What’s The Difference Between VPS vs Dedicated Server Hosting?

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Choosing the right web hosting model for your website

If you are setting up your website through a hosting company, they may have different types of web servers for you to choose from. The three most common options are:

  • Dedicated hosting
  • Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting
  • Shared hosting

Each of the hosting models has its advantages and disadvantages, and this article is intended to help you decide which one is right for you. For comparison purposes, imagine that the physical server hardware has 1,000 units of “resources”, between CPU, memory, disk, network, etc.

What is dedicated hosting?

Dedicated hosting is when a web hosting provider allocates a complete physical computer to a customer for hosting their website. The customer typically has complete and total access to and control of the physical hardware resources.

Using the previously-mentioned example computer as an example, all of the computer’s 1,000 resources are available for you to use in hosting your website.

What is VPS?

As computers become more and more powerful, it makes sense to take a powerful computer and allocate the computer’s resources to the various tasks that need to be done. VPS relies on using “server virtualization” software to allow running multiple instances of one or more operating systems on a physical computer.

Think of VPS as having a desktop computer and running multiple instances of your favorite operating system on it. Each instance acts like it is the only operating system and the instances are completely distinct from each other.

Continuing with the example computer mentioned above, your VPS may be allocated 250 of the 1,000 total resources for use in hosting your website.

What is shared hosting?

A shared hosting environment may be run on a dedicated server or on a VPS. The server runs the web hosting software, and each website shares the same physical host and operating system. The web hosting software typically provides resources for preventing the different websites from interfering with each other. However, all the websites in a shared hosting model are competing for the server’s resources.

Using the same example computer, the shared hosting model may have 250 resources allocated to the VPS that is shared between all the hosted websites.

What is the difference between VPS and dedicated server hosting, and which is right for you?

When comparing vps vs dedicated servers, the main distinction is how much of the overall physical resources are available to the server. For a dedicated server, 100% of the computer’s resources are available to the server. For a VPS server, the server can use 100% of the resources allocated to the server and, in some cases, can “borrow” resources from other VPS running on the same physical server.

Each of the three models is priced differently, with the dedicated server typically being the most expensive and the shared hosting model being the least expensive. Based upon what you are doing with your websites, no one model may be the best fit for you.