Are you an eCommerce platform looking to expand your online marketplace? Are you after more control over your web server and a better overall performance? Or are you just looking for an upgrade to your shared web hosting service?
If this sounds like you, you could benefit from VPS hosting.
VPS hosting is a form of web hosting where physical servers are separated into virtual private server (VPS) spaces to improve control, uptime, and bandwidth. It's typically an affordable and cost-effective approach to enhancing your online presence, and is suitable for a wide variety of businesses due to the flexibility of many VPS plans.
In this article, we'll explore all there is to know about VPS hosting. We'll cover the fundamentals of virtual private servers and how they work, as well as the benefits and downsides to this system. We'll also examine how VPS compares to other forms of web hosting and run through some top VPS hosting providers.
Table of Contents:
How Does VPS Hosting Work? ⚙️
So, what is VPS hosting? VPS hosting essentially combines aspects of shared and dedicated hosting to create an affordable yet comprehensive hosting solution. If you're not familiar with either shared hosting or dedicated hosting, you'll discover more about them further down this article.
In short, though, shared hosting provides a single server that hosts multiple websites, whereas dedicated hosting offers each website their own dedicated server space. VPS hosting separates a single physical server into multiple virtual servers that different websites can use. Each virtual server space is independent from the others, meaning that any website traffic — even on the same physical server — doesn't affect the other sites.
These virtual spaces will be created by your web hosting provider, who essentially install a virtual layer on top of the operating system of the server. Within this virtual layer, different websites can install their own software and even change the entire operating system, should they desire. As such, you'll have significantly more control over your web hosting operations than with other types of hosting.
Each VPS hosting service is different, since the system is extremely flexible. Your VPS hosting provider may have different plans than its competitors, offering you varying levels of control over your web hosting. The best VPS hosting providers provide you with the choice of managed VPS hosting, where the technical aspects are taken care of for you, or unmanaged VPS hosting, which is a little more complicated but grants you full control over the configurations.
What is a Virtual Private Server (VPS)?
In VPS hosting, each website will have their own virtual private server. Instead of relying on a physical server space, each real-life machine is divided into several virtual spaces that are then allocated to different websites. Each site and business can operate entirely separate through this server, hence the name virtual private server.
A VPS is essentially a virtual machine that is sold or rented by a web hosting provider. There are a number of quality web hosting providers in the UK, but their packages will likely vary slightly, especially in regard to managed and unmanaged hosting. Make sure to pick one that meets all your individual needs.
Benefits of VPS Hosting ✔️
Having your own dedicated server on a shared physical machine can bring a wealth of benefits. VPS hosting essentially combines the best of shared and dedicated hosting into one service, establishing an affordable yet sophisticated solution. Read on to discover more information about the advantages of VPS hosting.
Enjoy More Control Over Your Server
VPS hosting is the favourite choice of software engineers, developers, and programmers because it allows the user much more control over the server's configurations. Server management can be done by the provider, but unmanaged VPS hosting provides root access to the server for you to configure as you see fit. This way, you can change the operating system, coding language, database tools, and many other aspects to create a website of your own design.
Affordable and Cost-Effective Hosting
VPS hosting isn't the cheapest solution — that crown belongs to shared hosting — but it is certainly affordable and particularly cost-effective for growing businesses. Shared hosting is often too basic and limited for companies looking to expand, whereas the flexibility and scalability of VPS plans provide the means to drive growth and revenue. VPS is a much cheaper alternative to expensive dedicated hosting packages, with many of the same benefits.
VPS Hosting is Secure
Privacy is everything these days. With spikes in cybercrime and constant cybersecurity breaches, it's vital that you protect your online business. VPS hosting is a more private and secure web hosting service, since your files and databases are hidden from other users on the same server. The virtual partitions created by your hosting company turn a less private shared hosting environment into a more secure space for your website.
Some people confuse VPS hosting with VPNs (virtual private networks). In fact, VPN services are tools that hide your location when you surf the internet. This makes your browsing more secure from a consumer point of view when you visit websites. VPS hosting, on the other hand, adds security to your website from a business point of view.
Get Your Own Virtual Dedicated Server
Having your own virtual private server is a big reason why many companies choose VPS over shared hosting. Of course, dedicated hosting can provide this, but at a much more expensive cost. With VPS hosting, shared physical servers are split into several virtual servers so that multiple users can enjoy their own private spaces.
As such, your website isn't affected by traffic spikes at other sites on the same physical server. You can operate independently, despite the fact that you share a physical server, and keep the cost of hosting your website down.
Become Better-Equipped for Traffic Spikes
If you expect routine spikes in traffic on your website, such as during a particular season or event, VPS servers can help you out. You can change your configurations to accommodate peak times and use multiple virtual servers to handle an influx of site visitors. Ticket-selling websites or seasonal product sellers can benefit most from VPS hosting.
Disadvantages of VPS Hosting ✖️
While it's an excellent hosting solution, VPS isn't perfect. It's ideal for many companies, but there are some cases where it may be more appropriate to purchase a different kind of hosting plan. We've outlined below some downsides to VPS hosting and while there aren't many, it's important to consider the significance of each one to you when making a final decision.
Setup Requires Technical Knowledge
Because VPN gives you the freedom to configure your own server, you also need the technical expertise required to be able to do this. If you're a developer or your company employs IT professionals, you shouldn't have too much of a problem with this. However, if you're a small business with a minimal budget for IT, you will find VPS hosting more hassle than it's worth.
That said, there is a way round this dilemma. Managed VPS hosting plans can take care of the configurations and setup for you and provide technical support for malfunctions, crashes, and general queries. If you'd rather leave the technical stuff to someone else, find a flexible hosting package that offers technical assistance with the setup process.
More Expensive Than Shared Hosting
While VPS hosting is affordable for many companies and cheap in comparison to dedicated hosting, it's still not the best value for money out there. Shared hosting services are generally the cheapest due to the basic power and overall performance they provide. So, if you're really strapped for cash and can only afford the most basic hosting plan, VPS may not be right for you.
Who Should Use VPS Hosting? ➡️
So, what type of business does VPS hosting suit the most? Pretty much anyone can benefit from VPS hosting, provided their needs are met. Companies that are too big or too small in their online operations may not find VPS hosting worthwhile, since the benefits won't be as pronounced. That said, smaller start-ups looking for rapid growth may find value in VPS hosting.
Below, we've created a list of the different types of businesses who could benefit from VPS hosting. You'll find information on what size companies VPS is best for, the industries that can benefit most, and what functions and services VPS hosting is most appropriate for.
- Medium and large-sized businesses: Since VPS hosting is typically considered the next step in upgrading your online presence, it's not recommended for small websites and companies just beginning to grow their digital existence — although there are exceptions to this. Medium and large-scale businesses can benefit from enhanced performance, better security, and more reliable uptime for their websites.
- Steadily or rapidly growing companies: Businesses with a significant amount of forecasted growth should view VPS hosting as a worthwhile upgrade. Most VPS plans are flexible and can adapt as your business grows and your outreach improves. If you need a web hosting service that can handle high volumes of traffic and scale up with your business, VPS hosting is a valuable choice.
- ECommerce sites: The best eCommerce platforms bring huge amounts of traffic to their sites every day. Their web hosting solution must be able to handle vast volumes of online visitors, maintain fast loading times, and sustain excellent uptime. VPS hosting provides extra power to cope with heavy traffic, keeping your platform up and running even as you grow your business.
- Game developers: Coders, developers, and software engineers can stand to benefit massively from VPS hosting. This is because unmanaged VPS hosting plans give you complete control over your virtual server's configurations and operating system, so you can run the programs you need. While it doesn't offer control over the entire physical server, your own virtual dedicated server can be altered to provide an environment where you can test, develop, and run the code you want.
- Software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers: In a similar vein, SaaS companies who provide a technical service online can benefit from the control the VPS hosting provides. Your company can configure the virtual private server to suit your requirements, adding or removing software where necessary.
- Businesses on a budget: VPS hosting is one of the more affordable web hosting options. Cheap hosting plans aren't necessarily hard to come by, but cost-effective packages that meet all your individual requirements are rarer. The flexibility of many VPS providers' plans mean your company can find comprehensive services without breaking the bank.
How Does VPS Hosting Compare to Other Types of Hosting? 🔎️
VPS is not the only type of hosting out there. In fact, there are several ways you can publish your website online. From WordPress hosting to cloud hosting, different companies choose different ways to create and expand their digital presence. Below, we'll examine how VPS hosting compares to two key hosting types: shared and dedicated.
VPS Hosting vs Shared Hosting
Shared hosting services involve multiple users sharing one server. A web host rents out a physical machine to several companies, each one taking up space on the server for their websites. As a result, you will not have root access to the server's configurations, cannot change the scope of your server space, and can be affected by other sites' traffic.
VPS hosting is essentially an upgraded version of shared hosting. The initial concept is the same — with multiple users sharing one physical server — but the web host then creates virtual private servers for each company. As such, VPS hosting is more secure, more private, and more powerful than shared hosting. Because of this, however, it's also a little more expensive.
VPS Hosting vs Dedicated Hosting
VPS and dedicated hosting share some similarities. Both provide private server spaces and both offer a good degree of control over your server's configurations. But where VPS hosting only provides you with a virtual space to call your own, dedicated hosting gives you an entire physical server to use.
The best dedicated hosting plans are often the most expensive, because they include the most powerful services. Compared to VPS plans, dedicated servers have more storage, more security, better speed, and total control over your own physical server. If you need to run multiple large websites and have substantial revenue, dedicated hosting is ideal.
Best VPS Hosting Providers 🔝️
There are plenty of excellent hosting providers in the UK market, many of which offer comprehensive packages at incredible prices. Since web hosting plans are often flexible, you can find deals that include extras like website builder software and cheap VPNs.
Below are some of the current top-ranked VPS hosting providers. Click on each name to read our extensive review of the company and find out if they're right for you.
- Hostinger: The best overall VPS hosting provider. Easy to use and highly affordable.
- SiteGround: A little on the expensive side but provides fully managed VPS hosting.
- BlueHost: Incredible deals on bandwidth, storage capacity, and uptime make BlueHost a very popular VPS choice.
- A2 Hosting: With reliable speed and performance, A2 Hosting provides great VPS. It's also one of the best options in terms of security.
- HostGator: Its innovative cloud-based hosting technology offers unmatched VPS solutions.
- GoDaddy: A well-known and reliable provider, GoDaddy has served thousands of satisfied customers over the years.
Choosing the Right VPS Hosting Provider
With so many choices for VPS hosting, how do you pick the right one for you? Well, it's important to keep a few things in mind:
- Budget: How much are you willing to spend on your web hosting plan? How much budget do you have available? VPS providers vary greatly in terms of price, so be sure to pick one that doesn't get you into financial trouble.
- Company size: If you're a large-scale company that operates internationally, you'll want to choose a provider that can offer you servers that can be accessed across the world. Conversely, if you're a smaller business, there's no point paying for powerful servers if you don't have the scale to properly utilise them.
- Future growth: Are you planning to scale up in the next year or two? Most VPS packages will include some degree of flexibility, but always make sure that your plan has the capacity to adapt and grow with your business.
Final Thoughts: VPS Hosting in a Nutshell 💡️
So, that's about all there is to VPS hosting. As we've seen, it combines the affordability of shared hosting with the privacy and control of dedicated hosting. It's essentially the best of both worlds, so it's no wonder why VPS hosting is a popular choice for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
Whether you're looking for more control over your server, greater flexibility in your plans, or just a cheaper alternative to dedicated hosting, VPS packages can massively benefit your business. A VPS plan could be the helping hand you need to thrive in the digital world.
VPS Hosting FAQs 🗯️
If you've still got some gaps in your knowledge regarding VPS hosting, we've compiled a few frequently asked questions to answer your queries. They should provide you with the fundamentals of VPS hosting and solidify your newfound expertise on the subject.
What is a VPS Server Used for?
A VPS, or virtual private server, is your own space on a shared physical server that you can use for personal and private operations. In other words, one physical machine is divided into virtual servers which are then sold or rented to companies for private use. With VPS hosting, high traffic on one website doesn't affect the others on the same physical server.
Do I Really Need VPS Hosting?
While web hosting itself is essential for getting your site visible and accessible online, VPS hosting isn't necessary. There are other types of hosting you can choose, but VPS hosting is best for medium-sized companies looking to scale up their operations and improve their website's performance.
What is the Difference Between Normal Hosting and VPS Hosting?
Normal shared hosting mainly differs from VPS hosting in privacy, control, and cost. With shared hosting, users share a physical server and the traffic on their sites affect the others. VPS hosting adds virtual partitions to the physical server to create private servers that give users more privacy and control over their configurations.