Businesses are faced with several decisions when considering how to host a new website or web-based application. The choices a company makes can have a dramatic effect on its ability to compete with market rivals and obtain the most value from its computing environment. In this article, we will be looking at the benefits a business can achieve by using a virtual private server (VPS) solution for its web hosting needs.
Each option is appropriate under certain circumstances but exhibits substantial differences that may influence which one best addresses a company’s business objectives. Following is an overview of the choices available when putting up a server instance for web hosting.
In a shared server implementation, a company’s website is hosted on a server with many other client websites. This is the least expensive way to go and is often the first choice when companies need to host a website. In a shared server environment, security, software upgrades, and server maintenance are handled by the service provider. Shared servers are meant to be easy to use and more appealing to new customers with less demanding requirements.
Some issues can quickly grow to be extremely problematic in a shared hosting environment. It’s possible for performance to be very inconsistent if you choose the wrong VPS hosting company. Page load times may be impacted, potentially driving away prospective customers. Scaling up can be difficult as the shared server may not have the necessary resources available. The inclusion of other customers can cause security exposures resulting from memory leaks or hacking attempts directed at other websites.
A virtual private server solves many of the problems that can occur when using a shared server. Using virtualization technology, a single server is used to house multiple clients. But these clients do not share the resources of the server on an as-needed basis as they do on a shared server. The physical hardware is partitioned using a hypervisor into multiple virtual private servers that each have dedicated resources. Usually, additional resources are available when needed to address a sudden spike in website traffic.
The advantages of a VPS over a shared server include faster and more consistent performance, enhanced security, and root server access to allow further customization of the environment. A VPS also offers a very scalable solution that can grow along with evolving business requirements.
A VPS is more expensive than a shared server. Care should be taken when engaging a third-party VPS provider to ensure they assist with the management and configuration of the virtual server. In some cases, vendors have been known to oversell space on their VPS hardware which can lead to unexpected resource shortages.
A dedicated server employs hardware provisioned specifically for a particular website. It’s the most expensive of the three options but affords users full control over server resources. Security is strengthened by using a dedicated server and the customer can configure the environment however they like. An increased level of customer involvement may require skilled in-house technical staff.
The ability to fully customize server settings and the enhanced performance provided by a dedicated server make it a great choice for large businesses that need to handle a consistently high level of website traffic. Companies that have outgrown a VPS solution should be looking at the possibility of migrating to a dedicated server.
Now that we have identified the major differences between shared, dedicated, and VPS hosting, let’s concentrate on the benefits of selecting a VPS solution.
Increased performance – The dedicated resources of a VPS result in increased performance and speed. Your server will have a dedicated and specified amount of CPU, RAM, and bandwidth with which to work. These factors contribute to a more pleasant user experience that doesn’t make customers wait for pages to load. Providing an enhanced customer experience is essential to attracting new clients and building long-term relationships that help a business flourish.
Greater control over the environment – More customization is possible with a VPS than in a shared server environment. Customers can choose to only run the services they need. Root access to the VPS enables a customer’s technical team to make changes that may not be possible with a shared server.
Enhanced security and compliance – Security is undoubtedly one of the most pressing issues facing businesses today. Their valuable data resources need to be adequately protected from hackers and cybercriminals. In many cases, companies processing sensitive personal information are bound to comply with extensive regulatory standards. Isolating a company’s website on a VPS eliminates the potential of overflow security risks as the result of another tenant being hacked.
Cost – The cost of a VPS is more than a shared server, which should be expected due to the benefits it provides. The good news from a cost perspective is that a VPS is much less expensive than a dedicated server solution and provides many of the benefits of that more costly option. Businesses that are dissatisfied with their shared server performance should look at moving to a VPS rather than directly to a dedicated hardware solution.
Flexibility – A VPS offers companies much more flexibility concerning the operating system and software applications that will be run on the server. With a shared server, customers are tied to the operating system and apps installed by the vendor. With a VPS, an organization can install whatever OS and applications they want to provide the most effective solution to its business requirements.
Scalability – The virtual nature of a VPS makes it easy to scale to address the changing needs of a dynamic business environment. Working with your provider, more resources can be allocated to the VPS to handle unexpected growth without incurring the capital costs of provisioning more hardware. If a business case exists for it, resources can also be scaled down to reduce costs.
Server management – A reliable and qualified third-party provider will handle managing the VPS environment. This can be an important factor when a company wishes to upgrade from a shared server but may lack some of the technical resources they feel are necessary to accomplish this task. VPS management performed by the vendor paves the way for a smooth transition to the better performance and security a VPS offers.
Technical support – Reputable providers will offer 24/7 technical support to their VPS customers. The availability of reliable and timely technical support can be the difference between a short performance glitch and a devastating outage. Companies relying on their website cannot afford the risk of unplanned outages and the associated loss of business.
In many cases, a company’s business web hosting objectives can best be met by implementing a VPS solution. A VPS eliminates the issues of potential performance and security issues associated with a shared server that houses other tenants. The flexibility and scalability of a VPS cannot as easily be met by either the shared or dedicated server option.
With a VPS, customers enjoy most of the performance of a dedicated server at a greatly reduced cost. Companies intent on building scalable websites that can grow with their business should strongly consider the benefits of a VPS.
By Gary Bernstein