Home Business Insights & Advice Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of VPS hosting

Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of VPS hosting

by John Saunders
11th Mar 20 11:35 am

One of the more popular types of web hosting services in recent years would have to be Virtual Private Servers (VPS). It is very different from shared hosting or dedicated servers, and fits into a unique niche of its own.

If you aren’t sure whether or not VPS hosting is the right choice for your website, it would help to know exactly what it is – and the advantages as well as disadvantages that it brings to the table.

“What is VPS Hosting?”

VPS hosting is essentially a virtualized server that mimics a dedicated server. It consists of a single physical server that is partitioned into several virtual servers, each of which has its own operating system, storage space, bandwidth, and system resources.

For all intents and purposes VPS hosting acts as a dedicated server. The main difference between them is that it is actually a shared server behind the scenes, and the resources are split.

Advantages of VPS Hosting

The unique nature of VPS hosting provides it with several advantages compared to other types of web hosting services. Some of the main benefits of using VPS hosting include:

Root access

Unlike shared hosting, VPS hosting provides the user with root access – which in turn will let you install scripts and custom software. That is something that isn’t possible on normal shared web hosts, and will provide you with much more flexibility.

With root access it is possible to fully control the processes on the server and start, stop, or restart them. It will also enable you to monitor CPU usage and control the access levels of different users.

Customisable plans

Most VPS plans can be heavily customized so that you only pay based on the resources that you need. In other words you can tailor-make the VPS hosting depending on the amount of bandwidth (using a bandwidth calculator) and disk space that you project your website will require.

Scalable

In general VPS hosting can be scaled up or down quite easily. It is possible to start off with a plan that has minimal resources, and then slowly purchase more resources or upgrade the plan as necessary.

Cost-effective

Overall VPS hosting is a very cost-effective option that sits in-between shared web hosts and dedicated servers. It provides similar features and advantages to a dedicated server, but is much cheaper.

On the flipside, the capabilities of VPS hosting far exceed shared web hosts – but are not prohibitively expensive.

Better security

Compared to shared web hosts, VPS hosting tends to have much better security. In part that is because there is less risk of malware infection or malicious code, and in part because it is possible to control the level of access that users have to various privileges.

Based on these advantages it should be easy to see why VPS hosting is so appealing. All in all it is the perfect fit if you want the performance and security of a dedicated server, without paying the same price.

Disadvantages of VPS Hosting

Although VPS hosting has numerous advantages, it does have drawbacks too. Some of the main disadvantages of VPS hosting include:

Difficult configuration and administration

Unlike shared hosting that is mostly ‘plug and play’, VPS hosting is more difficult to set up. Many of its software and services need to be manually configured, which can be daunting for beginners.

Some VPS hosting services are ‘managed’, in which case the workload is lessened but the cost is higher. On the other hand ‘unmanaged’ VPS hosting services are cheaper but need to be more carefully administrated.

Over-selling

In theory VPS hosting should provide you with the full amount of resources promised by the package that you choose. Unfortunately in practice that sometimes isn’t the case, and some providers over-sell their VPS hosting on the assumption that the resources won’t be utilized to their peak capacity.

To avoid this disadvantage, it is important to choose a provider that is reliable and has a good reputation.

As long as you know what you’re getting into, the disadvantages listed above shouldn’t affect you all that much. That being said you do need to be aware of them, otherwise you may end up with some unwanted surprises after you start using VPS hosting.

Final words

At the end of the day VPS hosting is definitely attractive and has a lot to offer. It is definitely more flexible than shared web hosts, and will provide you with more options and control.

In the long run if you expect that your website is going to be popular, starting off with a VPS is definitely a good idea. From there you can slowly scale it up as required, before eventually deciding whether or not you want to make the leap to a dedicated server or not.

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