With storage and data processing moving online, web hosting is becoming more advanced by the day. but the overwhelming set of options leaves the end user spoilt for choice and also confused at the variety of options. A frequently asked question that we often hear is when should a customer shift from Shared Hosting to a VIrtual Private Server or VPS.
A major concern for people on shared hosting is that they want to have all the control. They want to know what’s going on with the box that is hosting their website, what is the system status, what version of each software there is, what software should be there, who has access to the box, what hardware should be attached to it and so on. Some software or web applications genuinely require you to have root access to install certain add-ons or to configure some server-wide settings. These settings are such that they would not be permitted on a Shared Host due to its adverse impact on other websites sharing the same server and being affected by the configuration change. Shared Hosts need to keep a check and balance of all the software that will affect their system’s, because they are answerable to all their customers.
Another important reason for switching to a VPS is to have your entire application, file system and maybe even network isolated from others. This maybe due to the sensitive nature of the application or the information stored on the server or may simply be to conduct some tests or experiments. Penetration testing on websites is done by creating a VPS with a mirrored version of the website, so that the actual website is not affected. Even firewalls and protection systems need to be tested in isolation. Testing the Operating System Kernel or making a change in the core files of an OS can be quite risky. No host will allow you to play around with their live servers.
When the software developer needs a specific set of requirements, like a specific Operating System or a specific Database Management System, then the conventional shared hosting may just not be the right option. Many a time the right combinations are also not available for developers. A specific database (DBMS) variant may not be available with any hosting company because it isn’t popular. Similarly no host will support a customized Linux version. This means that you will have to install and manage it yourself. If you don’t need to control the hardware of the box, then it makes no sense going in for a Dedicated Server – a VPS would be the ideal choice.
If you are selling a hosted service, like a web application or an online software or an ecommerce platform, it’s best for you to take a VPS, if not a Dedicated Server itself. The VPS helps you to have full control and flexibility in managing the system and monitoring all aspects of your IT infrastructure. Those selling a “Software as a Service” are sure to need either a VPS or a Dedicated Server. Infact they should not use Shared Hosting which can be affected by various external factors as well as by other users on the same system. VPS systems can be easily migrated to a Dedicated Server and can be put into a production environment easily.
The decisive factor in choosing a VPS over a Dedicated Server is usually the price. A VPS is not a physical machine and hence shares the physical resources with other VPS systems. Whereas a Dedicated Server gives you ultimate control of even the hardware that is running your systems.