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VPS vs Dedicated Server: Which One Should You Use?

If you’re here, you may fit one of these three use-cases:

  • You have a trendy blog that gets thousands of hits per week
  • You own a business that depends on hosted software solutions for reliability, security and high-availability
  • You run an e-commerce website that must be up and running during the holiday season.

If you do, and you are using a shared hosting solution, you and your website visitors or customers have possibly faced performance degradation, service outages and a lack of options to scale on-demand. You must have also heard about VPS hosting and dedicated server hosting but are unsure of what they mean or how they can help your business.

Did you know?

  • 40% of your visitors will abandon your site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. This means that if you have 10,000 hits a month, more than 4,000 of them will never come back.
  • Google uses site speed as a ranking factor. The slower your website is, the more difficult it is to find on Google search.
  • VPS can can help you save up to 50% in upfront costs when compared to dedicated servers. VPS servers are as fast as dedicated servers and can help you scale on-demand with minimal downtime.

VPS hosting can speed up loading times by over 200% for high-traffic websites and corporate hosted solutions. This is why companies spent a staggering $130 billion on moving their services such as email, storage, apps, portals and websites to the cloud! Providing high-availability, blistering-fast speeds and cost-effectiveness that is second to none, VPS servers help individuals and organizations of all sizes scale seamlessly on-demand.

What is the difference between VPS hosting and Dedicated Server hosting?

Before we answer this question, let’s dig deep to understand what these hosting types are.

What is a Virtual Private Server?

A VPS server or Virtual Private Server hosts multiple clients’ data and applications on a single physical server. Although this may seem similar to a traditional shared hosting setup at the outset, the underlying architecture sets these two apart. To simplify this further, a Virtual Private Server (VPS) is an instance of an operating system like Linux or Windows, which runs on an underlying physical server. That physical server can run multiple VPS instances with various configurations.

VPS servers rely on a server virtualisation technology called a hypervisor. Hypervisors create a virtualisation layer that allows the separation of server resources such as CPU/processors, RAM and other physical resources from the virtual machines you make. Regardless of the operating system that you install and boot up using a virtual machine, each VM or virtual machine will believe that it has all the computing power, memory and other available resources of the server at its disposal—all thanks to hypervisors.

VPS hosting is better than shared hosting in many ways. It provides a higher level of system resources to the client than shared hosting, including RAM, CPUs, memory and computing power. Additionally, unlike shared hosting, VPS servers guarantee the resources that a client can use.

To put this into numbers, you can opt for 2GB ram and 10GB of storage on a server with 8GB of RAM and 100GB storage. The hypervisor will guarantee you exclusive access to your chosen configuration.

What are Dedicated Servers?

As the name suggests, a dedicated server is a physical server that is associated with a client. With a dedicated server, the client can access all the server resources, including network, storage, memory, and computing power. In short, a client has exclusive access to a server’s resources in a dedicated server setup.

Dedicated servers offer you complete control over the physical machine—including hardware and software configuration.

Some key hosting terms

Before we move to the pros and cons of these two popular types of hosting services, there are some key terms that you must understand before making your choice:

Managed servers and unmanaged servers

Both VPS and dedicated servers give you two options to choose from:

Unmanaged servers

Unmanaged servers provide you with the basic hardware for a server, and you need to install all the software you require on your own. This includes installing software such as PHP, WordPress, Nginx, LiteSpeed, Apache and so on. These servers are an excellent option for developers and server administrators who need a specific configuration for their needs and have the technical skills to create, manage and maintain such configurations.

Managed servers

Managed servers provide you with the same hardware configuration as unmanaged servers without having to handle configuration, management and maintenance on your own. If you are not an advanced technical user, a managed server is the best bet for you.

Traditional VPS hosting and cloud VPS hosting

Cloud VPS hosting is trending these days, and it is essential to know the difference between traditional VPS and Cloud VPS before you choose one over the other. Cloud VPS and traditional VPS hosting follow the same basic principles of virtualisation, with one exception:
Traditional VPS hosting : The dedicated resources guaranteed to your account are from a single physical server.
Cloud VPS hosting : The dedicated resources guaranteed to your account are from multiple servers (AKA the cloud)

Advantages of choosing VPS hosting

VPS hosting comes with many distinct advantages. The most important ones include:

Lower entry price
Compared to a dedicated server, VPS hosting offers a significantly lower cost per month while providing the same performance as a dedicated server with the exact specifications. VPS servers can offer this as hypervisors allow multiple clients to share the same hardware resources, thereby considerably reducing the cost involved for everyone. On average, dedicated servers cost at least three times as much as VPS.

Scalability on-demand
Virtual environments scale quickly by just adjusting the number of resources available to a particular virtual machine, helping businesses to scale up during times of high demand and scale down when demand is low, and that too in real-time! Dedicated servers require physical changes to the machine’s hardware when any upgrades are necessary, making it extremely expensive, cumbersome and time-consuming to make these changes.

Advantages of choosing dedicated server hosting

Dedicated servers may cost more but come with features that critical and extremely resource-hungry applications and modules require. The most important reasons to choose a dedicated server over VPS include:

Resource utilisation
If your application is particularly resource-intensive, no VPS server can match the computing power, memory and other hardware attributes of a dedicated server. With a dedicated server, an extensive application such as a database can take advantage of a machine’s total computing power, memory, and storage capacity.

Businesses often choose dedicated servers due to security concerns. Although modern virtualisation platforms are highly secure, they cannot match a professionally configured dedicated server’s security. With just one client per server, you can manage security breaches and attacks more efficiently.
Note: Although some experts believe that virtualisation is more secure for business data when compared to a physical server, keep the security aspect in mind while making a choice.

With total control of your server’s hardware and software, you can take matters into your own hands and ensure your server’s optimisation, reliability, efficiency, and security without having to bother about other clients on the same hardware.

VPS hosting vs dedicated server hosting—which option should you choose?

Most small businesses will be better off with a VPS hosting solution compared to a dedicated server.

Both VPS hosting and dedicated server hosting have their advantages in hosting, but the choice you make will depend on your use-case. For small and medium-sized businesses, a dedicated server offering all available resources at your disposal might be overkill. You will need experts to manage all aspects of a dedicated server, from hardware to software and security. Suppose you do not need a dedicated server’s resources or do not have the technical capability to manage your server. In that case, you may be better off in a VPS-powered environment.

Most businesses deal with minimal spikes in web traffic during the holidays or in peak seasons. This reason alone does not warrant the investment of time, money and workforce required by a dedicated server. With competitive features and enough customisations on offer for most businesses at a much lower entry price, VPS hosting is the answer for 90% of small and medium enterprises.

Remember that the hosting solution you choose today will be your digital operations’ backbone for many years to come. Choosing a world-class VPS hosting provider or dedicated server hosting provider such as Pack Web Hosting can help you stay competitive and secure for many years to come.