VPS, or Virtual Private Server, means hosting of different entities for various customers, but all in one server. It enables the service provider to make a partition of a single server into many virtual servers. The customers would then share the server as a whole, which includes both the connection and the hardware. They would actually enjoy the same benefits as they would get in case of dedicated hosting like a file system and a private operating system, which gives them the freedom of safe access. So this kind of a configuration means a combination of a dedicated and a shared hosting. In all, an enhanced performance with privacy will accrue to the company at a much lower cost than it would have to pay for dedicated hosting.
Customers would get certain controlling features as well, like the administrative tasks of changing the configuration of the server, installation of software, rebooting the server, etc. This kind of an account is good for those customers who invariably need safety and accessibility more than anything else. So you may very well opt for VPS hosting if you want to switch over from a shared hosting to a dedicated one, without having the need to increase the costs for the purpose. Some service providers offer this service for a cheap cost of $10 a month, so investing in a VPS hosting environment is a very good idea for many online business owners. Given that the operating system and the file system are unique for every customer, the users can get a good portion of the server when you talk about CPU, network and the disk input and output.
If you are planning to resell the hosting, you will have a greater degree of control on those services which you can offer, so it would give you a competitive edge over the competitors. For those web developers who are planning to develop a social networking site or a blog full of functions, VPS hosting would be the idle choice to go for. Even for those webmasters who find it comfortable managing a shared hosting and wish to upgrade their technical know-how on server management, but do not wish to expose themselves to a dedicated server in totality, VPS hosting is a good option. The webmasters would be enabled to install some custom applications or even change modules for their servers. Besides, they would enjoy full security over all the websites under their management, because every single VPS environment is run by a unique software for its hosting, since they have their unique resources as well, intrusion possibilities are widely reduced.
VPS hosting bridges the gaps between the initial and the entry level web hosting plans and the co-location. While the former offers specified services like PHP/MySQL, etc., with limited disk space on a shared server, the latter lets you fully own and control the hardware, and just rent an internet connection and a rack space from the data center. A VPS would be the best option for you if you want to have a shared hosting plan, but your finances don’t permit you to opt for a co-location web hosting plan.
A dedicated web hosting plan is another alternative which you can consider, and it is pretty less costly than co-locating. It is also becoming very competitively priced as compared to other web hosting plans. Though it certainly costs more than a VPS web hosting plan, a dedicated plan can be reasonably affordable to you as well. As the name implies, a dedicated host gives a dedicated server to you. It actually means renting the server from the host company, and not renting the rack space for the server, as is the case in co-location.
Some of the advantages of a VPS web hosting plan are listed below:
o It provides you with a root access which enables you to install and even configure any program that you wish to
o Many websites can be hosted through the virtual hosts provided by Apache
o You get many other services as well, like an FTP server, a mail server, and any server that you may need
o These servers can be used for storing files, as backup, or as anything as it might suit you
Certain disadvantages accrue to the VPS web hosting plans as well, which are mentioned below:
o As a VPS web host allows you to fully control the server, you become primarily responsible for anything that you do. Installation, security, maintenance… you become responsible for all your actions. So if you don’t have enough expertise on looking after a Linux Server, this may pose a big problem.
o A VPS web host server gives you the whole operating system to work with, but you need to share the hardware resources like RAM, CPU, etc. with other users of the VPS on the same host. So if your business demands high performance or the usage of programs which involve the RAM to a huge extent, it would be better to go for co-location or a dedicated server.
The manner in which it works:
A combination of many technologies makes running a VPS possible. Some of them are the Virtual PC by Microsoft, the User Mode Linux by Open Source, and XEN, the latest one. XEN is actually getting rave reviews from the media. There is also a possibility of it being combined with the forthcoming Linux distribution. Web developers will only benefit from it, since it will give them more freedom at a very cheap cost.
You may ask what you will get if you use a VPS account. Firstly, you will get the access to core areas of your server. As said earlier, if you are good at working on a Linux server, you can have full access and control over everything that you wish to do. But since it gives you the liberty of unlimited control, you will be liable for anything that you do. So if you are not comfortable with Linux, VPS is not meant for you.
However, this does not mean that you will have to build the whole operating system from the beginning. Almost all the VPS plans have many disk images to make a selection from, and they have various distributions in the default configurations. You just need to specify the disk image that you need, and the configuration will be done on the VPS in a couple of minutes. On setting up an account, you will be assigned the root access via SSH, where you can perform any activity that you want to.
VPS prices start from a monthly amount of $20 on the lower side, to up to $100 on the higher side. However, don’t take price as an indication of quality. If you are not fully aware of how the VPS web host functions, you can start off with the lower end which gives you 64MB RAM and a 2GB disk space. You can expand your base from there on. You can go for the higher price band if you have great ideas but little budget to commence with your business.