Virtual Private Servers (VPS) are one of the more popular types of web hosting platforms available to businesses and organizations in recent years. VPS hosting is very different from hosting on a shared server or maintaining dedicated servers.

In order to determine the right choice for your website, you must know what it entails. Consider the advantages and disadvantages that VPS hosting offers.

What is VPS Hosting?

VPS hosting is a virtualized server that mimics a dedicated server. It consists of a single physical server that is partitioned into several virtual servers. Each virtual server has its own operating system, storage space, bandwidth, and system resources.

A virtual private server acts as a dedicated server, providing your own unique environment for your web presence. Behind the scenes, your server is shared. But on the front-end, where you will interact with the server resources, your information and resources are available as if on a server all your own.

Advantages of VPS Hosting

Utilizing a virtual private server provides several advantages compared to other types of web hosting services. Some of the main benefits of using VPS hosting include:

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Root access

Unlike shared hosting, a virtual private server provides the user with root access – which in turn will let you install scripts and custom software. Shared web hosts require that all software installation and scripts be approved across the server users. So, your specialized needs for your website must meet the shared needs of the server. VPS hosting provides you with much more flexibility.

Also, with root access it is possible to fully control the processes on the server and start, stop, or restart them. This enables you to monitor CPU usage and control the access levels of different users.

Customizable plans

Most VPS plans can be customized. You only pay for the resources that you need. In other words, you can tailor your VPS hosting plan depending on the amount of bandwidth (using a bandwidth calculator) and disk space that you project your website will require. Shared hosting generally expects the same fee for access regardless of how much of the resources you actually use. 

Scalable

In general, VPS hosting can be scaled up quite easily. It is possible to start off with a plan that has minimal resources, and then slowly purchase more resources or upgrade the plan as your business grows. 

Cost-effective

VPS hosting is a cost-effective option. The rate for virtual private server hosting should fall in-between shared web servers and dedicated servers. While it provides similar features and advantages to a dedicated server, a VPS is much cheaper.

In addition, your capability to manage your own server environment far exceeds shared web server capabilities on a virtual private server, but are not prohibitively expensive.

Better security

Compared to shared web servers, VPS hosting tends to offer greater security. Your VPS is impacted solely by your actions. Therefore, you are subject to less risk of malware infection or malicious code. Also, a VPS makes it possible to control the level of access that users have to various privileges on the server, itself.

These advantages make clear why VPS hosting is so appealing. All things considered, with a virtual private server, you can take advantage of the performance and security of a dedicated server, without paying the same price.

Disadvantages of VPS Hosting

VPS hosting isn’t for everyone. Although utilizing a VPS has numerous advantages, it does have a few disadvantages. It is important to consider such disadvantages when making your decision about hosting services, such as:

Difficult configuration and administration

Unlike shared hosting which is mostly ‘plug and play’, VPS hosting requires more effort and expertise to set up. Virtual private server software and services are configured manually. This can be daunting for beginners.

Some VPS services are ‘managed.’ Such plans offer behind the scenes management for the more expert-level updates and installations to the virtual private server. However, ‘unmanaged’ VPS hosting services require your attention to server-related management and may ultimately lead to more costs as you seek assistance to administer the server. 

Over-selling

In theory, VPS hosting should provide you with the full amount of resources promised by the package that you choose. Unfortunately, that sometimes isn’t the case. Rather, some providers over-sell their hosting services with the assumption that you will not utilize the server resources to peak capacity.

To avoid this disadvantage, it is important to choose a provider that is reliable and has a good reputation.

Knowledge is power. The disadvantages listed above shouldn’t be a barrier to excellent hosting.

Wrapping Up

All things considered, VPS hosting is an attractive option with much to offer your business or organization. It is definitely more flexible than shared web hosts and will provide you with more options and control.

If you expect that your website will have high traffic and utilize large amounts of bandwidth, starting off with a VPS is definitely a good idea. From there you can slowly scale it up (or down) as needed. This gives you time to decide whether or not you want to make the leap to a dedicated server.