VPS or Dedicated Instance – Which Should You Choose?

Hosting can be quite an intimidating field for people who don’t have any knowledge or prior experience with servers, how they work, or how they need to be managed to operate successfully. Random terms such as VPS, VDI, VDS, and shared hosting usually get thrown around but most newcomers won’t have a clue what they stand for or what they mean.

In this article, we are going to be shedding some light onto some of the most popular terms and hosting options that are currently available on the market and we are going to discuss which type of server you are better off getting while focusing primarily on the two most popular types – virtual private servers and dedicated instances.

What is a VPS exactly?

A VPS, short for a virtual private server, is a type of hosting solution that utilizes virtualization to create multiple virtual machines that all run on the same physical instance. This is extremely beneficial as it saves a lot of resources and provides a more optimal solution for users who are looking to have a personal server without needing to share resources as is the case with traditional shared hosting plans. Virtual private servers come in two variations depending on their CPU cores. While resources such as RAM and storage space are not shared between users, CPU cores can be.

Getting a VPS with a shared CPU, which is the traditional option, will better impact your budget, as such plans are usually cheaper, enabling you to combine fantastic performance with an affordable plan. On the other hand, there are also VPS servers with dedicated CPU cores, which are more commonly referred to as virtual dedicated servers or instances – VDS or VDI. Such servers are extremely powerful, allowing users to get a large share of traditional bare metal dedicated servers’ capability for a fraction of the price.

That’s not all though, as VPS servers also boast several different advantages with their perhaps greatest one being the fact that they are easily scalable. This scalability allows users to easily add or remove resources and change their hosting plan to accommodate any traffic changes and fluctuations on their website or application without needing to overpay for resources that they don’t essentially use. A fantastic example is any seasonal business or website that gets more views and orders during a specific time of the year.

Who is that for?

VPS servers can also come with a different operating system based on your preference. While the most popular options usually include many Linux distributions such as CentOS and Ubuntu, they are not the primary choice for people who are just starting out when it comes to hosting. Instead, more and more users are actually going for a VPS server with Windows Server as the operating system.

This is because Windows is the most popular operating system globally with a large percentage of users utilizing it every day. Having a VPS with Windows allows users to easily manage their server since the OS comes equipped with an intuitive interface that can be used to operate the server.

Additionally, most providers also offer the remote desktop protocol, or RDP for short, allowing users to gain remote access to their servers and manage it without worrying about establishing a connection. The protocol is also created and supervised by Microsoft, meaning that security is also strong and user privacy is protected. While the Windows Server OS does require an additional license to be installed, most providers also include it in the overall price for their hosting plans.

What are dedicated instances?

Dedicated servers are physical machines that feature a substantial amount of resources in terms of CPU, RAM, and storage space. They don’t use virtualization and are usually reserved for one particular project or user. This makes them a very expensive hosting option, putting them on top of the performance list when it comes to the different hosting alternatives.

Because of this, dedicated servers are the go-to option for many large businesses and corporations that have a large number of visitors, sales, and overall website or application interactions every day. Large online ecommerce stores and service providers are good examples of where dedicated servers are usually utilized.

VPS or dedicated server?

If you are wondering whether to go for a virtual private server or a dedicated instance, there are a few factors that you should take into consideration before making a purchase. First and foremost, you need to decide what type of website or application you are going to be hosting on the given server. If you want to share a personal project or a blog with the Internet, VPS servers are the more optimal solution. In general, static content and limited interactivity might even point you toward a shared hosting plan, but in general, a VPS is also a great option.

You also need to remember that such servers are also scalable, meaning that you can also change resources based on your traffic. This makes them a fantastic choice for users or businesses that are just starting out and cannot predict how much traffic they will be getting. If you are going to be running an online store or uploading an application that will be used by many users simultaneously then you should consider getting a dedicated server.

Due to their power and completely dedicated resources, you can achieve much better performance and treat your users to a much better experience. This is also crucial if you want to rank higher in search results because page loading time and overall user experience are both ranking factors for many search engines. Finally, if you are unsure about different aspects such as hosting and website traffic, you can always start out with a VPS and then make the switch to a dedicated server if your website or application starts requiring more resources.

Photo credit: The feature image is symbolic and has been done by Igor Vetushko.

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