By choosing to create and run a website you’ll need web hosting unless you have the capital to accommodate a dedicated web server.
Web hosting service providers, think Bluehost, HostGator, and GoDaddy, for example, provide space on a web server, typically owned (or leased) by the web host for use by clients, for a price.
In plain language, a web server is a powerful computer that stores your website’s data and files. When someone types a domain name into their web browser, the server’s role is to serve the website to the searcher’s screen.
Virtual Private Server
A VPS, or Virtual Private Server, is essentially a server within a server.
Imagine an apartment block containing 50 units.
The apartment block can be compared to a dedicated server and a single unit within the apartment complex as a VPS.
An entire apartment block is expensive, as is a dedicated server. A VPS, like a single unit in an apartment complex, is a fraction of the cost.
Buying or renting an apartment affords access to the services of the apartment complex. Similarly, using a VPS provides access to the services of a dedicated server.
To increase our knowhow, familiarising ourselves with the core elements of web hosting is essential.
The most basic form of web hosting is known as shared hosting.
A shared server can be compared to a rental, sharing the same apartment with a number of roommates. Simply put, with a shared hosting environment, you share space on the same server with other websites.
In a shared hosting plan, you share the key resources of the server, such as CPU and RAM. Think of this as entry-level hosting. It’s low cost and effective but restricted due to a low level of customisation.
Shared hosting is best for basic websites, such as start-up blogs.
Dedicated Server Hosting:
The other side of the spectrum sits dedicated server hosting.
Rather than pooling resources and sharing the costs like a shared hosting plan, a dedicated server provides a single customer an entire server to themselves. Like owning an apartment block, it offers a high degree of customisation – you have 100% control over resources and can modify software to meet individual needs.
This is ideal for websites with a large amount of daily traffic.
VPS hosting is a hybrid approach, balancing the advantages of shared hosting and dedicated hosting. A VPS hosting service is considered the next step up from shared hosting. As underlined above, a VPS can be compared to renting/buying an apartment.
With a VPS, a physical server hosts multiple virtual servers, or ‘virtual machines’, accomplished through software called a hypervisor. Each VPS operates independently from one another. VPS users, therefore, have access to the power of dedicated hosting, providing a cost-effective approach for web professionals and businesses.
VPS plans typically come in two main configurations:
- Single Server VPS
- Cloud VPS
A single server VPS hosting plan, as its name implies, is a number of VPS hosted on one physical server. A cloud VPS, however, is hosted across several physical servers that make up a local cloud.
A single server is a lower cost option as only one physical server is required to host multiple VPS. The cloud VPS configuration is pooled together to form a hardware cloud. Each server stores a copy of your website. This means in the unlikely event a server malfunction, the VPS will continue working as the data is stored on other servers – essentially offering no downtime.
Advantages of a VPS Hosting Option
- A VPS server offers a lower cost of entry than a dedicated server.
- A VPS offers a step-up for website owners currently using a shared hosting provider.
- Users gain root access to the server with a VPS, a service unavailable with shared hosting. This allows freedom to install applications and make alterations without going through the hosting company.
- Each VPS runs its own operating system: Linux or Windows.
- VPS flexibility – upgrade your server resources, such as RAM, CPU, bandwidth, and disk space.
- Fast migrations are possible with VPS, particularly in a cloud VPS formation.
- A VPS service is a hybrid approach, one that balances the advantages of shared hosting and dedicated hosting.
Maybe you’re an e-commerce retailer and your website needs extra power and performance to handle additional traffic. Or maybe you’re on a budget and want to scale your web hosting solution without investing in an expensive dedicated server.
In this case, a VPS hosting package could be an option worth exploring.
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