Cloud-based hosting services offer users unparalleled access to high-end hardware for hosting websites and servers.
These dedicated cloud server providers typically offer the choice between using a VPS and a dedicated server for hosting. However, if you are not familiar with these terms and the uses for each hosting option, it may be difficult to differentiate between a VPS and a dedicated server based on anything more than the price.
If you’re looking at hosting options for a commercial website, you’ll want to consider both a VPS and a dedicated server as potential options for supporting your site. You’ll also need to carefully choose a provider for either of these infrastructure options and get a measure of the reliability and reviews for the provider company. Stability and security are essential for any business website or infrastructure seeking to increase long-term traffic and sales.
In this article, we’ll define and differentiate a VPS and dedicated server, and look at the use cases for each. Fortunately, many cloud-hosting providers allow you to upgrade or downshift between these hosting options in case you need to scale up or down. First, let’s define each of these two products.
What is a Dedicated Server?
Dedicated servers from a cloud services provider is hardware stored in a data center that operates solely for the purposes of a single customer. Dedicated server hardware is often entirely controlled by the end-user, though there are also a handful of providers that operate managed dedicated servers as well. There are a number of advantages to using a dedicated server, but the cost is almost always higher than a VPS.
What is a VPS?
A VPS, or virtual private server, is a partitioned section of a physical server. The physical server on which the VPS operates is often shared with other end users who have purchased a VPS. Because hardware may host a variety of instances that vary in scale and operational uses, your cloud services provider will likely manage the hardware itself. VPS has a number of limitations in terms of customization options and bandwidth for hosting, but the cost is often much more reasonable for the majority of personal and small business use cases.
VPS vs. Dedicated Server
Choosing the best infrastructure for your personal or business requirements doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Here are the key differences between a VPS and a dedicated server that you should consider to find the right hosting solution.
Dedicated servers have a clear advantage in terms of customization. Because the entire hardware system is solely for the use of a single end-user, there are a number of physical operating decisions to choose between, including fully customizable security protocols. You’ll have control over hosting instances and will be able to choose the operating system with which you want to work. Most dedicated server providers offer installation of either Windows or Linux. For high-performance computing (HPC) and intensive workloads, the customization options available with a dedicated server are difficult to overlook.
There are a few security benefits and drawbacks related to both a VPS and a dedicated server. Most security options are not customizable for a VPS because the instance you’re working with shares hardware with other user’s instances. Instead, the security protocols are managed by the cloud services provider so that all VPS on a single physical server have uniform security settings.
With a dedicated server, you have significantly more control over these security settings because the hardware is solely for your own use. However, many consumers don’t necessarily need to change any of these configurations; instead, it’s easier to let the services provider guarantee the safety of your server or website. Both dedicated servers and VPS have a range of standard security offerings to start with, including anti-DDOS services.
With a dedicated server, the maximum performance capabilities of the hardware are available for your use. Dedicated servers typically operate with top-of-the-line processors and high-capacity SSDs to far exceed the hardware available in most personal and work spaces. For large-scale infrastructure projects and critical loads, the performance options of the dedicated server are a must-have. Performance options for VPS vary greatly depending on the price, with the higher-end VPS allocating significantly more of the server’s resources towards your uses. To see more information on dedicated server performance, check out this guide on the hardware a dedicated server operates on.
Bandwidth and Storage
To host several VPS instances on a single server, cloud services providers limit each virtual private server’s bandwidth, traffic, and storage capacity based on how much the end-user is willing to pay. Cloud service providers typically offer VPS with a few tiers of technical specifications, so that users can select a price option based on the amount of bandwidth, storage, and memory they need for their hosting project.
The lowest price VPS, which typically starts around six to eight dollars, operates with 250 Mbps limits. For many personal projects, you won’t necessarily need more bandwidth or storage than the basic offering. However, for most business projects and websites with high anticipated traffic, you’ll need to scale up significantly. A dedicated server offers uncapped bandwidth and nearly unlimited traffic capacity.
The cost difference between a VPS and a dedicated server is substantial, but shouldn’t be the only factor you base your decision on when choosing between these two options for hosting. Both services are typically offered on a monthly or annual basis, and for higher-end offerings, you may need to sign on for multiple months at a time. When purchasing a VPS, you may also need to pay an additional fee for backup and recovery options.
Conclusion – How to Choose Between VPS Hosting and a Dedicated Server
If you’re hosting a personal or small-business project, you likely won’t need more than a VPS. However, for large infrastructure projects and enterprise hosting, a dedicated server has unparalleled customization options that make it a valuable investment. VPS have limitations in terms of bandwidth, storage, and hardware usage, but are often far more reasonable in terms of cost. Many services providers offer the option to scale upwards or downwards amongst these hosting options, so you’ll be sure to find the solution for both business and personal use.