VPS stands for Virtual Private Server, also known as a Virtual Dedicated Server (VDS) and is a virtual machine as opposed to a physical dedicated server. A virtual server is just like a normal server is used to host websites, but several ‘virtual’ servers can be hosted on the same physical server. It appears to the user as a dedicated server but is actually installed on a computer serving multiple Web sites. A single physical server can host several VPSs, each one with its own operating system (OS) that runs the hosting software for a particular user.
A VPS runs its own copy of an operating system, and customers have admin user access to that operating system instance, so they can install and use any software that runs on that operating system.
Advantages of using a VPS
A VPS is a popular alternative to hosting for small and mid sized businesses. There are several reasons for choosing a VPS as opposed to a Dedicated Server.
1) Low Cost
A VPS will cost less than a Dedicated Server whilst at the same time giving you more power and control. As there is zero manual intervention required from the hosting company the costs are lower. Also a VPS is a more efficient use of the Datacenter’s space and power resources. These are all important cost factors.
Need more RAM or CPU? Or maybe you need more hard disk space. Or maybe you want to downgrade. It’s easy with a VPS – you can upgrade on the spot and there’s no need for downtime.
With a Dedicated Server there may be manual intervention required for changes or upgrades. This isn’t the case with a VPS where you can make changes instantly yourself.
You have the freedom to choose the operating system and software you want to install on the server. So, you have your own instances of all server applications such as Apache, PHP, and MySQL. If you need to customize your services, you can make changes to suit the server as required.
5) Dedicated Resources
On a VPS Server, you have dedicated amounts of RAM, CPU and Disk available to you at any time. Unlike shared hosting, there is no one else on your server that can utilize all the resources whenever you need.
6) Faster Provisioning
Need your VPS quickly? No need to wait around for hardware to be set up in the rack. You can spin a VPS up with your choice of Operating System in minutes rather than hours.
7) More Resilience
With a Dedicated Server if you want to build in resilience for key components such as the power supply or use a RAID configuration like RAID10 to reduce the risk of data loss associated with hard drive failure then you will require a larger server such as a 2U server. This increases the up front cost of the server plus the ongoing cost becaue a) it takes up more rackspace and also it uses much more electricity than a VPS which pools its resources.
With a VPS resilience can be baked in from the beginning if the VPS are set up in a Cloud formation where data is stored ‘virtually’ across several physical servers thus offering high availability options whereby a catastrophic server failure will not result in any downtime or data loss.