A server is a computer that stores your website files. When you include management services such as performance monitoring and security protocols to the operations of a server, you get a hosting plan. When you are judging the suitability of a hosting plan you should, therefore, consider the server hardware, the management services provided and most importantly how the server hardware is used.
What are the actual differences?
The hardware properties of the server which include CPU speed, available memory, and the hard disk space remain the same regardless of the hosting plan. This means, regardless of your hosting plan, the speed and functionality of your site will largely depend on the power of your server’s hardware. How the server hardware is used is what separates the two hosting plans – dedicated and Virtual Private Server (VPS). With dedicated hosting, the user gets sole access to all the hardware resources of the server. On the other hand, with VPS hosting, the hardware resources of the server are shared by multiple users by employing virtual machine technology.
The management services can also be the same for both hosting plans. For example, both plans can offer the same core software upgrades. However, different hosting plans can have subtle differences in the management services they provide.
Dedicated servers give you sole use and control of the system. You can make various software and hardware changes to put together a custom configuration that perfectly suits your needs. This is ideal for users who need to run specialized applications that require very specific configurations.
By essentially being dedicated to a single user, dedicated servers are less exposed to security threats compared to VPS servers. The major weakness that VPS servers have is the sharing of a physical server. A single physical server can run multiple virtual servers giving multiple users full and secure access to their own virtual computers. A hypervisor controls these virtual computers. Most security threats cannot bypass the hypervisor and jump from one virtual machine to another, but this can happen in some rare instances.
The server’s hardware capabilities mainly influence performance. When using identical servers with similar capabilities, dedicated servers have a performance advantage over the VPS servers. This is because unlike VPS, dedicated hosting does not involve sharing of the server resources.
Having multiple users on the same physical server is more cost-effective than when each user has their own dedicated server.
How to determine which hosting your business needs
The greatest factor to consider is cost. If your enterprise is not generating enough profit to afford the services of a dedicated server, then it is not big enough to even need one.
Both dedicated and VPS hosting options offer relatively solid security. If your business does not need the extra security offered by a dedicated hosting plan, then it should be very safe using VPS. Dedicated hosting security is a reserve for Banks, governments and other high-risk institutions.
Unless you need a server with a very specific hardware configuration and are dealing with very high volumes of traffic, about 500,000 pages per month, you can live with a VPS hosting plan.
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