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What is VPS hosting?

Definition

VPS, short for virtual private server, is a type of hosting where multiple companies use isolated environments on a physical dedicated server. These isolated environments are virtual private servers, also known as instances.

Because the servers are virtualized, they don’t require physical hardware maintenance. Each VPS mimics the benefits of a dedicated server, offering enhanced security, scalability, and speed.

How VPS hosting works

Using a software called a hypervisor, the hosting company implements a virtual layer on top of the operating system (OS) of a dedicated server to segment the virtual private server instances.

The separation between virtual walls allows each user to install their own OS and software, creating a server that’s truly private, separated from others on the OS level.

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Liquid Web is the leading host for Linux VPS performance

Dedicated

Allocated bandwidth and storage for each instance means performance is not affected by other users on the server.

Scalable

With VPS hosting, you can access your environments from anywhere and adjust your resources with a click of your mouse.

Managed options

Take a hands-off approach or manage your VPS yourself.

VPS hosting: commonly asked questions

Is VPS hosting safe and secure?

Yes, VPS hosting is secure. VPS security stems from each instance’s isolation. By contrast, with shared hosting, environments share resources and can be affected by each other’s vulnerabilities.

Is VPS hosting fast and reliable?

Yes, VPS hosting is fast and reliable—that’s a big reason companies prefer it to shared hosting. Since you’re allocated your own bandwidth, you get reliable performance more similar to a dedicated server.

What are the types of VPS hosting?

VPS hosting comes in several forms, each catering to different needs and levels of technical expertise. The main types of VPS hosting are managed VPS, cloud VPS, reseller VPS, and preconfigured VPS.

Quick guide

What are the benefits of VPS hosting?

VPS hosting delivers several important benefits that combine the best features of shared and dedicated hosting. Your favorite VPS features will vary based on how your company uses it.

Empowerment

You get SSH and root access to your environment, giving you more control.

Customization

You get only the features you want, which even includes the operating system (OS) of your choice.

Growth

VPS hosts provide more bandwidth and storage than shared hosting. Scaling is fast and easy.

Data protection

VPS hosting makes it easy to perform server backups. With Liquid Web, daily backups are standard for our VPS environments.

Security

VPS environments are isolated from each other, making them more secure than shared hosting environments.

Versatile

With a VPS, you can host unlimited sites, build an app, host a gaming server, and even create your own cloud network.

Common use cases for VPS hosting

Cost control

Unlike pay-as-you-go cloud hosting, VPS resources are reserved and scalable, which limits overages and add-ons.

Server access

For those wanting root access and custom integrations, VPS provides tech freedom without a high price tag.

Scaling down

Dedicated server users sometimes downsize to a VPS to save on costs while maintaining similar security and performance.

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Quick tips

What to look for in a VPS hosting provider

The best VPS hosting service is the one that you feel most confident and comfortable with. For you, that could mean the provider with the best reviews or the one who offers the best price or the best technical specs. Ideally, you’ll choose a provider who offers a balance of all of these.

Uptime

Don’t just ask the hosting provider about their uptime guarantees. Check their third-party customer reviews to see whether their hosting is reliable and how quickly and effectively the provider responds in the event that downtime does occur.

Customer service

Don’t just research by visiting hosting provider websites. Reach out to see which companies are the easiest to speak with, who responds most quickly and thoroughly, and who takes the most proactive approach to working with you.

Liquid Web’s customer reviews prove a commitment to responsive support, proactive service, and immense value.

Scalability

Ask each provider what the process is for scaling VPS hosting on their servers and the turnaround time for making changes. Also, research how the pricing changes as you scale. Some providers charge by the megabyte, others charge by the minute.

Cost

Weigh not only the monthly cost but total cost of ownership. If you’re considering self-managed VPS hosting, that means taking into account your own staff’s management time and the cost of potential downtime or cyber attacks.

Hardware

Ask for details on the servers each hosting provider uses for VPS. Providers who use more up-to-date hardware with current-generation processors will be more reliable long-term partners than those that don’t.

Operating systems

Learn what operating systems the hosting providers support on VPS, and decide whether those work for your needs. If you’re not sure which OS you need, chat with our hosting advisors now.

Security

Find out what sort of security comes with each VPS offering. The best VPS hosts automatically include basic server DDoS protection with options for upgraded protection in the event of larger attacks.

Backups

Backups are an important feature of VPS hosting, so ask how often each provider performs them. If possible, opt for a company that does nightly backups and ensure there are onsite and offsite backup options. It’s important that you’re always just a click away from full recovery.

CDN

If you’re using VPS to host a website, find out whether the VPS package comes with a CDN. If the provider offers Cloudflare, that sweetens the deal, as it can mean a faster and more secure site.

Migration

Moving a website requires skilled experts, a proven process, sharp attention to detail, and a dedicated amount of time. If you’re already hosting elsewhere, it’s important to understand each VPS provider’s approach to migration and the cost.

Liquid Web VPS hosting FAQs

Liquid Web offers multiple types of VPS hosting, including self-managed, managed, CPU-optimized, memory-optimized, and general compute-optimized.

Not all VPS hosting plans are managed at Liquid Web. Our VPS hosting plans are managed self-managed to suit every business need. Choose from these options:

  • New companies on a shoestring budget: If you’re primarily choosing hosting based on budget and don’t fall under regulations like PCI, shared hosting will be a cheaper option. However, there are security and performance tradeoffs.
  • Businesses with zero technical skills: Because VPS provides root access to the server, it’s typically used by companies that have at least a basic degree of IT administration and troubleshooting skills. If you do have a skill gap, you can use a managed hosting provider for VPS to handle virtually anything that requires root access. You’ll still need the ability to use cPanel and Plesk for basic tasks.
  • Enterprises that need an entire dedicated server: If you don’t need to split environments into isolated VMs, dedicated servers will most likely be a better choice for you. For example, streaming, database-driven, and other bandwidth-intensive sites typically require a dedicated server.

We recommend VPS for a business that’s:

  • Hosting 1-10 websites
  • Storing company and customer files in a way that’s accessible anywhere in the world
  • Hosting web servers
  • Hosting email
  • Databases
  • Building and delivering cloud-based services for customers
  • Delivering virtual workstations to remote employees
  • Reselling and white labeling hosting

If you’re not sure if a VPS is right for you, our in-house experts can help you determine if it’s the right fit. Start a chat now.

The security of a VPS largely depends on how it is configured, maintained, and managed. Here are a few key ways to improve VPS security:

Use your root access

With root access, you can implement customized security measures, like installing firewalls, configuring intrusion detection systems, and setting up automated security updates to address unique threats relevant to your applications. Liquid Web offers several of these features as add-ons.

Regular updates

Keeping the operating system, software, and applications up to date is crucial. Liquid Web performs regular updates and patches known vulnerabilities on the operating system level, reducing the risk of exploitation by hackers.

Regular backups

Regular backups ensure that you can quickly restore your system in case of a security breach or data loss, minimizing downtime and potential damage. Liquid Web offers an Acronis backup solution where you can customize frequency, snapshots, and much more.

VPS hosting pricing depends on a number of factors, like the provider’s level of service and support, performance, bandwidth, and the features included. Overall, you can expect to pay more than you would for shared hosting but less than you would for dedicated.

Liquid Web’s VPS hosting is known for delivering the fastest Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP (LAMP) stack performance. Third-party performance analyst firm Cloud Spectator found that our VPS speed is faster than Rackspace, DigitalOcean, and Amazon. Here are a few things we do to ensure your hosting stays blazing fast:

High-performance hardware

Liquid Web VPS is built on our industry-famous servers, equipped with premium-quality disks and SSD drives.

KVM virtualization

We use KVM to create your private virtual environment, and make it accessible through our Cloud Studio interface.

Redundant infrastructure

Our data centers are prepped and ready to handle heavy workloads with N+2 redundancies and much more.

Uptime guarantee

We guarantee 100% uptime on our elite network, and we also guarantee that power is up 24/7/365.

What is managed VPS and is it better?

Managed VPS

With a managed VPS, your hosting company will handle the technical side to ensure functionality and protection of your server. They’ll also handle maintenance, troubleshooting, and software installs, saving you time and making your life considerably easier.

Pros of managed VPS

  • Saves you time
  • Requires no IT expertise
  • OS updates and patches done for you
  • Server changes are made correctly

Cons of managed VPS

  • Costs more than unmanaged
  • Gives more control to a third party

Managed hosting allows company team members to stay current on best practices and new technologies. They also quickly gain on-the-job experience working with a variety of environments and troubleshooting common issues. That means they know how to optimize your environment for performance and security and how to resolve common issues quickly.

Self managed VPS

With a self-managed VPS, your hosting company is responsible for providing the VPS, maintaining the hardware, and performing system-level health checks. But the VPS customer performs the rest of the maintenance, monitoring, and changes.

Pros of self-managed VPS

  • Cost savings
  • More control

Cons of self-managed VPS

  • Takes time away from core business functions
  • Requires IT expertise
  • OS updates and patches happen manually
  • Potentially reduces overall security and reliability

Self-managed hosting requires asking your IT team members to do the work of a skilled, full-time hosting team while also performing their other duties. And, unless you want to open up the risk of downtime, they’ll have to perform those duties 24/7/365. As you can imagine, companies often end up paying more in the long run due to security breaches and downtime when they choose to go with self-managed hosting.

The middle ground: core managed VPS

With a core managed VPS, the hosting company provides the same basics as unmanaged hosting but adds on core software installation and support. Features include OS updates and patches, security enhancements, full web server support, and proactive response and restoration of monitoring events.

With a core managed VPS, the hosting company provides the same basics as self-managed hosting but adds on core software installation and support. Features include OS updates and patches, security enhancements, full web server support, and proactive response and restoration of monitoring events.

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Hosting types

VPS vs shared hosting

Shared hosting means you share a server and resources with other sites whereas VPS hosting creates a virtual environment that simulates a private server with all resources to yourself. Here is how VPS and shared hosting compare.

Performance

VPS environments run faster and perform more reliably than shared environments for the simple reason that they operate on individually allocated bandwidth. With shared servers, if another customer is a “resource hog,” it can negatively affect the performance of other environments on the server.

Control

With VPS hosting, you get SSH and root access to your server, whereas on shared hosting, all server changes must be made by the hosting company.

Security

VPS is considered more secure than shared hosting because each environment is isolated. With shared hosting, if one website is hacked, every site on that server is vulnerable.

Cost

Shared hosting is typically less expensive than VPS, but the extra money goes toward peace of mind and scalability.

Hosting types

VPS vs dedicated hosting

With a VPS, all clients on the server appear as if they’re on a separate dedicated machine but share resources split between hosting accounts. With dedicated hosting, you get full access to all resources on the physical server, including network access, memory, hard drive storage, and processing power.

The difference comes down to how resources are allocated and who has control over them. Here’s how the two compare.

Performance

Dedicated environments are second to none when it comes to performance. However, VPSs can still deliver plenty of speed, especially if they’re hosted on next-gen cloud infrastructure.

Control

With a dedicated server, you can install any operating system. VPS offers a limited selection. Otherwise, both options give you full root access with control over the OS and all the software in the environment.

Security

Dedicated and VPS environments are both completely isolated and, therefore secure, as long as you’re using a reputable hosting provider.

Cost

VPS has a big edge over dedicated hosting when it comes to cost, as you have more flexibility in the amount of resources you use and pay for. It’s typically less than half the cost of a dedicated server with scalable pricing based on your business needs.

Hosting types

VPS vs cloud hosting

Differences between VPS hosting and cloud hosting is that cloud hosting leverages the resources of an entire physical server, whereas VPS is a dedicated segment that does not change. VPS and cloud hosting differ in these ways.

Performance

The cloud generally delivers high-availability and high performance based on the ability to expand CPU power and memory capacity on demand. A traditional VPS delivers a fixed level of resources, but a cloud-based VPS can offer the scalability of the cloud with the performance of a VPS.

Control

Both cloud hosting and VPS hosting offer the ability to choose between a Linux and Windows OS and add network architecture, firewalls, load balancing, and IP addresses. However, the complexity of a cloud environment means it requires more technical expertise to configure.

Security

VPS security is virtually the same as dedicated hosting, which is to say it’s the least vulnerable to outside attacks. Cloud hosting is generally also secure. However, its physically distributed nature makes it a bit more vulnerable.

Cost

With VPS hosting, you pay for what you use in the sense that you select a certain amount of bandwidth and storage to be allocated in advance. With cloud hosting, you pay for what you use in that your resource levels are not pre-determined, which means unpredictable pricing that tends to be more costly due to the overhead and complexity involved.

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