Differences Between a Virtual Private Server and a Dedicated Server
Understanding a Virtual Private Server
A virtual private server uses a hypervisor to separate the many clients that are hosted on a single physical machine. It is called a virtual private server because all clients are on one single server but appear as though they are on a separate dedicated machine; the VPS cuts down on cost and resources by simulating this environment.
A VPS is similar to shared hosting, but the software and availability of its resources make it an improvement. Even though they have similar, yet, distinctly different structures, a virtual private server is still considered a step up from shared hosting. The VPS has more resources in terms of computing power, memory, graphics-intensive software, and running CPU.
Read more in our article, “What Is VPS Hosting?”
Understanding a Dedicated Server
A dedicated server is associated with only one client.
The single client on a dedicated server has a full range of access to all the resources on the physical server. This includes all processing power, network access, hard drive storage capacity, and memory. A dedicated server can be used to host applications or services, as well as to store data and backup services. A dedicated server can also be used internally for the hosting and provisioning of specified services like the implementation of a devoted file or network server. A dedicated server gives similar functionality to an in-house server, but it is possessed, operated, and managed by the backend managed service provider. The user/customer exclusively connects with the dedicated server over the Internet to carry out a suite of server-based services.
Read more in our article, “What is Dedicated Server Hosting?“
VPS vs Dedicated Hosting: Which Should Your Business Choose?
Here are the differences between a VPS and a Dedicated Server. Finding out which one is the best for your business is based on some criteria and specifications.
If you run a small to medium-sized business, you have a tight budget. Hence, you may find dedicated server hosting less affordable than VPS hosting. Your growing company will typically have all it needs with a virtual private server.
Even the occasional spike in web traffic is not a solid reason to invest the full scale of your business resources on the most sophisticated servers. Virtual private servers are totally dedicated to serving small and growing businesses.
When you host your business on a virtual private server, you are most likely sharing hosting service with others. As such, you may want to be concerned with what your neighbors are doing. If they become the target of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. This is due to an attack on the server because of the negligence of others on the same server, making you vulnerable.
For startups who believe they are onto a very sensitive project, dedicated servers offer the edge. This is because they are physically located and independent.
Both virtual private servers and dedicated plans are likely to have dedicated IP addresses. Dedicated IP addresses make your website less vulnerable to DDoS attacks and they offer additional benefits such as SSL (security for payment) and email marketing.
When choosing your preference of servers, VPS or dedicated servers, you may want to decide how much control you want to have over the software involved. Although you can make choices in regards to the operating system installed on your server, the two major forms of operating systems are Linux and Windows. Windows hosting is typically more expensive because of higher hosting fees and licensing. Whereas, Linux is open-source and free to use. For you to use Windows, you have to obtain a license from Microsoft.
If you choose to pick Windows over Linux hosting, ensure it is because of these reasons:
- You are using .Net framework
- You don’t like cPanel
- You are using a programming language or database that is not supported by Linux
- You want Remote Desktop access to your server
- You prefer control to pricing.
Managed vs. Unmanaged Options
When choosing between VPS and dedicated hosting, you may want to consider the management options. You have to consider the amount of work required to set up, configure, manage, and maintain your server or web hosting environment.
With an unmanaged dedicated or virtual private server plan, the host gives you access to the server but leaves everything else like support up to you. Here, with an unmanaged server, you are solely responsible for the things related to the server’s software and continued functionality. For fully managed plans, the server hosting provider will be able to assist you with any questions and provide support when the need arises. A managed server hosting provider can be slightly more costly than an unmanaged server hosting provider, but the support included will be a positive force that most likely outweighs the negative cost implications. Newer businesses and individuals that aren’t familiar with regular server functionalities might waste a considerable amount of time and effort in continuously having to hire a third party to manage and fix their server.
In addition to deciding how much of the administrative tasks you want to handle (and are comfortable tackling), you may want to consider your budget.
Do you want to be able to do anything, keep your data, and move to a new system without much ado? If so, then virtual private server hosting is most likely the best option for you. The capability, downtime, and cost implications are generally less when changing between virtual servers in comparison to dedicated servers.
If we look at a now popular app called Burbn, which is now known as Instagram, we can find that they started with only 80 users but quickly had over a million in less than a week. That seems pretty crazy! Had they been making use of Dedicated Servers, it is possible their application would have crashed under the enormous workload. However, making use of virtual servers enabled them to scale up response to traffic automatically.
Providers allow resources apportioned to virtual servers to be increased automatically in response to predetermined set-offs. Furthermore, duplicating virtual servers is as easy as copying server snapshots to a new virtual server. In comparison, scaling up a dedicated server is similar to setting up a new laptop or mobile device wherein work is required to make it like the previous system. If scalability is of significant concern to you, then you should consider opting for a Virtual Private Server as opposed to a Dedicated Server.
Choosing the right server for a business is always a big challenge. Unfortunately, making the wrong choice of server for your business can cost you money, time and opportunities to scale your business up to the next level. Choosing the correct server not only depends on what you want presently, but also on how you would like to grow and see your business in the near future.