What is a VPS?

Your website has grown beyond the limitations of shared hosting - congratulations! Now it's time to find hosting service that better fits your needs. Enter VPS, or a virtual private server. Virtualization still uses a single machine; however, multiple operating systems are installed to that machine to create several virtual servers. The resources of the machine, including the file space, CPU and bandwidth, are divided among the virtualized servers, which are typically not aware of hardware that has been not allocated for them to use. Each of the virtualized servers can use different software, which is not possible with a single shared server solution.

VPS hosting is frequently offered by hosts that also offer dedicated servers or shared hosting. Like shared hosting, VPS hosts offer plans on different operating systems, including virtualized versions of CentOS or Windows Server. Consumers can often customize their plans, to choose the space, bandwidth and CPU power that best fits their need with a virtualized private server, too. VPS hosts often advertise their different plans in terms of CPU speed, available RAM, or memory, disk space and bandwidth. For example, a plan might be described as "512 MB/24 GB/160 GB", which means the VPS has 512-megabytes of memory, your plan allows 24-gigabytes of space and you can use 160-gigabytes of traffic per month. Typically, faster VPS service with more space has a higher price, while users who don't need the fastest machine can pay for plans that may be slightly less powerful.

Why Should I Choose VPS Hosting?

A virtual private server, or VPS, is one type of hosting you might consider when browsing different plans. Shared hosting, in which all of the hosting accounts on the server must share resources such as file space, bandwidth and the power of the CPU, can lead to sluggish load times when other accounts are especially busy. This can be avoided with VPS hosting, where each virtualized server acts as a single machine, and you do not have to share it with other consumers. While VPS machines do not have unlimited resources, each virtual server acts independently from others on the machine, avoiding the sluggishness of shared hosting. Because of this, VPS plans explicitly state space and bandwidth limits, while shared hosting plans may advertise "unlimited" resources.

Of course, having more of a say about what type of hardware is available for your hosting account is beneficial. However, you may also choose whether your VPS is managed or not. If you're comfortable with working with a server, you might be able to save money with an un-managed plan that does not include technical support for software issues. On the other hand, VPS hosting with management is also common, if you're not comfortable modifying settings or software on your virtual private server.

What Are the Price Benefits of VPS Hosting?

A virtual private server bridges the price gap between shared hosting, which can cost as little as $5 per month, and a dedicated server, which can cost hundreds of dollars per month. This makes the VPS ideal for anyone who needs to expand their hosting plan but who doesn't quite need an actual dedicated server. Plans are commonly available between $20 and $50 per month, with hosts sometimes offering free trials or introductory prices. VPS hosting can be especially cost efficient over paying for individual increments of space or bandwidth, if your website is exceeding the limits imposed by a shared hosting plan. Like a cell phone plan, unplanned overages can quickly become astronomical, and having VPS service is both reassuring and practical.