Before we move on to VPS, let’s talk about shared hosting. Most site owners get started with a shared hosting plan. As a business or website grows it demands extra functions and more resources. Site owners look to upgrade to a more suitable hosting plan. VPS is the next logical hosting to look to when making the transition from shared hosting, but what is shared hosting exactly?
Back to our housing analogy. We likened shared hosting to living in an apartment complex where the same location and resources are shared among the residents. With shared hosting, several residents (websites) share the resources of one building (a single physical server). This type of hosting is really affordable. Skilled professionals manage the shared hosting environment, a control panel is available for customers to manage their site. The main issue with this style of hosting is the available bandwidth and room that’s included. It’s more than enough for most new websites, but eventually websites will need something that scales as they grow. Another significant drawback to shared hosting is that this environment can’t handle traffic spikes very well.
VPS hosting answers the problems of scalability and limited resources. This style of hosting is like owning a condo within a building that has fewer residents. A VPS is divided into numerous virtual cubicles within a server, and every account will get quantities of these allocated sources (a fraction of the server’s CPU, disk space, memory, and bandwidth for example) plus full root access. You still share the server (building) with other people, but you now have more control over your space, using it as you see fit.
For example, when you own a condo, you may install a new door or a hang artwork on the walls without much trouble. If you want to knock through a wall or add a new bathroom, you are within your rights to do that. Unlike apartment living (shared hosting), with VPS, you may make fundamental changes to the virtual machine such as changing the operating system.
VPS is a more powerful set up than shared hosting. The neat thing about VPS is that it emulates a dedicated hosting environment but with allocated system resources divided between individual sites. The next alternative is the most expensive option; a dedicated server where all of a server’s resources are dedicated to a single user (owning a home).