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What to Look for in a Virtual Private Server

by: Jacob Blynthe  /  August 23, 2013

Virtual Private Servers (VPS) Offer Affordable Plans and Consistent Performance

A virtual private server (VPS) offers a balanced approach to web hosting by allowing the end-user to take advantage of dedicated hard drive space, RAM, and bandwidth. Before we delve into the critical features of the VPS that the end-user should look for, let's define the three basic server types that are most prevalent today.

• Shared Server – these servers allow several companies to utilize a pooled resource of hard drive space, RAM, and bandwidth. The advantage of a shared server is low-cost and efficient operation. For many companies, sharing resources makes sense because site traffic isn't sufficient to require a dedicated hard drive and RAM. The downside to a shared server is the potential for slow running should the communal site requirements overwhelm the server's capacity. For those website owners who experience significant spikes in site traffic, a shared server might offer too little capacity.

• Virtual Private Server (VPS) – The virtual private server provides a pre-set amount of hard drive space, RAM, and bandwidth and allows the website owner to access the total limit of these parameters at any time. Though the servers aren't physically separate from other company's sites, a virtual partition means that one organization's information is virtually different.

• Dedicated Server – The most expensive choice for those seeking website hosting services. The dedicated server is a physically unique server that offers a more robust hard drive, RAM, and bandwidth capacity. For sites that may experience severe fluctuations in traffic, a dedicated server might be a good option. It is crucial to weigh the price commitment of a dedicated server versus the performance potential.

Why Hard Drive Space, RAM, and Bandwidth Are Important Considerations For a VPS

Websites vary in site traffic, but all of them can benefit from sufficient hard drive space, RAM, and access to the server's CPU speed. The hard drive must be large enough to store the massive amounts of data commonly encountered on a well-designed, popular website. With the low cost of hard drives these days, reputable hosts tend to offer plenty of storage space for all but the largest websites. RAM is another consideration, as the speed at which a website loads some of the more graphic-intensive site elements is generally dictated by server RAM. The user will want to ensure enough RAM is available (384 megabytes is a good amount for most users). The web host offers access to burstable RAM. This means that if an unexpected spike in website traffic occurs, the site will continue to run smoothly. Lastly, check to see if the prospective VPS host offers access to enough bandwidth. This is a significant advantage for those with a website that experiences big traffic volume around the clock. One hundred megabytes per second is a solid amount, and some even offer unlimited plans.

VPS hosting is a popular choice among those who value a balanced approach to web hosting. VPS offers affordable plans, significant hard drive, RAM, and bandwidth specifications, and the ability to access dedicated server space – all without the true server price tag. For most companies, organizations, and individuals, this is the perfect balance of price versus performance.

Written by Jacob Blynthe  /  August 23, 2013