VPS hosting is an available option for both shared servers and dedicated servers. With many acronyms describing service offerings and virtual server types, it can be difficult to really know what you are getting when you purchase a service or resource to host your website.
VPS hosting is an excellent platform for personal websites, small-to-medium-sized business websites, or eCommerce marketplaces. To ensure that you make the right decision for your situation, start by diving into what VPS hosting service offers and whether they are a good fit for your needs.
What is VPS Used For?
Beyond hosting a website, VPS servers have a myriad of other uses. Even if you’re currently happy with your existing hosting plan, you might want to check out VPS hosting for the other types of scenarios it provides.
Here are the most common VPS use cases beyond your standard hosting plan:
1. Hosting Your Own Personal Server
There’s a multitude of reasons to run your own server environment, outside of simply hosting your website. A VPS server gives you your own virtual playground for additional online activities.
For example, maybe you want your own dedicated servers for games? For some people, the cost of a dedicated server might be prohibitive, but instead, you could run a VPS server to host smaller game matches or create your own custom game environment.
Not every hosting company will allow you to run a gaming server via VPS, so make sure you read the terms and conditions, or contact support, before you decide to go this route.
2. Testing New Applications
If you regularly deploy web applications or test out custom server setups, you’ll need your own server environment to test these things out. But, an entire dedicated server might be too expensive to warrant simple testing.
In this case, a VPS will fit the bill perfectly. This will give you a playground to do whatever you wish without incurring high monthly costs.
3. Additional File Storage
Sometimes, you want to create another backup of your files, but using cloud storage accounts can become expensive. If you want to create secure and easily accessible backups, then consider using a VPS server. Overall, this might end up being cheaper than a cloud hosting account, depending on the overall volume of the files you need stored.
However, keep in mind that not every hosting provider will allow their VPS accounts to be used for pure file storage, so double check the terms and conditions before you move forward.
What Does the VPS Provide?
VPS is short for virtual private server, sometimes referred to as virtual dedicated server (VDS). As a client of a web hosting service, you are provided access to a virtual server. This means that many virtual servers are likely operating on one physical machine within the hosting service, and you are granted remote access to a piece of the whole.
As the end user, it appears as though you have your own dedicated server. VPS services allow you to install your own security software and configure it with the operating system of your choosing. However, in reality, you have just a portion of the server, which is also being used by many other customers.
What Can Be Run Using VPS Hosting Services?
Because a VPS is analogous to a virtual machine, any software that can run on the VPS’s operating system may be installed. For example, a VPS can be used to support any of the following:
- eCommerce software
- blog hosting
- company website
- file transfer protocol (FTP)
- email server
- data storage
The Benefits of VPS Web Hosting
There are benefits and drawbacks to VPS hosting services. While many customers will not notice any decline in performance over the long haul, some larger websites may experience decreased performance due to the activity of the other users on the same server. For many businesses though, VPS hosting offers up all the benefits they expect at a reasonable cost. The four main benefits of VPS web hosting are as follows:
1. Flexible Resource Allocation
VPS hosting offers dedicated resources for your website; specifically, the amount of RAM, CPU, and disk space you specify are assigned to your VPS. If, however, your website experiences a surge in traffic and requires greater resources than you have specified, you may be able to temporarily borrow resources from another VPS.
The flexibility permitted by the VPS is one of its most useful benefits. VPS hosting often makes use of a hypervisor, which is software that facilitates this sharing of resources. If your site needs more resources to accommodate a large number of visitors and another website on a separate VPS is not using all of its resources, your site can borrow the extra power.
2. Root Access to Customize and Configure the VPS
VPS hosting also gives you root access to configure and make changes to your hosting environment. Root access is not guaranteed with other arrangements, such as a shared hosting plan. If you are particularly tech-savvy or foresee hiring web developers in the future, the root access will allow you to configure your VPS accordingly.
A common alternative to VPS hosting for website owners is dedicated hosting, where you do not share the server with other customers. Dedicated hosting is a popular option because of its root access and improved configuration. VPS hosting, on the other hand, allows you to enjoy the benefits of customization that a dedicated server offers without the large price tag..
As stated earlier, VPS hosting is the middle ground between a shared server without any dedicated resources and a completely dedicated server with optimum performance. Most websites perform adequately with VPS hosting and only require slight increases in performance as the site and traffic grows.
VPS hosting offers scalability so that available resources can grow with you as you need them. This means that if you start out on a shared server, you would then need to invest time in migration to a VPS when required. However, if you start with a VPS, you can migrate slowly without breaking the bank on a dedicated server, which you may not need for quite some time.
4. An Affordable Option
VPS hosting is much more affordable for website owners than purchasing a dedicated server. It can reliably host your website or application, handle surges in traffic, and grow to accommodate your needs over time.
Rather than committing to a dedicated server and spending nearly twice as much (or sometimes more) than a VPS hosting solution, take your time to evaluate your options. VPS hosting offers you a way to get in the game without a prohibitively high cost of entry.
The worst thing that could happen if you end up needing a dedicated server in the future is that you would need to spend some time and money migrating to that upgraded resource. However, you would still have saved money in the beginning with a VPS server and learned which features are appropriate for your application or website.
Look into Your Options Before Investing in VPS Hosting
In addition to reading blogs and doing your online research, call a couple of trusted providers of VPS hosting and ask for their opinion on which type of hosting best suits your current needs. You might be surprised to learn how affordable a monthly VPS hosting plan is for your current needs.
Prepare for your conversation with possible hosting partners by knowing your budget upfront and having key stats ready to help inform your decision. Make sure to check your current (or predicted) site traffic and note any times in the recent past when your site was down or experienced poor performance. You should also know what you want out of your hosting platform, whether it is better reliability, increased performance, or room to grow as your traffic increases.
Do You Need to Use VPS?
VPS hosting is a perfect fit for those who require the resources that a dedicated server can provide, but aren’t quite ready for a dedicated web server.
When it comes to your website, using VPS hosting will offer you higher levels of performance, storage, and scalability if the need arises.
However, you might also think about utilizing a VPS for deploying and testing projects, running your own personal server, or even for additional file storage or website backups.
Whether or not you need to upgrade to a VPS depends on if you’ve currently hit the limits of your existing hosting package, or want to test out a VPS for any of the reasons highlighted above.
Hopefully, you have a better understanding of what a VPS is used for, even beyond the realm of hosting your website. If you’ve currently hit the limits of your shared hosting account, then upgrading to VPS hosting can be a great decision for the future of your website.
Once you have a few conversations under your belt with VPS provides and are armed with a range of features, applications, and pricing, you’ll be well equipped to decide if VPS hosting is the best type of hosting for you.