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What are virtual private servers? 3 things to know

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Virtual private servers (or VPS for short) might be a familiar term for those who have done some research related to website hosting, but for many others – particularly those just beginning their research – it can be a very confusing term.

Generally, a server is a physical computer that is used to store the data and files that comprise a website, so how exactly can a physical computer be virtual? It actually occurs by technology being used to split one powerful server into multiple virtual servers that many people can use simultaneously. 

There’s much more to it than that, though – in this article, we take a look at what makes VPS such a good option for some businesses.  

How do virtual private servers work? 

In Australia, VPS is becoming an increasingly popular choice, and it’s easy to see why. As we mentioned previously, VPS hosting basically works to simulate the experience of a dedicated server despite the fact that the server is typically being shared by quite a few users at once.

How does such a server get set up, though? Typically, it involves a web hosting provider installing what is known as a “virtual layer” on top of the operating system (OS) of the server using a form of a technology called virtualization technology. 

The server is then separated into separate sections with these technology, these virtual walls allowing unique users to install their very own operating system and any software that they decide on. 

Although this server existing in the same place might get you thinking about other people hogging all of your resources, it actually works out that every individual user gets a secure container, which translates to complete access to their quota of memory, disk space, CPU cores and whatever else they might need, 100% of the time. What you pay for, you get – no sharing necessary! 

How do virtual private servers compare with shared and dedicated hosting? 

Currently, shared hosting is the most common form of web hosting available. As its name suggests, when you choose to go with a shared hosting plan, you should expect to share your important resources – whether it be CPU, RAM, or hard drive space – with other users.

Sharing is so common because it represents good value for those businesses just starting out with servers, as shared space means cheaper space! The caveat here is that because the resources are shared if you’re sharing with a resource hog, you’re likely going to be affected. In the case of dedicated servers, it’s again in the name – these servers involve a single dedicated server that is reserved for a single website only. 

Although this will ensure that your website is never affected by the poor performance of others, it comes at a cost (a literal cost). You have to pay for the privilege of having unadulterated access to resources, but these servers serve larger, high-traffic websites very well.  

Revisiting VPS 

Keeping the above in mind, you might find that virtual private servers suit you very well if you’re needing your website to function reliably, but not at the significant cost that dedicated servers usually incur. Instead, a user is able to utilize all of the resources related to their particular virtual compartment at any time. Plus, scaling with VPS allows you to use different resources as your website grows, making it an even more sensible option! 

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