What Is VPS Hosting?

VPS Hosting Introduction
VPS hosting, short for Virtual Private Server hosting, are essentially a bridge between shared hosting and dedicated hosting. They offer a lot of the functions of having a dedicated server without requiring the Webmaster to pay for the full, dedicated service. In general terms, VPS hosting is becoming more and more common and more popular with webmasters.

How A VPS Is Created
A single server is essentially partitioned into several smaller servers giving a number of advantages to both host and Webmaster. This effectively prevents any over allotting of sites to servers on the part of the host and also ensures that webmasters get their complete allotment of disk space and of bandwidth. Another use of VPS hosting, though, is for testing various aspects of a single site. This is called creating a sandbox and ultimately allows the live website to remain in partition A and still running on the Internet while new features can be tested on partition B without effecting the main site itself.

When VPS Hosting Becomes Desirable
The ideal situation for a Webmaster to use VPS hosting is when they are reaching the confines of a shared hosting account but are not yet in a financial position to warrant colocation or dedicated hosting. By choosing a VPS hosting account carefully it is possible to gain access to a much greater amount of disk space and bandwidth than with a shared hosting account. Colocation and dedicated hosting remain expensive and beyond the means of many Webmasters especially those with only a single site or a network of a handful of sites.

An Increase In Security
Security can be a big issue with shared hosting, and is one of the greatest benefits of using a dedicated server. When you share a server with other websites using shared hosting accounts you are put at risk every time other Webmasters download any high-risk scripts. These scripts are known to offer a backdoor entry for hackers and can provide a way for hackers to locate and delete files on the server, regardless of whose website that file belongs to. Because a VPS is effectively partitioned it offers a much greater level of security. There are also generally fewer websites being hosted on a VPS than on a standard server with multiple shared accounts.

Total Remote Access To Your Server
A VPS provides complete access to the root folder of your server. While this gives you much more power over the software applications and scripts that are installed, it also opens up a whole new area of programming and network administration that is much more complex than using a shared hosting account. You become directly responsible for the adding and administering of the server applications and software. In the case of a Linux platform, which is the most common and affordable, this will usually mean complex programming lines. If you don’t already know how to implement and administer server software in this way then it may be best to avoid VPS hosting for now.

Choosing The Right Host
Looking for a VPS host is quite different to looking for a shared host. Instead of concentrating on the features you gain access to you should concentrate on the hardware specifications much more closely. Look at the total amount of RAM, hard drive, and processor speed and then consider what share of this will be solely for your use. Instead of leaving you to install the operating system completely from scratch most VPS hosts will provide a server that includes a disk image according to your requirements. Once your VPS server is set up with this image included, though, you are essentially on your own.

Upgrading Your VPS Host Account
Often it is possible to upgrade a VPS hosting account. In some cases this may just be a case of asking your host to provide you with another VPS account on the same server, but in other cases there may be a much more complex procedure. Find out the procedure before you sign up, never mind before you need it, because some are much simpler than others. In some cases, it may not even be possible to get the upgrade that your website is desperate crying out for.

The Associated Costs
VPS hosting does offer more than shared hosting, and for this reason the cost is also proportionately higher. You should expect to pay anywhere from $20 per month to $100 per month depending on the server specifications and your allotment of that server. Do be careful before you plunge in with any service to make sure that you aren’t just paying more. Make sure you’re receiving more for your money and that upgrades are possible should you need them.

VPS Hosting Conclusion
It is unusual for new websites to require the kind of features that VPS hosting offers but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Over time websites have tendency to evolve, sometimes seemingly out of hand and when this happens it isn’t long before you find that your current hosting plan doesn’t offer enough. If you reach the limits, or the confines, of your current package then you will generally be charged extra or suffer the consequences of not having enough disk space or enough bandwidth. Continually upgrading your shared hosting account will eventually mean you are paying as much as you would be with VPS hosting.

However, VPS hosting involves a much greater amount of interactivity on your behalf. You will need to choose and install any software that you require as well as keep on top on many other aspects of the host. VPS hosting does generally offer more than shared hosting in terms of sever allocation but it also requires a lot more.