Your VPS resources will be allocated only to you, so you won’t be negatively affected by other users or sites on your shared server.
VPS hosting can also give you more control of your website and more resources, such as increased CPU capacity, storage and memory than shared hosting. This makes it a great option for sites that have outgrown the limitations of shared hosting.
Depending on your web hosting service, you can use a variety of content management systems to create your VPS-hosted website, including WordPress, Joomla and Drupal.
Keep in mind, some degree of technical knowledge and experience is required to maintain a VPS-hosted site. If you don’t know how to maintain the server on your own you might need to hire someone to do so.
Linux vs. Windows
Linux and Windows are the two possible operating systems for your VPS server. So you might be asking yourself, which is better? It depends on how you plan on using your VPS server.
Linux is a free and open source operating system, and the most popular choice for most servers.
Windows has been developed entirely by Microsoft, and can be useful if you specifically want to run Microsoft technologies.
If you are new to the world of web hosting, Linux should be able to provide everything you need from an operating system. If you want to run Microsoft software you might want to go with a Windows server.
How much does VPS hosting cost?
VPS hosting costs sit somewhere between shared hosting and dedicated hosting. While your overall costs will depend on the web host, plans generally start around $15 to $20 per month and can go upwards of $100. If you’re spending hundreds every month on VPS hosting, you might want to consider what you can get from a dedicated host for a similar cost.
Pros and cons
Resources. VPS hosting will give you allocated CPU, RAM and storage on your virtual server which is available only to you.
Stability. With VPS hosting you won’t be affected by other users like you would with shared hosting and as a result you will experience less downtime and interruptions.
Control. You can have root access to servers with VPS hosting, which will give you the ability to run custom apps, plugins and scripts and fully customize your website.
Security. Your VPS server is private, so no other websites or users can access your data or files. With VPS hosting you can also have a unique IP address, which can give your website more security.
Affordability. VPS can be significantly cheaper than dedicated hosting, while giving you many of the benefits that a dedicated server would. Also, most VPS plans can be tailored to suit your needs so you won’t have to pay for features that you don’t want or need.
Scalability. It’s easy to scale your plan up if your website grows with most VPS hosts. This means you can focus on increasing traffic and growing your business without having to worry about overusing your server resources.
Technical experience required. Some degree of experience will be required to maintain your VPS website. If you don’t know how to manage a server you may have to hire a specialist at an additional cost.
Cost. Though VPS hosting is cheaper than dedicated hosting, it is usually much more expensive than shared hosting. If your business or blog doesn’t require the features and resources of a private server you might want to consider shared hosting.
Security. Relative to shared hosting VPS hosting offers you more security and privacy, but your VPS-hosted site will still be less secure than a dedicated server. If your website or business stores sensitive or private material you may want to consider using dedicated hosting for the highest level of security possible.
How to set up VPS hosting
Choose a web host and sign up for a plan. With VPS hosting you should have the ability to tailor your plan to suit your specific needs. Make sure to look at the features each web host offers, and their options for scaling up if your website or business grows. Features to consider may include:
Storage device. You may be able to choose between a solid-state drive (SSD) and a hard disk drive (HDD).
Operating system. Would you prefer to use Linux or Windows? Your web host should be able to help you set up your VPS server with Linux or Windows, although some may only offer one option.
CMS and control panel. Most web hosts offer WordPress as a content management system (CMS). You may be able to use another CMS such as Joomla, Drupal or Moodle.
Managed vs. unmanaged. Some hosts offer managed plans, at an additional cost, to help you with your server’s maintenance and administration. If you have limited technical experience you may want to consider a managed plan.
Resources. Consider the amount of RAM, CPU and disk space you will be getting with each plan, and make sure you choose a plan that will provide enough resources for your site.
Register your domain name. If you already have a domain name, you will need to contact your registrar to update your domain name system. If you do not yet have one, you should be able to register your domain name with your web hosting provider.
Design your website. This is the fun part! Use your preferred CMS or control panel to create the website of your dreams. Because you have chosen VPS hosting, you will be able to customize almost everything about your website, depending on your plan.
Maintain your server. Make sure to perform regular updates on all software and backup your data as often as you can.
What kind of user would benefit most from VPS hosting?
VPS hosting can be the perfect medium between shared hosting and dedicated hosting. VPS hosting can be particularly useful for :
Small- to medium-sized businesses.
Users who want more security than shared hosting offers.
Websites that may grow and need to scale up their existing resources.
Those with the technical experience required to run a server.
Businesses without a budget or resources to require a dedicated server.
With VPS web hosting you can get many of the resources of a dedicated server, for a fraction of the cost. However, if your website doesn’t require its own server, you may want to compare other types of hosting.
Frequently asked questions
Where shared hosting allows you shared resources on a shared server, VPS hosting gives you allocated resources within a private server on a shared system.
VPS hosting gives you a virtual private server within a shared server, while dedicated hosting provides you with an entire physical server to yourself.
Sarah Brandon is an editor at Finder. She has a degree in Psychology from New York University and loves learning about why people do what they do. Sarah has researched and written about a wide range of topics, from pool fences to private jets to personal loans. But no matter the subject, her number one priority is figuring out what information our readers need to make the best decisions.
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