What is a VPS?
Virtual private server (VPS) technology has been around for a few years now and has proven itself as the best web and application hosting platform for small and medium-size businesses. While a VPS looks like a dedicated server to its user, it is in fact serving multiple clients at the same time, all of which have their own "private" server on the same hardware.
The advantages of VPS technology are many fold. First, a VPS carries all of the benefits of a dedicated server. This includes the ability for businesses to choose their own operating system and web server software. They can also have total control over what applications they run on the server and how they run them.
How reliable is VPS?
As with a co-located private server, a VPS usually sits in a data center with multiple connections to the internet, generator back up power, and physical security to ensure that it, and the companies depending on it, stays available at all times.
Most modern microprocessor chips are designed to support "virtualization" in their hardware, making them very good at keeping separate virtual machines apart from each other. While in a traditional shared hosting system, one client's rogue application or process could take everyone's site down, a VPS will typically just go down for the one user who has the problem, having no effect on the other virtualized users on the system.
How easy is it to transfer data over to a VPS?
A VPS can also be very easily transitioned to a dedicated server if a business' needs expand. Since it already has its own operating system, its own applications and its own data, turning it into a dedicated server can be as easy as copying it over to another computer or just deleting the other virtual servers so that it is the only one left on its physical server.
All of the above benefits apply to dedicated servers as much as they do to VPS configurations. A VPS, though, has one significant advantage over a fully dedicated server. It is much less expensive than having a fully dedicated server of comparable quality. Given that many small businesses can be more than adequately served by a fraction of a server, this is an extremely easy way to cut costs without impacting business operations.
Virtual servers do have a couple of drawbacks though. A very small risk of being impacted by problems with other users' VPS set-ups on a given physical server remains. Also, like any off-site server, the business will have to depend on the hosting provider to maintain the machine. While most hosting providers are much better equipped to secure and maintain a server than most businesses, this can nevertheless be a problem for those businesses who do need physical access to their machine.
Given the extremely lopsided balance of pros and cons for virtual private server setups, businesses who do not yet have a VPS should seriously consider migrating to the platform. With its combination of speed, security and control, it represents the best value in today's hosting market.
Valentina has been blogging about technology (virtual private server expert) for the past three years. In addition to her interest in networking, she has 20 years of programming experience in C and its variants.