Whether you’re setting up a website up for the first time or are looking to find a cost-effective alternative to your current plan, there are many VPS hosting options out there. With tons of companies offering different plans, it can be hard to tell what the benefits of using a virtual private server are. Are you getting a good bang for your buck, and is it something that will be able to help your site scale long term? Odds are yes, VPS hosting is probably exactly what you’re looking for.
To really understand the benefits of using a virtual private server, we need to know what VPS hosting is and how it differs from other hosting options. There are a number of options you can choose for how to host your website, and each has its own pros and cons.
The first (and most common) option for website hosting is shared hosting. Shared hosting is where a group of websites all share one server that meets their collective needs. As an individual user, you pay just a small portion of the cost it takes to run the server. Yet despite paying a small fee you get all the benefit of a fully operational server without the burden.
Think of shared hosting like an apartment complex. Sure, you don’t own the building, but you don’t want to (or can’t afford to). It’s better to just pay a fee and have all the home-ownership duties taken care of for you. The downside of shared hosting is that you lack personalization and you run the risk of becoming overshadowed. By this I mean if another website on the same server starts to take off and get a lot of foot traffic it may result in a slower experience on your site. So, while it’s definitely the cheapest option, it comes with some cautionary warnings.
On the other end of things is dedicated hosting. Dedicated hosting is when one user/company sets up a server specifically for their needs. No-one else gets to use this server so all the resources are yours to customize/expand as you see fit. But of course, with this increased benefit comes a higher bill. Dedicated hosting is homeownership. You get the control and benefit, but you also have to take care of the leaky pipes and pay for any future work.
The third option and focus of this post is VPS Hosting. VPS hosting falls somewhere in the middle of the two aforementioned options. You don’t have to pay for a full dedicated server, but you also get many of the benefits it offers. There’s another service known as cloud hosting, but this is essentially just VPS hosting with a fancy rebranded name. With VPS/cloud hosting, the server you work on is private (available to only you) and you can customize it with whatever software and services you see fit. It’s typically more expensive than shared hosting, but the payoff is almost always worth it. Let’s explore why.
How VPS Lets You do More with Less?
Virtual Private Servers are very aptly named. They’re servers set up for you to use without granting sharing access to anyone else, and they’re set up in a virtual environment. What does that really mean? Well many virtual servers can be set up to run sharing just one piece of hardware. That piece of hardware is responsible for setting up and running each server individually, and each server has no awareness of the other’s existence. This hardware is known as the host machine or root server, and it’s what your payments go towards physically purchasing.
The host machine is able to create multiple virtual systems that act independently thanks to a hypervisor. This is a piece of hardware or software that can help separate a computer’s OS from the hardware. The hypervisor can then allocate resources from the host machine and provide each VPS with the proper amount that the user has paid for. This bypasses the previous issue of being overshadowed – if another VPS on the same host machine gets a lot of foot traffic it doesn’t impact your VPS. You get exactly what you pay for.
In addition to not having to worry about sharing resources with other sites, another benefit of using a virtual private server is that you can customize it. Just like with dedicated servers if you want to scale things out and increase your CPU, ram, etc. that’s possible. If you want to install custom software that’s possible. If you want to get in the weeds of modifying your server configuration that’s possible. Your server is yours, at least if you want it to be. If you would rather have the majority of logistics taken care of for you there are also managed service plans available. These can be great if you’d rather direct the majority of your attention towards your site (which is why you’re probably reading this in the first place).
Along with personalization and scalability, security can’t be understated. VPS hosting is much more secure than shared hosting. And if your site is engaging in activities like accepting payments from users you’ll need to make sure you’re PCI compliant. PCI compliance is a set of standards you must adhere to when dealing with user payments to make sure their data is protected, and VPS hosting is a great way to meet these standards.
And in a similar realm is reliability. The last thing you want to see when you go to your site is…something that is not your site. Uptime means growth opportunity for your site, and if the site goes down that could be costly in terms of lost potential. Shared hosting plans can behave like a stack of dominoes (if one user goes they all go down), but VPS hosting significantly increases reliability and stability for your site. And if it hasn’t been mentioned yet, VPS hosting is cost-effective. Do your wallet a favor and avoid a dedicated hosting plan if VPS is able to meet the same needs your site has.
There are a number of hosting options you can choose between to get your site up and running. If you weigh the pros and cons, VPS offers an affordable middle-ground option that offers you lots of control while mitigating risk. It also makes scaling out your website simple, something that could be crucial for when your site inevitably starts taking off.
Also Read: VPS vs Shared Hosting: The Key Differences