Business websites often operate via what is known as dedicated hosting. Dedicated hosting gives a company access to a powerful server and the opportunity to fine-tune server performance to achieve its specific commercial needs. The only major drawbacks to this arrangement are that it is a very costly option.
For start-ups and SMEs, a VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting provides an attractive alternative solution to the conventional shared-hosting or dedicated server route. When looking at this option, those on a restricted budget who nevertheless require security and specialist functionality, and any business owners who don’t want to relinquish all control of resources yet lack the time and expertise these tasks often demand, will be pleasantly surprised by what VPS hosting can offer.
Outline of VPS basics
At the heart of the VPS concept is the physical presence of a super-powerful server. This is partitioned to form an array of autonomously functioning virtual machines, each forming an independent virtual-server resource capable of hosting a range of separate websites. These cloud technology websites in turn behave and operate as entirely self-contained entities, each insulated from any possible interference via neighbouring operators and for all practical purposes blissfully unaware of the presence of any of their adjacent co-sharers.
Oriented to serve the needs of smaller businesses, VPS hosting is certainly a much cheaper solution than the longer-term contractual commitments associated with conventional shared hosting. A range of service packages are available according to the volume of resources required – usually assessed in terms of RAM memory, hard disk space and bandwidth – and payments can be made on either a monthly or annual basis. Though its affordability is undeniably a key advantage, the extreme flexibility and custom elements VPS hosting offers make it a business-friendly facility which is tailor-made for any SME seeking a resource which is both reliable and readily adaptable. In addition, companies will find that VPS resource-sharing actually delivers a more generous share of available server resources than shared-hosting deals simply because fewer VPS sites are allocated to each server.
Performance and flexibility
VPS hosting can happily accommodate a choice of either Windows or Linux operating systems and, unlike shared hosting where it comes at an additional cost, the majority of providers will be able to include free, comprehensive technical support within the agreed package. Facilities will also include a high standard of security, due in no small part to the fact that each company is using an allocated space within a larger system framework protected by firewalls and similar measures maintained by the VPS host. Similar levels of protection against server breakdowns offer stability via responsive auto-heal functions. Such systems provide server monitoring and thus instant detection of malfunctions, and in the event of such occurrence will automatically reboot via alternative hardware nodes set aside for such purposes, whilst simultaneously replicating all user data to avoid losses.
As a result of these strategies, VPS hosting provides a stable platform which addresses and eliminates many of the common causes of downtime. Business operators should find there are far fewer maintenance issues with a virtual machine system than normally experienced with the sharing of a physical server, and the availability of extra resources should also translate into improved site performance and faster download speeds.
The user benefits of a VPS solution become even more apparent once the need arises for changes to the original package specification, and also in situations where a company’s initial setup requires a particularly specialist configuration. For example, if a business user wishes to run versions of software programs and applications with which employees and customers are already familiar, VPS hosting can accommodate this much more easily than is possible under the constraints which apply to a physical server As a virtual system, VPS is much easier to customise and lends itself well to unrestricted tweaks and development. Common add-ons such as Plesk and Cpanel are available alongside many other tools and advanced features which may become necessary as a business grows and diversifies. Almost anything an SME’s business activities demand can be set up within a VPS hosting package: a multi-site presence, ecommerce applications, mail servers, dedicated blog forums, FTP capabilities and much more besides. Upgrading in a virtual environment can be almost instant and has the added advantage of being far quicker, more flexible and so much cheaper than the comparative cost of similarly augmented functionality under a shared-hosting arrangement. This is what makes VPS hosting an ideal choice for any growing business.
Control and privileges
With unlimited scalability, fast updating, priority support, user-friendly platforms and plenty of storage facilities, VPS-hosted systems perform like a stand-alone web presence. Each VPS business customer retains a personal copy of their site’s operating system, and this virtual instance can be freely rebooted whenever required without affecting the operation of neighbouring sites all enjoying the same independence. Direct root access within each private domain environment gives users the high level administrator access and privileges required to operate and maintain each virtual server connection, making domain management at least as straightforward as with a shared-hosting facility.
IT guidance and consultancy
As a powerful resource offering independence and flexibility, VPS leasing undoubtedly equips SMEs with advantages which will count in the marketplace. And similarly, any larger corporate business looking to reduce budget expenditure would also find a move to VPS would precipitate considerable cost savings. However, all businesses would be wise to use the services and expertise of an experienced web developer well-acquainted with virtual environments. This will ensure that companies quickly get to grips with all available features and smart options and learn to fully exploit the unlimited expansive possibilities VPS hosting offers. Likewise, any SME planning to acquire VPS capability should not only seek similarly knowledgeable advice, but also shop around VPS providers to establish which ones can provide packages with the most useful features, and which are therefore most closely matched to their present and future business needs.