Virtual Private Server vs Dedicated Server

Choosing a virtual private server vs a dedicated server is one challenge people face in seeking web hosting. This article lays out the two options and discusses the pros and cons of each, helping you choose a virtual private server or a dedicated server.

Who Needs a Server?

Companies who have intranets, websites, networks, FTP access, and email need a server of some sort. Companies that are large and/or have a dedicated IT department (even if it’s a one-man shop and the owner takes care of the server) may choose to have their server on site. Smaller companies and businesses that have—for whatever reason—decided to outsource their IT needs, will rent either a server or server space from a web hosting company. This article discusses several of the server choices that are available through a web hosting service.

The Basics of Web Servers

A single web server may be divided up so that it can be shared by multiple customers or all of its resources may be used by one client alone. In the second case, it may support a single website, or multiple websites.

Shared web servers are rented in several different ways. The basic plan is often simply called “shared hosting.” A virtual private server (VPS) is one particular type of shared hosting, but also shares features in common with dedicated hosting, which is why some hosts have renamed it virtual dedicated server (VDS). Dedicated servers are those on which only the files of a single client reside. Dedicated servers, are offered in several different packages, managed or unmanaged.

More About Virtual Private Servers

In comparing virtual private servers versus dedicated servers we will first focus on virtual private servers. Virtual private servers are separate partitions on a shared server. Some web hosts advertise “unlimited” space, but this is not literally true: a server, particularly a shared server, offers only a finite amount of space for each user. Nevertheless, being on a separate partition sets virtual private servers apart from shared servers because it limits the effects of other clients’ overusing their allotted amount of space. The carved out space in the partition is dedicated to your needs, similar to a dedicated server and another reason why the alternate name virtual dedicated server is used.

Second, there is bandwidth set aside for you alone to use. Again, the advertisement for unlimited bandwidth in a virtual private server situation is a marketing exaggeration. Nevertheless, there is bandwidth that is dedicated to your use. Depending on the web host, you may also be able to have one or more dedicated IP addresses. These dedicated resources of space and bandwidth, despite the shared server, make this type of shared hosting seem like private or dedicated hosting, hence the virtual in the name. Because it is actually on a shared server, virtual private server plans will be managed—the upkeep and updating and troubleshooting on the server must be managed by the web host because it serves others besides you.

In general, choices about the type of server are more limited for virtual private servers compared with dedicated servers. While dedicated servers may allow customers a choice in the number and type of processors, virtual private server hosting is likely to only offer choices in the server system (generally, at least Windows and Linux) and the RAM, storage, and bandwidth desired.

More About Dedicated Servers

In comparison, let’s take a look at dedicated servers. These servers may be large or small, be run with Windows, Linux, or UNIX software, and have various speeds of processors, but the one thing that is unquestionably true is that they are yours and yours alone. All of the space and all of the bandwidth are yours to dole out as you will. You can set up one large site, or a hundred small sites. You may—depending on the terms—even be able to resell the space and bandwidth.

Along with giving you more options and more protection, dedicated servers are more costly versus pricing of virtual private servers. Dedicated servers may be managed (which will add to the cost) by the web host or—if you have or hire someone with the expertise—you can manage them yourself. This provides you with more opportunity to optimize the server environment for your use and fine-tune any aspects of the service for which you have special requirements.

As you can see from the comparison of virtual private servers and dedicated servers, there are variables that will help determine which solution is right for each individual user. Making the move to a dedicated server is a big investment and not necessary in many situations. If you are in a position that you need a dedicated server, be sure and check out the options that different hosts offer to determine which host has the best dedicated hosting plan to meet your needs. Servers are available in different sizes (have different amounts of resources to choose from) and configurations to help clients get a server that will most closely meet their exact needs.

For those webmasters that are in need of a managed dedicated server that is housed at a secure facility with a reliable web hosting service provider, check out BlueHost dedicated servers or HostMonster dedicated hosting. Both of these companies have been in business for many years and have a history or providing a dependable service with excellent support, uptime, and the best technology.