If you've ever taken a tour of a modern data center, you probably gained a new appreciation for the behind the scenes operation of the World Wide Web. Very few people have ever set foot in a data center, however, so let me paint a picture of one of these "server farms." From the outside, the building is nondescript, even bland, resembling a warehouse or generic commercial building. Step inside, however, and it becomes clear that this is no warehouse. The sound of thousands of cooling fans whirring away is all you'll hear. You'll notice large bundles of high speed data cable flowing along overhead tracks that connect the servers to the outside Internet. Finally you see the servers themselves, thousands of them mounted in row after row of server racks, each one taller than your head.
There are thousands of facilities like this all over the world. Their existence is a result of the massive demand for web hosting services. If you're looking for a hosting plan, the thousands of data centers currently in operation translate to a lot of choices for you. These days, hosting plans run the gamut from dirt-cheap entry level plans all the way up to thousands-of-dollars-a-month plans used by the power players of the Internet. Most webmasters fall somewhere in the middle, and the vast majority choose VPS hosting for its low cost and impressive feature list.
Both of the primary benefits of VPS hosting (low price and fully featured plans), stem from the way VPS allocate the resources of a web server. To understand this, let's take a look at how a hosting company creates a VPS plan. VPS stands for virtual private server, and VPS hosting involves providing one of these virtual servers to each hosting customer. To create a virtual server, a physical web server is split up into many virtual machines through a process called virtualization. Virtualization is accomplished with software you may have heard of, like VMWare or Citrix XenServer, which employ a software layer called a hypervisor that separates the virtual servers from the physical equipment.
The results of this highly technical process are virtual machines that behave like functionally independent servers, even though many of them share the resources of one physical server. This configuration has several important benefits for webmasters. First is the cost. Since the expenses of maintaining the physical server is shared by many customers, the cost per account is very low. At the same time however, the user experience with a VPS plan is nearly indistinguishable from that of a dedicated server. Each virtual server runs its own operating system and software. Each one can be tweaked and customized without affecting other webmasters who are sharing the physical server. In addition, the 'private' in virtual private server underscores the added security and privacy of these virtual machines over traditional shared hosting plans.
Unless you plan on building a huge, complicated website with serious storage and bandwidth requirements, a dedicated server plan is overkill, and likely cost-prohibitive. On the other hand, the savings of a traditional shared plan over VPS are so minimal that the law of diminishing returns must be considered, in other words, what features and flexibility would you be giving up to save a few dollars a month? VPS hosting is a terrific middle ground, offering many of the features of a dedicated plan at a fraction of the cost. It's easy to see why VPS has become the number one flavor of hosting plan on the market today. So check out our VPS hosting plans, you can select the amount of storage and bandwidth your site will require, and end up with a plan tailored specifically to you!