Virtual Private Servers: A Buyer’s Guide

For many, the dedicated (or managed) server is the pit stop for businesses to fully control and administer their mission-critical data. They can control what software they want installed, determine what configuration suit them the most, access to a dedicated connection, and do not have to compete with others for resources. This gives many a piece of mind, either from a performance or security perspective.

However, this may change with the new kid on the block: Virtual Private Servers.

Virtual Private Server, VPS, or Virtual Dedicated Server, VDS, is a simple mix between a shared and dedicated hosting platform. With a VPS, you still technically share hardware resources like processing times, memory i.e. RAM, disk storage, bandwidth and etc with other VPS but with one distinct difference. It is structured in a manner where strict limits are set in which each VPS can access hardware resources. For example, there maybe four VPS running on one system with each permitted to utilize 256MB of the 1GB of RAM (Random Access Memory). Each VPS is a private and protected area that operates as an independent server.

The file system in is hard to distinguish from a real dedicated system since it can run its own operating in a VPS environment. Thus, the environment from an end user point is very subtle.

The biggest selling point of the VPS is the control and freedom given to end-users seen in dedicated hosting but not available to shared hosting users. For instance, software can be installed and configured in a way that satisfies licensing agreements, hardware is still controlled by the web hosting company and is governed by an agreement to replace hardware when broken, full root access to the system so administrators can have access to security logs and audit the system when required, and you will be independent of other VPS users.

When purchasing a VPS solution, it is critical that you look into how the web hosting vendor shares the resources. Some may use commercial software from companies such as Sw-soft, Ensim Corp., and Sphera which are considered to be very reliable as opposed to some in-house solutions. Seek answers to questions like:-

– System process limits;
– CPU guarantees;
– Bandwidth access guarantees;
– And how much memory is guaranteed.

The above issues will determine the performance of your VPS so don’t ever be shy to ask for details if you are uncomfortable or uncertain about any responses they give you. Better to ask now then be sorry later.

Finally, if you do not the abilities or skill sets to manage a dedicated server or have the capital to invest in one, then a VPS is an ideal solution for your dilemma. It will give you more control than you can possibly imagine!