VPS stands for Virtual Private Server and refers to a private, emulated dedicated hosting environment created through virtualization on a host (a computer or other device connected to other computers or devices via a network), server (called the “parent server”), or cluster of servers. It acts like a physical server but, in reality, it’s a piece of software that’s emulating dedicated hardware.
When choosing a VPS operating system, there are managed and unmanaged hosting plan options as well as "bare-metal" vs. shared-kernel hypervisor distinctions to consider. Many users upgrading websites from shared hosting plans for better VPS website performance (or more system resources to support web traffic) will look for a managed Linux plan with CentOS and cPanel that will provide the same ease of use in web server settings & domain name administration.
Of course, one of the most important factors in selecting a VPS is the cost attached to it. VPS providers will charge more for managed hosting and for using high end resources. Hence, you need to select a VPS which will not only operate effectively, but will also not cause a sizeable hole in your wallet.
“After having shared hosting plans with other providers for many years, I switched all of my sites to Liquid Web a few months ago for my first VPS experience. It's been smooth, fast, and easy to use. At one point I suddenly ran out of disk space, and within minutes I was able to use their system to upgrade my plan and move my site to a larger partition.” – David K.
Similarly, in a real dedicated server, you will pay for the entire server that is not shared with anyone else. You will get complete control over all services. Unfortunately, it is also the most expensive hosting option and needs some technical expertise to manage. It is commonly used by those who have websites with specific scenarios, most commonly extremely high traffic and tight security requirements.
To sum up, a Windows server is more friendly to beginners but is less flexible and more expensive. A Linux server is cheaper and offers more freedom though it requires special skills and does not have a developed support system. Still, the most important question you need to ask yourself is whether your main goal requires Windows or Linux. If you need a Linux server for your needs but do not have required skills to manage it, you can sign up for a managed VPS.
Website owners with misconfigured CMS scripts or out of date security versions of code risk MySQL injections particularly that can lead to the theft of an entire database. VPS admin login panels, cPanel logins, FTP connection routes, and email servers running on Apache are all common attack vectors for script bots which are programmed to target common URL structures on domains.
Unmanaged hosting requires that you ask your IT team members (or, often, a single IT person) to do the work of a skilled, full-time hosting team while also performing their other duties. And, unless you want to open up the risk of downtime, they’ll have to perform those duties 24/7/365. As you can imagine, the results are typically not as good and companies often end up paying more in the long run due to security breaches and downtime when they choose to go with unmanaged hosting.
Do you remember those times when you were living on a college campus with very noisy roommates? Or maybe they were super quiet and you enjoyed every day? The point is, it was a gamble - you never knew whom you ended up with. This is pretty much the same as having shared hosting account - you haven’t the faintest idea who is your roommate on a server. The analogy may sound funny but if someone on a shared server becomes a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack target or get blocked for mass mailing, other accounts on the server will be affected as well. Also, if a shared account abuses server resources, the whole server will be impacted. Using a VPS is like owning a house with a 9 foot privacy fence. You won’t be bothered no matter what your neighbors are doing.
So that’s it, then – a VPS is for everything in between, right? Well, yes…and no. A VPS (Virtual Private Server) is a flexible solution that falls in between shared and dedicated hosting, not only in price but also in the way it functions. Like a dedicated server, a site hosted on a VPS gets its own RAM and disk space; however, like a shared server, it uses the same processing capacity (CPU) as a certain number of other sites. So, while your site’s performance isn’t reliant on shared RAM and disk space, it is dependent on a shared processor. Moreover, the distribution of processor share varies from provider to provider. The table below shows how most hosting companies break down the differences between shared, VPS, and dedicated hosting plans: