What Is a Virtual Private Server?
First, let’s define what VPS actually stands for — virtual private server.
In layman’s terms, a server is a powerful computer that stores all of the data and files that make up your website. When someone types your domain name into their web browser, that powerful computer “serves up” your website to the searcher’s screen.
Now for the virtual aspect: VPS uses virtualization technology to split that one powerful server we just talked about into multiple virtual servers. Think of it this way: it’s one piece of physical hardware that functions like several separate servers.
The word private means just what it implies. Your virtual server is reserved for you, so you won’t have to share RAM, CPU, or any data with other users.
How Does VPS Work?
VPS Hosting simulates the experience of a dedicated server even though you’re still sharing the physical server with other users.
Your web hosting provider installs a virtual layer on top of the operating system (OS) of the server using virtualization technology. Separating the server into individual compartments with virtual walls, this layer allows each user to install their own OS and software.
Because a VPS separates your files from other users on the OS level, it truly is a private server. This means your website lives within a secure container with guaranteed resources — think memory, disk space, CPU cores, etc. You don’t have to share any of it with others.
How VPS Compares with Shared Hosting & Dedicated Hosting
To truly understand how VPS works, it’s important to get familiar with some of the basics of web hosting, including other common plans. Here’s a brief breakdown of the differences between shared, dedicated, and VPS hosting.
1. Shared Hosting
Shared hosting is the most common form of web hosting and works well for many new website owners. When you purchase a shared hosting plan, you’re sharing key resources like CPU, RAM, and hard drive space with other website owners using that same server.
Let’s use an analogy to make understanding this concept a little easier.
Think of a shared server as a large apartment complex, and all of the individual apartments are rented by other website owners. All of you need a place to live — just like your website’s files — but going out to buy a huge family home would be too expensive for your needs. Sharing common areas and utilities in an apartment block helps keep costs down. And the same is true for shared hosting.
There are a few downsides to shared hosting, though, mostly because you’re sharing. For instance, if someone else on your shared server has a huge spike in traffic, that could affect your website’s performance. However, if you’re just getting your website off the ground and don’t have huge traffic volume, shared hosting is a great way to get online!
Looking for an entry-level plan? Check out our affordable shared hosting packages.
2. Dedicated Hosting
Dedicated hosting is the opposite of shared hosting. Rather than pooling resources (and sharing the costs) with other website owners, you have one dedicated server that is reserved for your website only.
Sounds great, right? The catch is that it’s more expensive, but you get 100% control over your resources and can customize the software to meet your individual needs. This type of hosting package is best for websites with robust technical demands. For example, dedicated hosting could be right for you if:
you are getting large amounts of traffic each day.
you need to install your own operating system.
you are handling thousands of financial transactions.
your website requires custom software.
Need a powerful solution? Check out our dedicated hosting plans.
3. VPS Hosting
VPS hosting sits squarely between shared and dedicated. When you choose VPS, there will be other websites hosted on the same hardware as yours (remember that powerful server we talked about earlier?).
But — and it’s a big one — your website is the only domain allocated to your particular virtual compartment. And that means you get your own operating system, dedicated storage, powerful CPU, scalable RAM, and unlimited bandwidth.
With a VPS, you are getting many of the benefits of a dedicated server — for an affordable price. In short, VPS hosting can give you more bang for your buck.
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