With a VPS web server, customers host websites on a virtual operating system with administrator-like access. It’s a setup that’s almost identical to dedicated hosting, giving customers a wide range of capabilities that just aren’t available through traditional hosting plans. But VPS hosting may not be the ideal environment for every website for a variety of reasons. Here are some of its key advantages and disadvantages. Be sure to compare them with existing knowledge, skills and goals before committing to this type of hosting plan because VPS hosting is not for the beginner!
Advantages of VPS Hosting
Here are the major benefits of VPS hosting:
1. VPS hosting is much cheaper than dedicated hosting. Dedicated hosting, which hosts only one website on its own machine, typically costs $299.99 a month. VPS hosting, which can hosts many websites on a single machine, can be as low as $29.00 a month (on the cheap end) or as high as $149.99 a month (on the expensive end).
2. Customers can install software and tweak OS settings via admin-like access. Similar to how the ‘Administrator’ role works in Windows, VPS administration gives customers access to Control Panel type options on a Windows VPS, Linux, or CentOS machine. As a result, customers are free to start, stop, or restart processes, add or deny access to specific users and groups of users, and monitor CPU usage and disk space. They’re also free to install any number of applications without having to accommodate restrictions imposed by the hosting company. Customers can essentially install any application that doesn’t modify the server’s kernel.
3. Virtualization provides a higher level of security. Because VPS hosting runs from its own operating system, it provides restricted access to root processes. This prevents things like malware infection from another person’s compromised site. VPS hosting also provides a unique IP address, which removes association with a shared, blacklisted IP address.
4. VPS hosting typically includes costly amenities for free. Customers can expect a nice suite of features at no extra charge, including a free SSL certificate, FTP access, and increased uptime due to 24 hour-a-day network monitoring and security provisions.
Disadvantages of VPS Hosting
The cons of VPS hosting are as follows:
1. Thousands of customers may host sites from a single machine. Although VPS hosting runs from a single (virtual) operating system, companies that provide it will offer many instances of that operating system to as many customers that rent them. The end result is a shared hosting solution that can be strained due to stressed resources and reduced performance. That means limited processor time, limited RAM, and limited disk space.
2. Support costs extra. VPS hosting is often unmanaged, leaving all installation and administration to the customer. That might be fine for those who are experienced with this type of hosting. For those who aren’t experienced with it, professional assistance with technical problems, such as kernel modifications or firewall updates, may be an expensive add-on that tacks on an extra hundred dollars or more every month.
VPS hosting is most appropriate for high-traffic sites or sites that run applications that are too resource-heavy (or simply not allowed) at traditional, lower-end hosting options. It’s also appropriate for administrators who are familiar with the effects of hard-drive partitioning and are able to work with the limitations and opportunities that partitioning presents.