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A Guide to Virtual Private Web Servers

VPS, or virtual private web servers, is a term used by most hosting companies to refer to a virtual machine. This virtual machine acts like a dedicated server, in the sense that clients can control certain aspects of the machine they normally wouldn’t be able to. However, it is still a modified version of shared hosting.

Generally speaking, every VPS has its own fully installed, dedicated operating system. These VPS systems usually do a good job of splitting up the resources of a machine as the hosting company sees fit. This allows a modern hosting company to bridge a gap between shared hosting and dedicated hosting. VPS is often much cheaper than dedicated hosting and a little more expensive than shared hosting. This makes it a good fit for a web master who is in an in-between area, in terms of hardware requirements.

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Right of the bat, an assumption most people make is that a VPS is the best choice. However, this isn’t always the case. Take a look at the chart below for a good comparison of the different systems.

Shared VPS Dedicated
Shared RAM, Disk Space, and CPU Dedicated RAM and Disk Space, Shared CPU Dedicated RAM, Disk Space and CPU
No Server Level Customization Server Level Customization Allowed Server level Customization Allowed
All Server level Software Pre-Installed Server Level Software pre-installation varies by provider Server Level Software pre-installation varies by provider
Full Customer Support Typically Provided Support Levels Vary By Provider Support Levels Vary By Provider
Cheap Moderate Expensive
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This isn’t an all-inclusive chart, but it does illustrate some of the differences between the different times of servers. As you can see, the difference between a VPS and a dedicated machine is pretty slim. The only major difference is that on a dedicated server, the CPU is entirely yours. On a VPS, the system is sharing the processing capacity with other VPS systems on the machine.

More Ram the Better

Generally speaking, the more ram available the better your server will perform. Some providers offer an extra pool of memory that is reserved for high traffic scenarios. This extra ram is used as needed by a VPS and then quickly released to the pool for other VPS systems to access

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So, what is the best choice? It really just depends on your budget. Try and take a good look at the requirements you’ll have as a web master and weigh them with the cost carefully.

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