Virtual Private Servers


What are virtual private servers or VPS?

VPS are exactly what the words suggest, servers that act virtually like independent servers although housed in a single physical system (or dedicated server). They’re a popular way of providing low-cost web hosting services because they allow multiple customers to share in the cost of hardware and network connections but give them total control over their own applications so they can run as isolated processes within the Web server.

Each customer is provided root access in complete privacy and given the ability to guarantee bandwidth, CPU and disk space to allow a high level of customization. And because each VPS acts independently, one VPS’s CPU load and traffic demands will not affect the operations of other VPS on the same server. Other features that make VPS an attractive hosting option are fault tolerance, enhanced security and capacity for functional isolation (which is particularly appealing to ecommerce sites).

But how exactly is this done? Through software platforms (or control panels) that allow the hosting vendor to make multiple ‘virtual’ servers out of a single dedicated one.

Some of the more popular VPS software packages available are:

  • Ensim VPS — which offers partitioned, isolated server environments with centralized VPS management
  • H-Sphere — which offers a web interface for FreeVPS (a free Linux based software which extends the vserver solution)
  • SW-soft
    • Virtuozzo – which offers dynamic partitioning
    • HSPcomplete – which has scalable VPS hosting capabilities and server consolidation technology, and
  • Sphera HostingBusiness Suite — which has Virtual Dedicated Server (VDS) Technology

Which is the best one? Well, I followed two WebHostingTalk Forum threads to get some answers: one on VPS satisfaction and the other on VPS comparisons, and found out that:

  1. Choosing a good web host is key to having a ‘good’ VPS experience.
  2. Dinix, VPScolo and ServInt are the overall favorites, with ServInt enjoying a slight edge (particularly when it comes to support), and VPScolo close at its heels.
  3. VPS may not be for everyone. It is not such a good idea to go VPS if
    • you’re a complete novice to hosting and have no clue what a ‘command line’ is, and
    • you don’t want to be bothered with issues like security and functionality, among other things.
  4. VPS is a good option though if you’re intent on? excited over? intrigued at? the prosect of going ‘dedicated’ but would like some practice first…oh and yeah…maybe a little hand-holding too.
  5. Of the control panel software/applications commonly used, Virtuozzo, Plesk and cPanel seemed to be the front-runners, with Virtuozzo having really good reviews (not that the others didn’t, mind you), although it suffered vis-à-vis UML (which, to the uninformed, means User-Mode Linux, a Linux kernel with executable binaries that can be assigned virtual resources).

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