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A Virtual Private Server (VPS server) is basically a dedicated virtual server that is hosted on a large physical server along with numerous other similar VPS domains. VPS servers are created by taking a single physical server and using virtualization software to divide it into multiple smaller virtual segments, each one of which is capable of running its own operating system instance and applications. Unlike typical shared hosting models, VPS servers come with their own dedicated slice of memory, storage and processor resources. Dedicated VPS server configurations are usually offered by hosting providers as part of their portfolio of service offers. For companies, VPS hosting offers many of the benefits of dedicated hosting without being quite as expensive. As a result, VPS hosting is often recommended for businesses that have outgrown traditional shared hosting models and are looking for options that afford them greater scalability and administrative control.
A company that opts for VPS server hosting typically retains full control of their virtual domains. This means that they have the ability to install and configure software and applications of their choice within their virtual private server partitions. It also means that systems administrators have full control over the security of their VPS servers as well as over log management and configuration management issues related to their virtual domains. Importantly, each VPS server domain comes with its own dedicated share of server resources and its own independent file system. This greatly reduces some of the performance and bandwidth problems that can arise in typical shared hosting environments. Websites within a virtual private server are environment far less likely to be impacted by the capacity and performance requirements of other VPS servers that are hosted on the same physical platform. A virtual private server can also be quickly set up or taken down without impacting other servers that might be running on the same server. Similarly, VPS technologies allow companies to quickly add additional resources such as memory, storage capacity and processing throughput whenever needed.
The actual VPS partition itself is created and managed using a special kind of software called a hypervisor. The software is used to create a VPS domain and to manage the resources that will be used by that domain. Some of the more popular hypervisor programs include VMWare from Citrix, Hyper-V from Microsoft and Xen. Most VPS hosting providers offer clients a Linux distribution such as Red Hat, Debian and Ubuntu for building their virtual domains. Some offer a Windows server operating system option as well. Higher-end providers let customers decide if they want a 32-bit virtual machine or a 64-bit VM. To launch the VPS domain, the customer often has to do little more than just install the operating system. Most service providers automatically enable firewall protections for new VPS domains to ensure a basic level of security.
One of the key advantages of a VPS server is that it allows IT administrators to manage their domains through a dashboard. The dashboard lets administrators remotely access their VPS domains to handle tasks such as configuration management, user access control, data recovery, restoration and backup. Typically, such dashboards feature a soft restart and hard restarts options that lets IT administrators reboot their domains just as they would with any physical server. Similar functions are available for handling data recovery and restoration tasks.
While VPS hosting can help companies reduce some of the complexity and cost involved in managing on-premise hardware, there are some caveats associated with its use. The biggest issue that enterprises need to keep in mind is the fact that VPS domains are only as reliable as the underlying server hardware. A catastrophic server failure can result in all VPS domains that are hosted on the server being taken down simultaneously as well. As a result, companies need to be especially careful about ensuring that their VPS domains are properly backed up and that adequate data recovery processes are in place to handle sudden hardware failures. VPS hosting also may not be ideal for those looking for unlimited scalability and management. Because VPS domains are based on a shared hosting model, the amount of resources that are available to a domain are somewhat lower than what would be available in a dedicated hosting model.