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What is VPS Hosting? A Buyers’ Guide

By Liku Zelleke
— Last Updated: 2018-05-07T09:31:08+00:00

One of the biggest problems you will face while building or running your own website is how and where you are going to host it. That simple yet critical decision will affect how well (or poorly) your website will perform. This makes it essential that you decide on the optimal hosting solution that is available to you. This decision is made difficult by the many kinds of web hosting out there, one of which is VPS hosting.

In this article, we are going to look at what exactly VPS hosting is, what advantages it offers and the drawbacks you might expect to encounter. We will also be looking at VPS hosting from both a business and personal website’s point of view, so unless otherwise stated, whatever we say applies to both.

If you’ve already settled on VPS hosting as the best fit for your burgeoning web empire, maintains a library of web best web hosting services for your needs. Some of our favorites that offer VPS hosting include Bluehost, Hostgator and Dreamhost. 

What is VPS Hosting?

VPS, in this case, stands for Virtual Private Server. This is a type of hosting where a physical server is subdivided into a number of virtual servers (see the difference between a virtual server and physical server in our guide). In other words, when you opt for VPS hosting, you actually get your own portion of a physical server where you can run your own operating system using your own allotted disk space and bandwidth.

Meanwhile, a VPS hosting environment is just like owning your own dedicated server and yet it sits on a physical server that is shared with you and other VPS hosting clients. It can be said that this layout offers you a hosting solution that is both shared hosting and dedicated hosting at the same time.

Benefits of VPS Hosting

There are numerous advantages to opting for a VPS hosting solution. These include, but are not limited to:

Better Uptimes

Nothing could be more harmful to your website than frequent website outages. This is because apart from losing the trust of your visitors and customers, regular downtimes will also negatively affect your SEO rankings.

Remember, much down time is caused by poor web hosting choices. This, in turn, is mainly due to reasons like:

  • Web hosting providers cramming too many clients on a server
  • The servers, or the websites on them, being attacked with malicious software or hacks
  • Client websites crashing and taking the server down with them

With VPS hosting, you get an isolated portion of your server’s resources. Should other clients’ websites or servers go down, yours won’t be affected by their crashes — at least not unless they have taken the whole server with them. Also, most web hosting providers make sure that not too many clients are hosted on each server, thus avoiding overcrowding and a shortage of resources.

Lower Costs

VPS hosting is cheaper than owning a dedicated server and yet offers similar features. In other words, you get to own your own server environment without actually having to pay for the rent of the whole server it sits on.

Easy to Customize

Because you get your own server environment, you will be able to customize it to meet your own specific requirements. This is in contrast to sharing a server, where you will have to settle for the settings that the hosting provider has in place.

With VPS hosting, you can get under the hood and tweak the server environment to grant you much more leeway in the types of websites you can put up, for example, which means you become the administrator of your own virtual server.


Should your business grow or the need to cater to a rise in traffic arises, you will be able to increase your resources (hard disk space, processing power and bandwidth) with ease. In most cases, all it would take to scale up your VPS hosting package is a few clicks and you are all set to go on growing.

Compare this to a shared hosting environment, where the server administrators would either have to move you to a more powerful server, with larger disk space, or require you move to a bigger hosting package to accommodate your increase in resource demands. That would mean downtime as they migrated your package over and the physical move would be highly susceptible to human errors.

Drawbacks of VPS Hosting

Although VPS hosting has only a couple of drawbacks, they still do exist. These disadvantages include:

Expertise Required

Although you will have the freedom of tweaking the inner workings of your virtual server, that advantage comes with a certain amount of risks. The main one is that unless you really know what you are doing, you could end up crashing your virtual server.

This means you, or one of your employees, will need to have an in-depth knowledge in the administration of a server if you want to avoid such a calamity. You will also need to keep an eye on patching and updating the operating system and applications that you use, which makes it a full-time job.

Higher Costs

VPS hosting might be cheaper than opting for a dedicated server, but it is still more expensive than a shared hosting option. This will be a critical drawback if you are still a small business or have a limited budget to work with.

It also wouldn’t make good financial sense to go for VPS hosting unless you have a large amount of traffic visiting your site or have succeeded in generating healthy revenues from it. These two reasons would serve well to offset the cost of having to pay for a higher hosting solution.

Bad Neighbors Causing Crashes

Although you’re running your own server environment, VPS hosting still means you will be sharing a server with other clients. If those clients happen to be bad neighbors they could end up hogging more resources than you. This, in turn, could cause a general slowdown in your server’s performance and even end up crashing the whole server in worst-case scenarios.


VPS hosting may be the way to go if you can check the following boxes.

  • You want to run your own server environment
  • You want to have the freedom of configuring your own server to meet your unique requirements
  • You have the expertise to run and manage a server
  • You have a large website or need to handle a large amount of traffic
  • You have a bigger budget or are able to generate a decent amount of revenue from your website

If you meet any, or all, of these requirements then it is perhaps the right time for you to start researching a good web hosting provider that offers VPS hosting. A good place to start your journey would be to check out our Bluehost review, HostGator review and DreamHost review, as all three services offer VPS hosting plans as well as being all-around good services. 

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