What is a VPS (Virtual Private Server)?

What is a VPS (Virtual Private Server)

What is VPS and what it is used for ?

VPS means Virtual Private Server and indicates a very common type of server, proposed by numerous providers among the classic IaaS solutions (Infrastructure as a Service). With Virtual Private Server we mean a virtual machine (VM, in English “virtual machine”), which is based on the resources of a physical server and provides users with different functionalities, comparable to those of a dedicated server. For this reason we also speak of Virtual Dedicated Server (VDS).

Commercial hosting or Business Hosting offers usually provide a physical server on which multiple VPS are hosted, each of which has its own operating system (OS) and offers full root access. Thus each server administrator can work independently, while taking advantage of a hardware base in common with other users. The hardware is managed through a hypervisor , a software component which determines the virtualization of the environment and which assigns to each VPS a part of the physical resources such as CPU, RAM or space on the hard disk. The root permissions allow the user of a VPS to install all the applications supported by the chosen operating system, such as a web server, a mail server or other specific applications for e-commerce or blogs. 

What advantages and disadvantages does a VPS offer?

A VPS represents a middle ground between cheaper shared hosting and a dedicated server, usually more expensive. The idea behind this type of server is to be able to offer users the widest possible range of functions at reasonable prices. Virtualizing individual systems on a common host entails less costs for the provider than providing separate hardware components for each customer. Independence of individual systems is also achieved through encapsulation . Each VPS, based on the same hardware, acts independently of the others and in parallel with the other installed systems.

The share of hardware resources, which is made available by a hypervisor for each VPS, is generally predetermined. Each user is even guaranteed a minimum performance for his server. This does not mean that the real performance of a VPS , in the event of inactivity of some of the systems managed in parallel, may be above the guaranteed values, since the hypervisor moves the unused resources to the other systems.

Each VPS has its own operating system , therefore configuration errors or infections by malware affect only the operating system involved; the other VPS that share the hardware base are not affected by this type of threat. However, since every user of a VPS is guaranteed root access, the administration of a similar server is more expensive than a shared hosting solution, where the basic configurations and the updating process are managed by the provider of reference.

The disadvantages of a VPS compared to a dedicated server are the limitations imposed on the use of hardware, but also those relating to network resources. All virtual servers on a host are managed by a predefined number of network cards and LAN connections, which generally does not coincide with the number of VPS made available.

A type of hosting technically similar to that of VPS is Cloud hosting , the price of which varies depending on the actual use.

Who is a VPS recommended for?

The VPS is aimed at experienced users who are looking for a customized hosting base for their online project, but who do not have the necessary budget to choose a dedicated server. The wide range of features offered makes VPS management advisable only if there is sufficient knowledge on server administration .

Small corporate sites, blogs or information sites that cater to a specific group of visitors, can be easily managed with shared hosting, while virtual servers are suitable mainly for more complex sites such as highly frequented communities, medium-large online stores o company pages, where even in the event of peak attendance, performance is guaranteed by a solid hardware base. Furthermore, through access to the console, the VPS allows you to install software not contained in the typical shared hosting packages, such as Ruby on Rails, Node.js, NoSQL or Windows databases.

Thanks to fixed monthly costs and good scalability, VPS is the ideal solution for medium-sized companies. In general, you can easily upgrade virtual servers: if you find you need more performance for your project, you can switch to another rate and choose the one that best suits your new needs. Contrary to what happens on dedicated servers, an upgrade of a virtual server does not require any data migration, since additional resources can be easily unlocked through the hypervisor.

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