If there’s anything I’ve learned from the 30 years I’ve spent living in this world is that exclusivity comes at a cost. I’ve sat in the back of a Rolls-Royce once before and the first thing that I noticed during that ride was just how isolated you are from the world outside while you’re in a Rolls-Royce. Business class in airplanes, gated communities and corner offices are all emblematic of this trend where the issue of exclusivity, of having your own private slice of heaven, is what separates the haves and the have-nots. Unsurprisingly, this very same issue of exclusivity also pops up in other sections of life, namely in the world of web hosting.
Websites are digital representations of your business and just like you; they need a place to call home in order to function, giving birth of the plethora of web hosting services available in the market. Just as how our place of residence could range in terms of exclusivity from apartments with shared bathrooms to the Buckingham Palace, web hosting types also varies greatly in terms of quality from the humble shared hosting to the more privileged dedicated hosting. Acting as a meeting point between these two hypes however are Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting which will serve as the focal point of our current discussion.
Finding the perfect home for your website
The internet might seem like magic but in reality, it’s just a series of interconnected nodes all over the planet that provides the platform for an exchange of information over vast distances. Instead of driving down to the nearest Uniqlo for example, it’s possible for you to simply head to Uniqlo’s website to check what they have available. Just like their physical store, this website of Uniqlo that you’re seeing in your browser is hosted on an actual, physical server and when you open Uniqlo’s website, you’re simply requesting information from this server to be displayed in your browser.
In physical stores, the amount of items on display and the amount of customers they could serve would be determined by the size and the layout of the store in question. In the world of web hosting, the amount of data websites could contain and the amount of traffic it could reasonably serves is also determined by the quality of the web hosting type. This is why that the choice of web host that you’re using is important as web host serve as the foundation of your website.
In one corner we have cheap shared hosting where a server hosts multiple websites under one roof. They’re cheap but you’re going to be severely limited in the amount of resources and capabilities you could enjoy. In the other corner you have dedicated hosting where you have one server dedicated solely for your website, giving your website considerably superior performance and security compared to shared hosting while also being quite more expensive. Splitting the difference between the two is VPS hosting where a single server is “virtually” partitioned into multiple virtual private servers and this compromised approach holds several key benefits that you might want to check out in greater detail.
They’re great if you want a higher level of service but don’t need the extra space
It’s the dilemma of the introverted solo traveler; you want the level of privacy afforded by hotel rooms, the equivalent of dedicated hosting, but feel that the extra space is only going to be wasted on you. There are always hostels, the equivalent of shared hosting, but as an introvert, nothing could be more daunting than having to sleep in the same room with 3 other strangers. In this day and age however we have capsule hotels, the equivalent of VPS hosting, that enables you to technically share a single space with other people while still having a dedicated personal space of your own.
VPS hosting enables this by the use of virtualization, which divides a server into multiple partitions the same a single hard drive can be partitioned into multiple separate segments. Each partition of the server is fully isolated from the others which give each partition a level of freedom and security not afforded in shared hosting. Of course, the space and overall performance provided to you is still going to be limited but if it’s the level of services that you’re mainly looking for, VPS makes for an ideal compromise.
You don’t have to suffer from the mistakes of other users
In a shared hosting platform if one user is suffering from an attack or being overloaded by visitors, your website is going to have to share some of the burden as you’re all occupying the same space. In VPS hosting platform, problems that are plaguing other users aren’t going to affect you as they fall under the responsibility of said user and of the hosting provider. As we’ve seen in the past few years, DDoS attacks and data breaches are becoming more and more common and the issue of cyber security should be of great importance to anyone running a website.
VPS enables you to choose your own operating system
I mentioned about how VPS gives you a degree of freedom similar to dedicated hosting and one of those freedoms is the ability to choose your own operating system for your server. If you’re of a technological mind and/or if your website has a somewhat specific requirement, this ability to install and customize your own partition can be highly useful. This isn’t going to be of much relevance if you’re going to go down the route of managed hosting where your server is going to be managed by the hosting provider but for those wanting to exert more control over your website, this freedoms makes for a compelling argument for VPS.
VPS hosting is scalable
The downside of dedicated hosting is if you’re not fully utilizing all the bells and whistles provided for your website which makes VPS incredibly attractive in comparison. What is sometimes left unmentioned however is the fact that while VPS allows you to start small; they also provide you with the ability to grow your business simply by expanding the size of your partition. This way, you don’t really have to worry about hitting the glass ceiling as you can imply plan an upgrade when your server utilization is getting dangerously close to the limit.