What Are Virtual Private Servers “VPS”?

Most cloud users are familiar with the two common service models available today; shared hosting (a lot of people sharing one physical server) and dedicated hosting (your own third-party hosted dedicated hardware server). What you may not realize is that there’s a service model that falls in between the two. With Virtual Private Servers (VPS) hosting your company has a dedicated server, but it’s virtual.

VPS offers the benefits (and disadvantages) of both shared and dedicated plans. With VPS hosting you have complete control over virtual private servers exactly like a dedicated physical server. This functionality is helpful if for example, you’re developing custom applications or running a “software-as-a-service” (SaaS) business. Generally, with VPS hosting you have more access to server resources than with shared hosting. VPS hosted accounts also have many fewer security concerns. Accounts have their IP address, but the virtualization layer insulates you from any problems that might arise due to issues on other sites.

Scalable Cloud vs VPS Hosting

The problem with all three models, is that eventually with enough traffic, you’ll exceed the physical limitations of the physical server. Remember, even if the server is remotely accessed (or virtual) it’s still hosted on a physical server with actual limitations. No matter the model, we’re talking about a real machine, with real limitations on memory, storage and bandwidth. If this is a potential problem than scalable cloud hosting is for you.

The good news is most servers never hit these limits and both shared and VPS hosting is usually more than adequate. But some popular sites do get more than 10,000 hits a day and other sites can occasionally have unexpected traffic spikes, for example when content goes viral. As a result, host companies offer something that usually goes by a name like, “scalable VPS hosting,” “cloud based hosting.” Or “scalable cloud-based hosting.”

“The cloud” is more or less a marketing term and a bit of a metaphor. The truth is the meaning of “the cloud” changes based on the context in which it is used. In terms of web hosting, the cloud means a large number of physical servers are all clustered together so any applications running can make use of their combined resources. With this type of hosting, virtual private servers are not simply one VPS on a single physical server. It’s in fact one of hundreds all sharing a giant pool of computer resources.

Typically host providers monitor resources and try to keep the average level below computing resource limits. This is to protect against a sudden spike in traffic from one or more sites. By keeping averages low, even with a traffic spike, overall usage will also spike but remain within system limits. This model works well for websites as they grow over time.  The host company adds resources or reorganizes how virtual servers are deployed in order to maintain optimal performance as each site evolves.

Another benefit to scalable cloud hosting is the pay-as-you-go business model. This is helpful for companies that don’t have the resources to pay for high-end web hosting in the beginning, but will eventually need more bandwidth as the business grows.

The truth is, you need to be aware that with cloud–based or scalable hosting, the term “cloud” and “scalable” barely have any legal or technical meaning, and are ambiguous at best.  Each host company has a variety of different options under this umbrella of related terms, so make sure that you read the actual features you’re purchasing. If you are considering Togglebox, reach out to us via chat. We are always available to answer questions and offer cloud service suggestions that meet your sepcific needs.