There is a lot of buzz at the moment surrounding VPS hosting. For those of you who are not familiar with VPS, or virtual private server hosting – it is similar to shared hosting in that you are sharing a physical server with other web sites. The big difference is that with a VPS, you are not sharing the operating system with those other sites.
To clarify this. Think of your desktop PC and think of web sites as separate windows running Word for example (this is just to illustrate the idea). Each instance of Word is a separate entity but they are all running on the same instance of windows and are all running on the same machine. There are some security issues with this idea, for example someone elses instance of word might be able to get access to your folder with your files in it.
On a VPS, there is only your instance of word running in your instance of windows. And only you can access your files. From your point of view, the VPS operates exactly as if it was a dedicated server. You have total control over every single bit of the operating system and can install whatever software you wish and make any changes that you would like.
Also – VPS solutions tend to offer better protection against the physical server resources being hogged by one particularly demanding account at the cost of all the other accounts on the server. Instead on VPS systems, the resources are more rigidly shared out meaning that you have a guaranteed minimum level of performance that can not be degraded no matter how hard other VPS’s on the physical server are being used.
This all sounds great, and for many people it is. However there is a big BUT…
The drawback with VPS hosting is in the support. Often these VPS accounts are available very cheaply and when they are working they can work really well. The problem arises when they stop working. You go to the hosting company and ask them why the server has stopped working and they tell you that they do not support the software and its your responsibility to sort it out.
At this point, the average person who just wanted a hosting environment for their web site and is not an experienced systems administrator can come really unstuck because you simply might not be able to fix the problem.
With dedicated server hosting, many hosts offer something called Managed hosting. This is where you not only get the machine but you also get a full support service and ongoing management to keep the machine up to date with the latest patches and security updates and also get the machine up and running again should there be any problems. If you can afford this kind of service then I highly recommend going for it, but it is significantly more expensive than VPS hosting.
So to conclude, if you do not regard yourself as an experienced systems administrator then I would highly recommend you double check the level of support offered with the VPS before you sign up for it. For UK based readers, I would especially recommend avoiding web fusion VPS servers.
If you need any help finding a suitable hosting solution for your online business – get in touch today.