Virtual Private Server: Definition and benefits

A virtual private server, also called Virtual Private Server (VPS) or Virtual Dedicated Server (VDS) is a virtualized server on a physical server that groups many virtual servers. If your are interested in learning more about the definition, operation, advantages and disadvantages of VPS, as well as the criteria to consider when choosing a supplier, read on.

A virtual private server is an equipment offering the same practical possibilities as a dedicated server. However the computer where the server is located groups multiple virtual servers. Each VPS installed on the computer runs on its own OS and runs hosting software for a specific user.

Virtual dedicated server (VPS): how does it work?

Virtual Private Servers providers use virtualization software, also known as hypervisors. They provide users with access to a so-called emulated server which behaves exactly as a real physical server as it is based on the resources that would be found on such a physical server. This emulated server is called a virtual machine (VM). Each virtual machine has a fully-fledged operating system, with access to part of the computing power, RAM and storage of the physical server on which it is located.

Users have access to the operating system of the virtual machine. However they cannot directly access the physical server. Thus multiple users can use emulated virtual machines on the same server, but cannot access other users’ virtual machines. Thus despite the absence of physical separation, each VM is separated. That is what leads to one of the main benefits, resource sharing while maintaining privacy.

Virtual dedicated server: what a difference with shared hosting

VPS should not be confused with shared hosting. To understand the difference between the two, the simplest remains to take the example of real estate. Shared accommodation is like renting an apartment. The host who holds all the space is comparable to the owner of the building. The owner rents both apartments and common areas such as swimming pool, parking spaces or gym that are comparable to computing power, RAM and disk space. For their part, the inhabitants share these resources.

In the case of the virtual dedicated server, users can own their apartment. Common areas are always shared, but a portion can be owned. However, unlike the tenant of an apartment (shared accommodation) the owner must maintain his own interior and take care of repairs and modifications.

It should also be noted that the VPS has a much smaller population. The major disadvantage? The price generally higher than shared hosting. Users must also have technical skills, including the knowledge to use unmanaged hosting. VPS also requires more time and effort, for example to make sure it stays stable and secure.

If we compare the VPS with the dedicated server, to spin the metaphor, we could compare the first city with an affordable property. Dedicated accommodation is closer to a luxurious home. The user here is the owner, is responsible for all cleaning and maintenance, but also the outside and the landscape. Technical expertise is therefore essential. In short, the VPS is halfway between the shared hosting and the dedicated server.