Virtual Private Hosting

Virtual private hosting is a web hosting solution designed to bridge the gap that exists between shared hosting and dedicated server hosting. In terms of price, it falls in between these two products. To understand how virtual private hosting works, it's first important to grasp the concept of hardware virtualization.

With virtualization, using products like Vmware or Microsoft Hyper-V, multiple servers exist solely as software on a single server. The virtualization "host" manages a series of files, called "guests," that each function as a separate networked server. From the outside, these essentially "simulated servers" are functionally indistinguishable from real physical server computers. As far as people and other computers are concerned, these guests are real servers. Virtualization is a great way that companies all over the world save a lot of money on hardware costs, electing to replace multiple physical servers with just a handful of powerful servers that can manage a virtualization environment.

What is the difference between Virtual Private Hosting, Shared Hosting, and Dedicated Hosting?

Web hosting companies typically offer three basic levels of hosting. At the low end of this scale is shared hosting. In a shared hosting environment, one server runs a web server application like Internet Information Services or Apache. With this application, the server hosts multiple web sites for various clients. These clients' sites all use the same server resources, storage and bandwidth. On the high end of the hosting spectrum, these hosting companies offer dedicated server hosting. With dedicated hosting, a single physical server is allocated to one client only. This is a very expensive proposition. The middle ground between shared and dedicated hosting is virtual private server hosting. In a VPS hosting environment, a virtual server is dedicated to the client's use. Since a virtual server functions in the same manner as a physical server and is "seen" on a network the same way, VPS hosting is a great way to get all the benefits of dedicated server hosting without the high costs associated with renting a single physical server devoted to one client.

What are the benefits of virtual private hosting?

The key benefit of virtual private server hosting is that it offers the stability and reliability of a dedicated server without the high costs associated with renting a dedicated server from a hosting company. These benefits include:

  • Dedicated resources: Each virtual server has memory, bandwidth, drive space and processor resources dedicated to it and it alone. This is quite different from shared hosting, where all sites on a given web server share and compete for resources.
  • Increased stability: The more web sites a server hosts, the higher the likelihood of crashes. One malfunctioning site, for example, could crash Internet Information Services, bringing down all sites hosted on that server. Sites living on a virtual server are less likely to experience downtime due to other sites causing server issues, freezes and reboots.
  • Better performance: Since all resources are dedicated to the owner and not to other sites, the site will perform better, resulting in a better experience for site visitors.
  • More flexible: It's your server and you can do whatever you want to it. Need a different version of the operating system or web server platform? Want to wipe the operating system and start over? Need to reboot in the middle of the night? It's your call.

Why should I use virtual private hosting?

Virtual private hosting is more expensive than shared hosting and it may require more management and technical expertise, so it's not for everyone. Small businesses without high site demands or technical staff, for example, wouldn't see much benefit from this solution. Here are some reasons why you would choose VPS over shared hosting:

  • Mid-sized businesses: You're too big for shared hosting but not so big you need a dedicated physical server.
  • Uptime: Your site can't have the service interruptions that might be caused by other sites competing for shared server resources.
  • Bandwidth: Your company's site has increased bandwidth needs, including streaming audio and video.
  • Budget: You want dedicated server benefits but not those dedicated server prices.

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