In VPS hosting, every website is hosted on a virtual private server on a more powerful hardware.

A physical machine is divided into several virtual compartments, and server software is set up on them separately, making each unit capable of functioning independently. Thus, though other websites may be hosted on the same physical system, yours would be the only website(s) hosted in the virtual compartment allocated to you, and other websites on the machine won’t affect the performance of yours. That would mean you get exactly the same system resources you pay for.

CLOUD SERVER VS VPS VS DEDICATED SERVER COMPARISON

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How much to spend on VPS hosting: Averagely $20 – $60/mo; additional costs for those who need extra server customization or special software.

VPS hosting providers we like: InMotion Hosting, A2 Hosting, and Interserver.

To learn more about VPS hosting (how it works, how to choose, pros vs cons, etc), please read our latest VPS Hosting Guide here.

Like virtual reality, Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting feels almost like having your own little world. VPS is similar to shared hosting in that multiple websites share the resources present on a single physical server. However, the difference between dedicated and VPS hosting are the restrictions placed on who can use the resources.

The web host uses a hypervisor, or software designed to create individual virtual machines on the server. This strict separation protects you from your neighbors, though all of you are still accessing a “shared” pool of resources (remember, though, that the server is likely to be more powerful and less “populated” than one used for shared hosting).

Furthermore, the resource allocation is divided evenly, and one website cannot take advantage of another’s resources (and vice versa). Think of it like owning a condo. Everyone can decorate their home to their own satisfaction — but they can’t knock down walls and take over their neighbor’s living room.

Cloud servers can be configured to provide levels of performance, security and control similar to those of a dedicated server. But instead of being hosted on physical hardware that’s solely used by you, they reside in a shared “virtualized” environment that’s managed by your cloud hosting provider. You benefit from the economies of scale of sharing hardware with other customers. And, you only pay for the exact amount of server space used. Cloud servers also allow you to scale resources up or down, depending on demand, so that you're not paying for idle infrastructure costs when demand is low.

With cloud servers, you can optimize IT performance without the huge costs associated with purchasing and managing fully dedicated infrastructure. Businesses with variable demands and workloads often find that cloud servers are an ideal fit.

Before plunging into the deep end with cloud server comparison, let’s take a look at how each of the server types operates.
Dedicated servers offer close to metal implementation with little overhead, and they’ve been traditionally the go-to-solution for high performance demanding tasks. As the name implies, each server is dedicated privately to one client. VPS clients get a share of a physical server for a number of hardware resources they’ve paid for, and multiple clients often share one physical host machine. From the client’s perspective a VPS barely differs from a dedicated server with a comparable low to mid-range configuration, but thanks to the virtualization layer, the service provider can maintain a uniform range of host hardware while offering multiple different virtual server configurations, which then, in turn, translates to a wider range of server options and lower prices than with dedicated servers.

For example, if the server has 8 GB of RAM, your VPS might get 1 GB of that 8 GB of RAM. The important thing, though, is that you never need to share that 1 GB of RAM with anyone else – it’s 100% yours.

A VPS hosts the information of many clients on a single physical machine. But unlike shared hosting, it uses a hypervisor to separate tenants.

The VPS is known as a Virtual Private Server as all clients on the server appear as if they were on a separate dedicated machine. The VPS simulates this environment, cutting down on resources and cost.

Virtual private servers differ from shared servers through software and their availability of resources. However, the structure of both is physically similar.

VPS hosting is considered superior in that it offers significantly more resources (memory, computing power, running CPU, or graphics-intensive software or modules) than shared server hosting. A VPS server also provides a guarantee for resources that a client may use, while shared hosting does not.

Hosting a server on a virtual machine is often the cheaper solution when comparing VPS vs. Dedicated.

To divide these resources, a VPS hosting provider uses something called a hypervisor to create virtual machines for each customer on that server. It’s not really important to understand the technology – you just need to know that each account on the VPS is completely isolated from the other accounts.

Let’s look at housing as an analogy. A VPS is kind of like a condominium building. If you own a condo in a building, that condo is 100% yours. Your neighbors can’t just commandeer your living room because they’re throwing a big house party (that’s how shared hosting works!).

However, you also don’t own the entire building – you’re still just one condo of many.

Dedicated hosting is like having your own house, complete with a big yard and extensive driveway. This provides plenty of parking for your friends and little chance that you or your neighbor’s party will get out of control affecting one another adversely.

As your party grows in size, it’s better accommodated and tolerated the further up the hosting tier you go. The party in the analogy is your site traffic.

The larger your traffic and number of visitors, the further up the tier you will need to go in order to accommodate the demands of your traffic.

Consider these questions as you pinpoint your business’s shared hosting vs. dedicated hosting needs:

  • Will your clients’ sites have heavy or highly variable traffic?
  • Do you need to minimize downtime or guarantee high availability?
  • Do you want control over your server and its performance?

Shared hosting is the most basic, entry-level type of hosting. With shared hosting, a single physical server hosts anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand customers. Shared servers offer inexpensive pricing by distributing hardware / operational costs among its many clients. Sites on a shared server draw from a communal allotment of server resources (i.e. RAM, processing, data storage) to serve incoming requests.

Site performance is not guaranteed with Shared Hosting due to the number of websites drawing on the same pool of system resources. When other customers experience increased traffic or heavy load, your site has the potential of being negatively impacted. Simply put, shared hosting is like living with roommates. While splitting expenses with other renters is cost effective, you will find yourself in direct competition with them for resources like hot water or open space.

A dedicated server is a server that’s literally dedicated to your own personal use. You’ll have rights to all of the resources of the machine, and you’ll be able to configure the hosting environment however you wish.

Dedicated hosts are usually only worthwhile if you’re receiving over 500,000 visitors per month and have the necessary technical staff to maintain and optimize your server.

There is no right and wrong when it comes to hosting. Instead, it simply depends upon what’s the best choice for your website. We all have different needs. So make sure you take stock of what kind of hosting support you’ll need before you choose a web host.

However, since dedicated servers are almost always more expensive it’s generally a good idea to start with a VPS until your company is generating enough revenue to support the cost of a dedicated server.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF A VPS?

The operating system which ran on this computer was referred to as CP/CMS. CP stands for Control Program and was used to create virtual machines which in turn ran the CMS (i.e. Console Monitor System). Although nowadays CMS stands for a completely different thing, back in the 60s it meant a small, single-user operating system designed to be interactive.

This is now considered as an important milestone not only for Virtualization technology but also for computers in general as it helped shape the operating systems which we use today. Previous to CP-40 and CP-67, IBM’s focus was on systems that had no user interaction.

The computer would be fed the program and once calculations took place, the output was printed either on a screen or paper. The interactive operating system introduced by IBM’s new computers allowed the user to actually interact with the programs while they are running.

Essentially, hosting services can be compared by how the servers are set up and the type of access people (aka customers like you) have to them.

You can think of VPS Hosting as the hybrid approach, balancing the advantages of Shared Hosting with that of Dedicated Server Hosting.

Shared Hosting is more or less the “entry-level” of hosting, giving you and other customers access to one physical server. In essence, you’re sharing the key resources of that same server, things like CPU, RAM, disk space, etc. And although the cost is quite low, Shared Hosting is also low on customization given you have limited administrative access.

Dedicated Server Hosting, however, is on the opposite end of the hosting spectrum. Here, one single customer gets an entire server to themselves (ahem, no sharing in sight). Although there’s a higher degree of self-management and power, it also comes at a higher cost. Another potential drawback of Dedicated Servers is that they can only run on one Operating System (OS).

Although upgraded over time, my server is nearing three years old. It houses five HDDs, and a bunch of fans to keep it cool. The noise isn’t too bad, however it drives up my apartment temperature noticeably in summer.

At the time of purchase, VPS was simply too expensive for personal use. Plus the management tools just weren’t what they are today. I don’t need scalability (multi-server) for my purposes, and in many ways having a VPS (especially the cheaper options) would have provided less flexibility over what my own server could offer.

Of course, that was then, and things have changed. Amazon now offers a micro instance with 613MB of RAM at no cost for a year (for new customers only), and $0.02 per hour (~$14.60/month) thereafter. If you’re not eligible for Amazon’s free VPS, RackSpace has an even lower barrier to entry at $0.015 per hour (~$10.95/month), albeit with only 256Mb of RAM.

Until the arrival of virtualization for x86 platforms and cloud computing, small businesses had to invest hard earned dollars to buy their own servers as part of their business. Having servers in-house also meant the need to have an IT expert on-premise. At the same time, it’s been proven that most servers are purchased to perform a specific task or run a specific application.

This application specialization inadvertently results in the underutilization of a server. According to Dave Cappuccio, chief of research for the Infrastructure teams with Gartner, server utilization, especially in x86 environments, is often at the low end of the performance range, averaging between seven and 15 percent in many organizations today.

When you consider that these small businesses have limited access to resources any investments in technology would be limited to the basics. A virtual private server is one that is partitioned so that it has its own operating system, disc space, and bandwidth. What, exactly, does this mean? A physical server that resides in a data center is used for VPS hosting. That server is then divided into various spaces that create its own virtual server. The account holder who is put on the virtual server sees only their virtual environment and can reboot their server or use it as if it was their own dedicated server.

The space acts just like a dedicated server but it is in actuality a part of one physical server. Because it acts as a dedicated server this is a good interim solution for sites that may need a dedicated server in the future but are not yet ready for it. VPS hosting is a good bridge between shared hosting and dedicated hosting.

Perhaps one of the most common VPS use is web hosting. While most people use shared hosting, some companies find that they have outgrown the limitations of this hosting model. They need more resources, but not to the point of needing their very own dedicated server. The middle ground between shared hosting and dedicated hosting is a VPS.

Since a VPS offers more resources, you will find that they are ideal for hosting high-traffic websites. These days, many people, especially mobile users, need a page that loads in three seconds or less. In fact, according to Google, 53% of people browsing on mobile devices will abandon a website if it takes more than three seconds to load.

IS 4GB RAM ENOUGH FOR SERVER?

The fine folks over at JetGlobal wrote a great article on figuring out how much server RAM you’ll need. They note there is a difference in the minimum requirements to suggested requirements and the importance of looking at your software stack all together to determine the correct RAM for your operation.

Number of Users: If you have over 15 concurrent users, consider adding 1-2 GB of RAM to every 5 additional users.

Size of Database(s): The most important consideration due to its direct impact on processing needed to populate a data warehouse, if the database is 50 GB or under then 16 GB of RAM is sufficient.

Execution Packages: The more RAM your server is equipped with, the faster it will complete execution packages.

Rate of Growth: Ensure to account for the rate your database is growing per year, and take that into account when choosing RAM.

1GB – This is the recommended plan for basic small vanilla servers. The best choice for a small group of friends or family.

2GB – A fantastic plan if you are also planning to add some base plugins or mods and increase your player base on your server.

3GB – Use this plan if you are planning to install medium-sized modpacks or plugin packs. This is suggested for up to 25 mods or plugins.

4GB – This plan includes most modpacks. For modpacks up to 35-40 mods or plugins, this is the best choice for you.

5-12GB – These plans are able to support over 40 mods or plugins. Above 6gb of ram includes all one-click install modpacks we offer. These are suggested if you are planning to start a big community. The bigger it is, the more RAM you should get.

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