A Virtual Private Server (VPS) is a specific type of web hosting service. Anyone needing to heavily customize the web apps their businesses use on the web, needs to understand VPS web hosting plans and compare them against their other hosting plan options.
VPS hosting is almost like having a dedicated server, except you still share the machine with other users, as with shared hosting. The server is ”virtually private,” because its OS allots the hardware capacity into private slices, one for each VPS plan purchase.
Buyer Beware: A good web hosting provider will carefully limit the number of VPS slices on each physical machine, to provide you the capacity you’re paying for, reliably. A dodgy hosting provider will try to save money by overcrowding each machine in its VPS farm, which means less-reliable quality of service.
Why buy a VPS? Having a VPS is the cheapest way to get the minimal level of ”full tech control” you’ll need for certain projects. VPS web hosting is more powerful and flexible than shared hosting. It’s also much less powerful, and far less expensive, than dedicated hosting. Anyone running an ecommerce site, or or any custom apps or modified platforms, will probably need a VPS for several reasons:
A VPS normally gives full control of all software, for advanced setups.
Full admin access is often available on a VPS, even in the cheapest plans.
Secure web connections often require VPS-level service plans.
Good VPS admin panels make backups, logging, and security features easy to use.
As it’s a business-class plan, good hosting providers do more for VPS customers.
What to expect: In the premium web host market, the VPS web hosting plan has taken on a double meaning. Its original meaning – of virtual slices giving affordable, full control of a ”private server” – still applies. But the VPS hosting offer is also being treated by good web hosting companies as their ”Budget-Deluxe Business” service package.
At the best companies, that budget-deluxe style of VPS hosting plan means lots of extras. Expect some to offer a wide range of a-la carte service options, and feature-freebies. You may also be offered the choice of different tiers of server capacity, with painless upgrades when your site starts to grow.
Costs: Good VPS web hosting plans start as low as US $15 for introductory prices, when big companies run promotions – sometimes even lower! The most typical rate will be US $30-40 per month.
High end VPS web hosting can approach US $100 per month, but basic plans rarely approach US $50-60 per month. At the US $50-60 range VPS, you’d best be treated as a minor VIP. There’s no reason to pay so much for a basic VPS unless it comes with impressive perks, extras, and, above all, skilled, dedicated, 24-hour customer service.