Is VPS Hosting Right for Me?
A Virtual Private Server (VPS) is a simulation of hardware by a host operating system that allows another operating system to run on it.
Each virtual server is isolated from the others (or “Private”), and access to hardware resources (RAM, CPU, Disk Space, Network throughput) is managed by the “host” server. So, for instance, a server may have 2GB RAM, 100GB of disk space, and 2 x 2GHz processors, with 10 VPSes on it. Depending on the VPS software that’s used on the host machine, each VPS can either share hardware resources, or have guaranteed access to 200MB RAM, a disk space limit of 10GB, and an effective CPU of 400Mhz. Now, this is a slight oversimplification, but it gives you an idea of a potential VPS scenario.
Most VPS plans are hosted on either Linux or FreeBSD, but we do also provide Windows VPSes.
Is VPS Hosting Right for Me?
VPS hosting plans fill the gap between entry level Web hosting plans that offer specific services (such as PHP/MySQL, or Perl/CGI) with a limited amount of disk space on a shared server, and co-location, where you own and manage the hardware and simply rent “rack space” and an Internet connection from a data center. If you’re outgrowing a shared hosting plan, but aren’t ready for the financial commitment of co-location, a VPS hosting plan could be the ideal middle ground.
Another option to consider is dedicated (or managed) hosting, which is typically cheaper than co-locating, and is becoming more reasonably priced relative to other hosting options. While it’s likely to be more expensive than a VPS plan, dedicated hosting may still be a much more affordable option than you think. As the name suggests, this gives you a dedicated server: essentially, you “rent” the server from us, rather than renting rack space for your own server, as you would for a co-located server.
VPS hosting plans offer the following key advantages:
- root access gives you the ability to install and configure any programs you want. Want to run PHP with PostgreSQL instead of MySQL? Go ahead: install it.
- You can host an unlimited number of Websites through Apache’s Virtual Hosts.
- You can host other services, such as a mail server, an FTP server, or any type of server you want.
- You can use the server for backup, file storage, or anything you need.
However, VPS hosting plans have the following disadvantages:
- Since you’re in control of the server, you are also responsible for all installation, maintenance, security and updates. If you are inexperienced with administering a Linux Server, and are not willing to learn as you go, this may be a big drawback.
- While a VPS hosting plan gives you an entire operating system of your own to work with, you still share hardware resources (CPU, RAM, etc.) with other VPSes on the same host server. Therefore, if performance is key, or you’re running RAM-intensive programs, you may be better off with our dedicated servers.
How Does it Work?
A number of virtualization technologies make Virtual Private Servers possible: there are commercial companies, such as VMWare, and Microsoft’s own Virtual PC, Open Source offerings such as User Mode Linux, QEMU, and more recently XEN. This is a hot topic in the Linux world at the moment, with XEN, in particular, receiving a lot of press and support. There’s even the possibility that it may be bundled with upcoming distributions of Linux. This can only be a good thing for Web developers, as the more widespread the use of Virtualization and VPS is in Web hosting, the more freedom it will provide at a lower cost.
Getting to the Root
So what do you get with a VPS account? Well, the one thing you do get is root access to your server. As mentioned above, if you’re comfortable with administering a Linux server remotely, this is, of course, a great thing. It means you have complete control, can install any programs you want, and do anything you choose. However, it also places the responsibility for configuration and implementation in your hands. If you’re not comfortable with this, we can provide Managed VPS Plans, contact sales for more information.
Does that mean you need to install the entire operating system from scratch? Probably not. Our VPS plans have a number of “disk images” to choose from, with different distributions (such as Debian or Fedora Core) in default configurations. You simply specify which disk image you want, and it will be configured on your VPS in a matter of minutes. Once you are set up with an account, you are then given root access via ssh, and can log in and customize your server, install new software, remove unwanted software and update existing software as needed.