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VPS – A blessing for small and medium businesses

Way back in the 1990s, small businesses didn’t have a choice of using outside service providers for a high-traffic web server, like we use VPS hosting today. They had to buy hardware and shell a substantial amount for dedicated internet feeds. This was not just expensive, but also massively time-consuming.

In the following years, the costs of hardware and bandwidth have definitely come down, but a hosting server still needs minimum one dedicated IP address and sufficient bandwidth to carry the fluctuations in the internet traffic. And it is not worth the hassle for smaller firms. This is when they start looking for internet hosting services.

Now, as a start-up, you can choose between VPS – the virtual private server — to host one or more websites, or rent a dedicated server. A dedicated server is already expensive, so your first choice is the virtual private server.

From the unaffordable server to the Virtual Private Server

This type offers two flavours. The first one provides you with a Virtual Machine on which you can run anything you want. The second one offers a Dedicated Hosting control panel, in which the core web server configuration has to be shared with other users on the machine. So, in a VPS too, your machine resources are shared with other customers. Only, it is different from shared hosting in the way its sharing is accomplished. The performance too is better for the VPS customers.

VPS thus offers you more resources, higher performance, greater freedom, better flexibility, despite the sharing of the machine.

If you haven’t tried VPS yet, you will, sooner or later. Therefore, it is good to know certain facts about web hosting itself.

  1. Web hosting provides servers and internet-related infrastructural plans to companies and businesses to help them get online, support their need for data centres, and manage servers for them, including file maintenance and online services.
  2. There are eight types of website hosting:
    1. Shared – which has a single operating system and allots space to several accounts on one physical machine; guarantees no resources. This is the cheapest option.
    2. Reseller – is a shared hosting account which comes with extra tools to help you resell hosting space and have greater technical control.
    3. Cloud Hosting – is a relatively newer technology that lets a number of servers work together to make it look like one giant server. The hosting company can go on adding commodity hardware to expand the grid or cloud as and when it needs.
    4. VPS – which has lesser number of accounts per machine, with a separate operating system for each and guarantees resources; but a little costlier than the first. So, VPS basically is the hosting provider’s bid to give you the best of both worlds – the power of one and the affordability of the other.
    5. Dedicated — one account per machine, and costly.
    6. Colocation – where you have you are responsible for setting up and maintaining server hardware and get an internet uplink, power, cooling and physical security from the provider. Not a great choice for a small business if it has little technical know-how in-house.
    7. Self Service – as the name suggests, has to be taken care of by the user, entirely. You buy the servers hardware, also do the installation and configuring of the software, ensure enough cooling and power for the machine. Like Colocation, this not an option for small businesses.
    8. Managed WordPress — where it is the provider’s job to keep your WordPress installation up-to- date, so that your site can be protected from security threats.
  3. Companies that go to web hosting providers expect access to their fast web connections. Getting linked to strong data networks by hosting one’s own server is costly. Therefore, businesses leverage the shared cost of a high-speed internet by buying hosting services.
  4. Initially, whoever wanted to create a website had to have his own server, which was a high-maintenance job. The web hosting industry came into being in an attempt to build servers and craft web hosting packages which could meet the needs of users who had smaller budgets.
  5. Web hosting thus gained prominence in meeting common business needs. It grew as a business when people started realising that hosting a server is not a feasible option. Buying servers and renting them out, along with the resources at cheaper costs, became a business. Back then, the technical aspects related to hardware got little attention. VPS was yet to arrive.
  6. Web hosting was initially low in demand, for three basic reasons: Lesser number of people had gotten online; lesser awareness regarding web hosting services, and; it was costlier as there was little competition.
  7. Web hosting revolutionized the business world. The disruption of the internet changed our lives in several ways. All this could be possible due to web hosting. Businesses could jump onto the online bandwagon in a structured and trusted manner only because of web hosting. The change impacted almost every industry, especially marketing.
  8. The affordable yet effective Virtual Private Server is a product of this process. It provides hosting customers greater control, just like in their own servers. While offering much lesser costs than dedicated hosting, it gives a considerable technological upgrade from shared hosting. The hosting company splits one physical server into assured sets of resources for many different VPS hosting customers.
  9. A VPS is like having your own personal computer. Just like an independent PC dedicated to be used by a single person, it becomes a virtual machine that takes care of the needs of each hosting customer. This gives a business the same capabilities as a dedicated server. Having an independent operating system enables a VPS customer to choose which software he wants to install on that particular OS.

Conclusion

While it can also be conveniently used by bigger enterprises, a VPS is a boon for small and medium businesses which could not afford to set up shops in the prime markets. VPS bridges this gap and puts them on an equal plane with larger businesses, for a fair competition.

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Shan Eapen Koshy

Shan Eapen Koshy is a web developer, technical blogger and a YouTuber. He has created several web applications and has written many app scripts.

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