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First, let’s find out what VPS stands for — virtual private server.

In layman’s terms, a server is a powerful computer that stores all of the data and files that create your website. When someone types your domain name into their web browser, that powerful computer “serves up” your website to the searcher’s screen.

Now for the virtual aspect: VPS uses virtualization technology to split that one powerful server we just talked about into multiple virtual servers. It’s like you have one piece of physical hardware that functions like several different servers.

The word private means just what it implies. Your virtual server is reserved for you, so you won’t have to share RAM, CPU, or any data with other users.

How Does VPS Work?

VPS Hosting creates the experience of a dedicated server even though you’re still sharing the physical server with other users.

Your web hosting provider installs a virtual layer on top of the operating system (OS) of the server using virtualization technology. Separating the server into individual compartments with virtual walls, this layer gives each user the ability to install their own OS and software.

Because a VPS separates your files from other users’ on the OS level, it truly is a private server. This means your website runs within a secure container with guaranteed server resources, such as memory, disk space, CPU cores, etc. You don’t have to share any of it with others.

How VPS Compares with Shared Hosting & Dedicated Hosting

To truly understand how VPS works, it’s important to get familiar with some of the basics of web hosting, including other common plans. Here’s a brief explanation of the differences between shared, dedicated, and VPS hosting.

1 - Shared Hosting

As one of the most common forms of web hosting, shared hosting works well for many new website owners. When you get a shared hosting plan, you’re sharing key resources like CPU, RAM, and hard drive space with other website owners using that same server.

Let’s use an example to make understanding this concept a little easier.

Think of a shared server as a large apartment complex, and all of the individual apartments are rented by other website owners. You all need a place to live — just like your website’s files — but going out to buy a huge family home would be too expensive for your needs. Sharing common areas and utilities in an apartment block helps keep costs down. And the same is true for shared hosting.

There are a few downsides to shared hosting, however, because of the fact you’re sharing. For instance, if someone you share a server with has a huge spike in traffic, it could affect your website’s performance. However, if you’re just getting your website off the ground and don’t have huge traffic volume, shared hosting is a great way to start your online presence!

Looking for an entry-level plan? Check out our affordable shared hosting packages.

2 - Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated hosting is the opposite of shared hosting. Rather than gathering resources and sharing them and the costs with other website owners, you have one dedicated server that is reserved for your website only.

The only downside of this hosting option is that it’s more expensive. However, you do get complete control over your resources and can even customize the software so that it meets your individual needs and requirements. This type of hosting package is best for websites with hefty technical demands. For instance, you could benefit from dedicated hosting if:

  • Your website is getting large amounts of traffic each day.
  • You need your own operating system installed.
  • You are handling a large number of financial transactions.
  • Your website requires custom software.

3 - VPS Hosting

VPS hosting sits in the middle of shared and dedicated. When you choose VPS, there will be other websites hosted on the same hardware as yours, on that powerful server we talked about earlier.

However, your website is the only domain allocated to your particular virtual compartment. And that means you get your own operating system, dedicated storage, powerful CPU, scalable RAM, and unlimited bandwidth.

With a VPS, you are getting many of the benefits of a dedicated server, and for an affordable price. In short, VPS hosting is your way to get more bang for your buck.

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