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What Is VPS? A Beginner’s Guide to Virtual Private Servers

A virtual private server (VPS) is a virtual machine that runs on the physical hardware of another computer. You are the host of this instance, and it is completely isolated from everything else on your server. This means if there were any problems with your hosting provider, your VPS instance would not be affected. It is also possible to set up multiple VPS instances simultaneously for different purposes since each has its operating system.

Originally, VPS was a much more basic concept. It was another name for shared hosting, and each VPS instance would have its operating system. This is no longer the case, and there are now many options to choose from in the virtual private server world, including dedicated servers, virtual private clouds, and public VPCs. These are all variations of the same idea; however, it is important to understand that they are not interchangeable. You can use a dedicated server to host a VPC. Still, it will not be able to access the VPC’s resources or other services within that VPC without breaking any rules or policies of your hosting provider’s server management software.

In this guide, we will only be focusing on virtual private clouds. VPS is a subset of the larger category that includes VPCs, dedicated servers, and other variations. However, I’ll refer to the term VPS whenever I mention the more general services.

Although many public cloud offerings are available today, you can use any of them with your existing hosting provider’s account if you have one. If you are looking to change your hosting provider, however, it is important to ensure that your virtual servers can connect to their cloud offering, as it would only be an option if they do not work with certain providers.

What goes into the price of a VPS?

Since you are running your virtual machine on someone else’s hardware, you must know what to expect in terms of cost. You need to understand what hosting plan you will purchase and how much it will cost in dollars. To find this out, ask for the “wholesale” pricing for the same hosting plan so that you can know what is being charged to your account only. You will see separate tiers based on the resources each respective instance can use. This also varies depending on if you’re using a dedicated server or if it’s part of a VPC.

The software you’re using to host your website and other services may also affect the price of your VPS. Refrain from assuming you will pay just $5 per month for a VPS hosting plan if you use a powerful custom cPanel with 1-click install apps. The hosting provider usually absorbs the cost of these extras, and they will likely be reflected in the price regardless. You should also get a discount if you know that you will be committing to them for a long-term basis since this will benefit both parties since they can count on your stay with them even if their competitors offer better deals at different times.

Regarding the price for dedicated servers, you can expect to pay anywhere from $20-200+ per month. This will likely be a range depending on the exact specs that you are being offered. Dedicated servers are a much more dedicated product than VPS, meaning they have their own operating system separate from your server’s operating system. Many of these options will come with additional custom software like cPanel, but in some cases, you may choose an option that is less restricted in what software you are allowed to use on your server. You can find all of these details by visiting the dedicated server provider’s website or by contacting them through the customer support links when viewing the website.

What are the physical specifications of a VPS?

The physical specifications of a dedicated server will vary depending on which provider you are using and what type of server you will be running. You can find these details by contacting them directly or looking up their specs on their website. The less powerful dedicated servers usually have less powerful hardware, resulting in a lower-end price. All these variables can directly impact the price you pay for your VPS, so make sure that you choose wisely when selecting your host.

The host that you are buying from is also important to consider. The company that owns the hosting provider is going to have a significant effect on what type of server you can buy and how much it ends up costing you. In some cases, you may get a better deal if you purchase your host’s products instead of their own. You can try searching for a provider like Namecheap if it needs to be listed in the list of options.

As discussed above, due to technical limitations, it is almost impossible to set up more than one virtual instance on each dedicated server, depending on what’s available from your hosting provider at any given time. The hosting provider will have the final say in how many of these you can purchase if they implement this limit. Sometimes, they will allow more than one virtual instance to connect. However, this is less common, and it may still affect your price.

What does VPS come with?

Two main parts go into the price of a VPS hosting plan; the server resources and the software. By making a deal with your hosting provider, you are purchasing a package that includes these separate components. You can find all this information by contacting them directly or checking their website for pricing details.

The two main components you will need to consider when purchasing a VPS are the operating system (OS) and the applications. If you’re using a dedicated server, this will be a custom Xenon or Debian Linux distribution (Raspbian is an example). This type of distribution is not installed from scratch as it is on your home computer. Instead, it uses pre-configured options that the hosting provider offers. While most hosting providers provide Ubuntu or CentOS as their base, many of them also have their distributions and some will even allow you to install any flavor of Linux that you choose once these are all up and running for the first time.

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