If you're familiar with the world of the best web hosting providers, you'll definitely have heard of two of the main types: shared and dedicated server hosting.
However, there’s a third option suited to businesses who need more power than a shared hosting plan offers, but don’t need their own dedicated server: VPS web hosting, or virtual private server hosting.
VPS web hosting: What is it?
A VPS is essentially like a mini dedicated server. It involves a specified amount of server resources being isolated from a physical server and dedicated to you, and you alone. It’s possible to host numerous VPSs on one single bare metal or dedicated server, which can be scaled up or down as required. This means you'll only ever have to pay for the resources you’re actually using.
All VPS web hosting can be split into managed and unmanaged hosting categories. Fully managed VPS hosting includes maintenance, management, and updates from IT professionals. Common management actions include initial configuration, security updates, and data backups.
Meanwhile, self-managed VPS doesn’t come with management support. You will be responsible for everything, which takes a high level of technical experience. Of course, the benefit of self-managed hosting is that it’s extremely configurable, which means you can customize it according to your exact needs.
Although you will share your hardware with other VPS users, you will have your own operating system and full control over the configuration of your server. The isolated nature of VPS web hosting makes it a good opinion for medium to large-sized websites with moderate traffic numbers.
VPS hosting vs other hosting types
In short, VPS web hosting was developed to bridge the large gap between low-end shared hosting and high-end dedicated servers. It’s a great option for small to medium businesses because of its low complexity, speed, and affordability.
Although shared hosting is much cheaper, it’s also slow, inflexible, and will struggle to handle traffic spikes during peak times. VPS is so much better here because of its scalability, which means you can add more resources where required.
In general, VPS web hosting is also much cheaper than dedicated servers, offering increased flexibility and much better scalability. This is largely due to the fact that most VPS hosts let you move from one plan to another fast and efficiently according to your site’s resource demands.
VPS web hosting vs cloud VPS vs SSD VPS
In the past, VPS servers generally used hard disk drive (HDD) storage. But this is changing, with hosts like VPS.net switching to solid state drive (SSD) storage for improved reliability and performance.
Because of their ability to deal with a large number of input/output operations, SSD storage is better suited to large user numbers. Meanwhile, many of the best cloud hosting providers offer VPS cloud hosting, which uses multiple interlinked servers, improving redundancy. However, this tends to make cloud VPS hosting more expensive.
Those using traditional or SSD VPS web hosting are vulnerable to hardware failures because they are reliant on one machine. Using cloud hosting improves reliability by removing this vulnerability altogether—if one server from the cloud cluster goes down, resources will simply be drawn from another one.
In general, you should look for a high SLA for cloud VPS web hosting. In some cases, a 1,000% SLA is available.
Do you really want a VPS?
Those who choose VPS web hosting generally choose it because of its flexibility and resource availability. For ecommerce stores, this flexibility is a must, as it allows you to cope with traffic spikes and increased pressure caused by payment processing and other sensitive actions.
Note that you don’t have to start with a VPS. Instead, consider beginning with shared hosting and upgrading when your site outgrows your plan. This will ensure your site is configured for optimal performance without costing you a small fortune like dedicated hosting would.
Further reading on web hosting and website builders
When it comes to hosting, being informed is beneficial to site success. Learn how your web hosting impacts security, and how to avoid common hosting mistakes. Read up on web hosting security, domain privacy, and how hosting can affect SEO.
On the site creation side of things, after choosing one of the best website builders, learn about AMP and mobile friendly design; how to make your website accessible; and what cookies are and what SEO is, in order to be fully prepared.