It’s been close to two decades since the idea of web hosting was first conceived.
Over this time period, various types of web hosting solutions have been developed. Some of these include shared or virtual web hosting which by far is the most common, dedicated web hosting and Virtual Private Servers (VPS), which is very ideal and affordable for small enterprises that require unique features like SSH access, customized firewalls, dedicated IP address and other special features set aside for dedicated servers. VPS comes in various specifications and pricing depending on your needs.
Shared or Virtual web hosting solution is the most popular web hosting service in use. Here, you get to share a common server (CPU time, OS, memory bandwidth, Applications etc) of your hosting company. The host manages the server with respect to uptime as well as hardware and software upgrades. As a client, you only have complete control of your website.
The greatest challenge with shared web hosting is that it may not work for you if your web application requires excessive amount of CPU, RAM or other resource or when you need a special software plugins and drivers.
Virtual private servers (VPS) on the other hand avails the characteristics of a dedicated server for numerous web hosting clients in the form of “virtual computers” while you still share resources like RAM and CPU with other clients. The resources are allotted in such a way that it is not possible to tell whether there are other users in the system because as a hosting customer you are allowed to utilize a particular percentage allotted to you. This means that all the resources allocated to you will always be at your disposal.
Dedicated web hosting on the other hand allows you to “rent” the entire computer and have full access to all its resources in order to host your website. This type of web hosting is very attractive to large high-traffic websites, custom development projects that lead to complex web based applications and websites which need high level of uptime and absolute control of the hosting environment.
VPS is much advanced than shared web hosting in that it allows you have one or more servers running within one another while sharing the same hardware. Unlike shared hosting, VPS running on the same machine and hardware is never affected by CPU load and huge traffics. This makes your personal hosting environment autonomous from the other users as your VPS does not have to share the same resources such as CPU, bandwidth, disk space and memory with other users.
VPS provides more enhanced security because you do not have to share TCP/IP stacks, processes and disk space. This enhanced security coupled with improved performance makes VPS a perfect choice for various types of businesses. This is because the unique IP address which you get when using VPS does not affect sites that are hosted on other servers. Thanks to its root access, you are also able to manage numerous software applications on your VPS hosting account.
Through VPS hosting, you are also able to operate everything from customized software and application to database and servers as well as your own OS.
As a user, VPS allows you to have a complete control of your environment. This makes it attractive to users who love the stability of a dedicated server but can not afford a fully dedicated server solution.