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August 03, 2022

What are Virtual Private Servers and What are Their Benefits?

Among the choices offered to businesses searching for a web hosting solution is to use a virtual private server (VPS). This method of providing web hosting has both advantages and disadvantages over traditional methods of building and operating individual servers on a dedicated hardware platform. This article discusses what makes up a VPS and how it can help your business.

What are the Components of a VPS?

Let’s look at what constitutes a virtual private server by breaking down the elements of its three-letter acronym (TLA) in reverse.

  • Server - Providing a server to host a website is the main function of a VPS. The server can be of any type based on the customer’s business requirements. The virtual server functions just like a physical server and can be used for a wide variety of purposes including application development, storing files, and web hosting. Customers can install whatever operating system and programs they like on a VPS, giving them more flexibility and control over other hosting options such as shared servers.
  • Private - A VPS offers a private server that segregates its workload from other users. The resources allocated to a VPS are exclusively for its use and do not fluctuate based on other tenants as with options like shared servers. With the heightened focus on security, this can be a big factor in choosing to go with a VPS.
  • Virtual - Virtualization is the key to a VPS and is the major differentiating component over more traditional web hosting solutions. The private server obtained with a VPS is implemented using virtualization technology. There is no dedicated hardware on which the specific VPS server lives. Instead, a physical server is used as the foundation for any number of virtual servers, each with its own set of resources that are separated from other virtual instances implemented on the same hardware.

How Does a VPS Work?

A VPS is essentially a virtual server running within a physical server. Physical hardware underlies this abstraction layer and is necessary for hosting the virtual server instances. In a VPS environment, multiple virtual private servers are implemented simultaneously on a single physical server.

The physical server is segmented using specialized software, hardware, or firmware known as a hypervisor. Hypervisors are also referred to as virtual machine monitors (VMMs). The hypervisor divides the hardware’s physical resources and allocates specific portions of them to guest virtual machines.

A VPS can be implemented using either in-house computing resources or those of a third-party such as a public cloud provider. Going with an in-house implementation requires a company to have the necessary expertise and additional hardware necessary to build virtual private servers. Third-party providers already possess these assets and offer a streamlined path to rolling out a VPS solution.

What are the Benefits of a VPS?

There a multiple advantages that accompany the use of a VPS. Following are some of the most impactful benefits of implementing one or multiple VPS instances on a single piece of hardware rather than relying on several physical servers to construct a similar computing environment.

  • Cost savings - A VPS offers substantial cost savings over that of a dedicated host. A shared server is even less expensive but does not provide the other benefits of a VPS.
  • Improved performance - The guaranteed resources allocated to a VPS ensure that a minimum level of performance will be maintained. This is in stark contrast to a shared hosting environment where users are impacted by the demands of other clients using the same hardware foundation.
  • Enhanced security - The security of their server environment is of paramount importance to most businesses. Obtaining a VPS from a qualified cloud provider brings with it the availability of enhanced security using the vendor’s tested tools and methodologies.
  • Flexibility - A VPS can be configured to fill any server role without the constraints that may accompany using a shared solution. There is also more flexibility in the operating systems a customer can choose to deploy on a VPS.
  • Scalability - Virtual private servers offer on-demand scalability that allows a business to efficiently address its evolving requirements. Servers can be added or subtracted from the environment whenever needed.
  • Availability of managed services - Third-party and cloud vendors often offer fully managed VPS services to their customers. This eliminates the complexity of managing the instances with in-house personnel and can also add additional services such as cloud backups and snapshots to protect customer data.
  • Simplified licensing - Licensing can quickly become very complicated when working with a diverse environment that employs multiple operating systems and applications. Third-party pricing of VPS solutions includes licensing fees, making it easier for a business to understand the true cost of implementing this type of solution.
  • Avoiding noisy neighbors - In a shared hosting solution, each tenant is affected by the others sharing the physical server’s resources. This situation can result in degraded and inconsistent performance that may not align with a company’s business objectives.  

Are There Disadvantages to Using a VPS?

There are some potential disadvantages to using a VPS that may drive a business to search for a different solution, such as using a dedicated server. The following are some of the issues that may be associated with using a VPS solution for your business.

  • Cost - A VPS is a more expensive solution than using a shared server. If your business does not require the power provided by a VPS, going with a shared server solution offers the less expensive option. In some cases, the computing resources available with a VPS may not meet business requirements which may be better addressed with a dedicated server.
  • Performance and services - While a VPS offers a segmented and private portion of the underlying hardware’s computing power, this may be found to be inadequate for certain business requirements. The VPS must be set up and managed properly to provide its advertised level of performance. This implies a level of expertise that may not be available using in-house personnel. Over-allocating physical resources can cripple the performance of the virtual instances and negate most of the advantages of using a VPS.

Why Should Your Business Choose a VPS Solution?

Businesses looking for a cost-effective method of providing new server instances for web hosting or any other purpose should strongly consider a VPS solution. A VPS offers a compromise between the less expensive shared hosting option and the use of a more costly dedicated server. As a company’s needs outgrow the performance available from a shared server, they should strongly consider if a VPS can satisfy their requirements.

Businesses need to carefully identify and understand the objectives they are trying to address when implementing new servers. Without this information they cannot hope to make the right decision between these three options. After deciding on a VPS and determining they need third-party support for this endeavor, they should take an in-depth look and compare the solutions offered by several vendors before making their final choice. A reputable cloud provider with experience managing VPS environments is an essential part of obtaining the full value of virtual private servers.

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