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Dedicated server or VPS. What to choose for your website?

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Choosing a server is an essential step for your business and your website's performance.

When it comes to server options, many consider VPS and dedicated servers the best, specifically, if you purchase servers from a reliable hosting provider, like HostZealot.

However, virtual private servers (VPS) and dedicated servers have their specifics, which we will explore in this article.

What does VPS offer?

Virtual Private Server (VPS) offers to share the resources of a physical server so that each user gets their private, unchangeable share of the server capacity. VPS is similar to shared hosting since the concepts are somewhat alike. However, their technical realization is different.

Shared hosting spreads the server's resources out among multiple users; the consequential share of resources a user gets depends on the server's capacity already used by other users (in other words, if others use more, you get less). On the contrary, as the name suggests, a virtual private server (VPS) creates an isolated environment for each user through virtualization technology (often through the hypervisor layer). It means that a user gets the promised share of resources no matter what and has a private space to use them.

Pros of VPS

  • Affordability. VPS falls in the middle of the server price range, with it being cheaper than a dedicated server and more expensive than shared hosting. You can find VPS for less than $10 monthly while getting sufficient server capacity.
  • Scalability. VPS is easily scalable since it utilizes virtualization. It means you can upgrade and downgrade your hosting plan and subsequent resources to the level you need at any time. A VPS's scalability allows you to make decisions as you go without committing to anything.
  • Better security. VPS offers much more protection than shared hosting because it provides an isolated environment for users. This virtual separation protects your data from external influences and potential security threats from other users with whom you share a server.
  • High level of performance. VPS offers a decent level of performance and compliance with parameters like high loading speed. Virtual private servers surpass shared servers regarding the amount of resources and the level of performance a user gets. The promised performance is guaranteed because the specific amount of resources is dedicated to an individual user.

Cons of VPS

  • Insufficient security. Virtual private servers commonly utilize hypervisors that embody a thin layer between the user's personal space and the overall network. Since there's still sharing involved, VPS cannot be called an extra-secure option.
  • Limitations. VPS still has limitations, such as no control over hardware modifications and scalability limits.

What does a dedicated server offer?

A dedicated server implies physical servers you rent out in a data center. The concept of a dedicated server is in the individual use of its resources - a dedicated server works for one user exclusively. Thus, the server's hardware and software power is targeted in only one direction.

Dedicated servers provide great customization, but setting up a server requires technical know-how. For that reason, dedicated servers can be managed and unmanaged. Managed dedicated servers imply that the hosting provider handles the configuration and troubleshooting. In contrast, unmanaged dedicated servers mean that you, the user, will manage the server.

Pros of dedicated servers

  • Complete control and customization. Dedicated servers, unmanaged servers specifically, allow various customization options related to hardware and software, unlike VPS, which only configures the software aspects.
  • A high level of security. Dedicated servers are inherently the most secure out of all server options. They don’t have to switch between the processes of different users, which protects the server from outside security threats. Also, a user has complete control over the protection measures the server utilizes; this includes the possibility of security hardware being installed on a server.
  • Robust performance. Dedicated servers are built to handle considerable processing loads. Having or running a dedicated server means that you get to harness the power of its hardware components, like the CPU, and translate its resources to power your website through software solutions.
  • Reliable uptime. Dedicated servers are associated with higher uptime metrics than other server solutions. This is due to fewer technical issues or the quick resolution of those that arise and the overall performance reliability.

Cons of dedicated servers

  • Expensive. Many hosting plans with dedicated servers are pretty expensive. And it's not because the server price varies; it's because, in the case of a dedicated server, the price is no longer shared with anybody else.
  • Requires some technical knowledge. The customization possibilities that a dedicated server provides come with the responsibility of managing them. In other words, you can install any hardware or software, but you should also know how to troubleshoot them if any issues arise. Especially when you opt for an unmanaged dedicated server, having an idea of how to maintain a server from a technical standpoint is paramount.

Which one is for you?

If you're still unsure as to which server is more suitable for your website, consider answering the following questions:

  1. What is your budget?

If your budget won't handle a dedicated server, then consider the choice made. But if your budget allows supporting a dedicated server and a VPS, continue with the following.

  1. How much server capacity does your website require?

Suppose you want to host a large e-commerce website with significant traffic, then a VPS might not be able to provide a reliable website performance. In such cases, a dedicated server is the one to go with.

  1. How flexible do you need your server to be?

If you're launching a website and don't know how many resources it will take, flexibility will be an essential factor here; in this case, opt for VPS, as it provides more effortless scalability than a dedicated server.

  1. How much control over the server do you want?

If you want total control of the hardware and software aspects of your server, then a dedicated server is your choice. If you're not planning to manage a server, a VPS might be a better option.

December 5, 2023
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