Before we talk about the pros and cons of using a VPS, lets cover some basic terminology.
In a nutshell, a Virtual Private Server is a partitioned section of a physical server. If you are part of a VPS, it means that you will have your own little environment within a server and you can reboot it at will, make alterations, and see only your little part of it. It mimics a dedicated server in this way, without you actually being on a dedicated server. Because it acts as a dedicated server, this is a good interim solution for sites that may need a dedicated server in the future but are not yet ready for it. VPS hosting is a good bridge between dedicated and shared hosting.
I like analogies, so think of it this way:
- In dedicated hosting, you own your own home. You can do with it as you will and for the most part no one will give you any trouble, as long as whatever you do is contained within the walls of your house. But, it’s your job to secure it, upgrade it, etc.
- VPS is like having a single apartment within a larger apartment building. You can turn your power on and off, decorate and do whatever you’d like, but it also needs to stay within the confines of your apartment walls. You don’t have as much freedom, but you also don’t have the upkeep of owning your own home.
- Shared hosting is like living in a larger apartment with roommates. They share the expenses, someone is almost always home to look after the place, and you can come and go without needing to manage anything at all. But you also can effect your roommates and they, in turn, can effect you. There is only so much you can do in your small room, and nothing at all that effects the entire apartment without getting permission from the rest of your co-habitators.
If that sparkling analogy isn’t enough, here are some pros and cons of the VPS, the middle ground.
- It is less expensive than dedicated hosting. Much like in shared hosting, the VPS houses multiple users onto one server so you can still spread out the cost of the server.
- There is more freedom than in shared hosting. Many programs and add-ons take up a great deal of bandwidth. Though this is still a concern with VPS, it’s much less of one because you are more cut off from your server family than in shared hosting.
- VPS offer a very high level of security, including advanced encryption protocols.
- Growth can be handled easily. You’ll be able to add plans and services that you want while avoiding the ones you don’t need.
- You are the captain of your own ship, but you still have plenty of crew who’ve signed on the help. This just means that you will still get very close to the same amount of support that you got from a shared hosting plan.
- Though a VPS is cheaper than dedicated hosting, it is still more costly than a shared hosting plan. There’s more upkeep on the back-end and those costs are going to get passed down to you.
- Be sure you’re with a trusted ISP. Some ISPs can oversell space, figuring that not everyone will use their maximum allotted bandwidth. However, if a few people on the server operate at their maximums it could create problems with space, which you’ll see as more errors, more lag times and people unable to reach your site altogether.
- This option requires regular maintenance including security patches and system updates. Not as much maintenance as a dedicated server, but your still responsible for a bit more of the software than you were with a shared hosting plan.
As you can see, there is a lot to think about when it comes to a VPS purchase. Do your research and determine whether the VPS is right for you.
Still unsure? Check out A Small Orange’s VPS information page to learn more.
Click here if you’d like to direct your VPS questions with our Live Support Ninjas.