What is a Virtual Private Server?
“A virtual private server (VPS, also referred to as Virtual Dedicated Server or VDS) is a method of partitioning a physical server computer into multiple servers such that each has the appearance and capabilities of running on its own dedicated machine. Each virtual server can run its own full-fledged operating system, and each server can be independently rebooted.”
With a VPS, essentially, you can:-
- have root access, to build your own distribution, whether for:-
- a website or blog
- multiple sites and/or blogs
- a mail server (integrated or standalone)
- data storage (video/backup etc)
- a proxy server for privacy & security
- a slew of other web applications
- have managed or unmanaged hosting, as with a dedicated server. An unmanaged VPS is inexpensive and for most of us, it’s all you need.
The VPS Downside?
Whereas with many shared hosts you get unlimited space and transfer (or do you?*), with VPS, generally, you only get a set amount of each, although plans are expandable. Do you really need “unlimited” space and transfer?
These days, for most of us, the key item we need to host, other than a website’s core files, is the database. Video can be linked, say, to Youtube or Vimeo; images to, say, Flickr or Photobucket; with other assets similarly offloaded. Email can be POP-ped or IMAP-ped to your local machine (which apart from saving server space is also less demanding on your server resources than using SMTP) or you can use Google Apps, which is what I do to direct the maximum server resource to my sites.
So for many a limited server space is not so big a deal, after all, however good it sounds.
Managed vs Unmanaged?
With a managed virtual private server, the definition varies from company to company, as is the case with dedicated hosting. Support will tend to perform core updates of, say, Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP, and likely will perform backups, and may even move your site for you. You would have to shop around, and pay extra, to find advanced options such as the Nginx web server (which benchmarks as a faster web server than Apache).
With unmanaged, you get a blank partition on a hard drive, a power cord and a network cable, plus a control panel with varying number of options. Plus maybe a wiki, some docs and a forum, and Google. And hey, me too
Unmanaged isn’t for the faint-hearted, even with clear, copy and paste tutorials. But if you find the time to invest in your solution, it will be less expensive and more powerful than the managed option, and fully customisable.
Follow the vpsBible documentation and you’ll learn that, say, to update your Linux server operating system is literally as simple as logging into the command line interface and typing “upgrade”.
Alternatively, have the best of both worlds; your customised unmanaged VPS plus a freelance administrator. Someone like me can set up your box for optimal performance, then manage your sites and content as well as the server.
We recomend DigitalOcean vps .