VPS vs Dedicated Server: What’s The Difference?

If you’re investigating hosting options through a cloud services provider, then chances are you’ve come across both managed VPS cloud and dedicated server products. It can be challenging to figure out which hosting option works best for your website, project, or business. There are many differences between these hosting options that you should be aware of beyond the price. This article will discuss how these options differ and which one best suits your hosting needs.

What is a VPS?

A virtual private server, otherwise known as a VPS, is a virtual machine that’s controlled by the purchasing consumer but otherwise managed by a cloud services provider. In most cases, a VPS is used for hosting a website or a game server. The end-user controls the virtual private server’s software and system settings, while the providing service manages the hardware and maintenance of the machine on which the VPS runs.

A virtual private server is a partitioned portion of a data center’s server hardware. As a result, a single physical computer often hosts a handful of VPS. Each VPS has its own bandwidth and memory usage limitations that typically depend on how much the end-user is willing to pay. However, because each VPS machine is partitioned, the other VPS that is running on the same physical machine cannot affect each other or pose security risks. In fact, each virtual machine running on the physical server might be operating under entirely different operating systems and protocols.

Benefits of a VPS

The central reason why most individuals interested in hosting purchase a VPS is because of its cost. A VPS can cost users as little as six dollars a month while purchasing a dedicated server can be ten times more expensive in comparison. A VPS is typically offered at a handful of price points that vary based on the specs required for your project. The minimum price VPS is often limited to a single core and a few GB of ram. Bandwidth limitations are also differentiators between these price points. Websites with significantly higher traffic will require much more bandwidth than a base price VPS can offer.

If you’re hosting on your own hardware, you’re likely putting an enormous strain on your hardware and your internet connection. Moving your hosting project over to a VPS is a quick way to upgrade the performance of your server and free up your computer. The stability of a VPS is also significantly higher, which means you won’t have to worry about any outages or downtimes.

With a VPS, the user doesn’t need to worry about maintaining any of the hosting hardware. This can also be a drawback rather than a benefit because the operational and security controls for VPS are not as changeable as they might be on a dedicated server. The different price points offered to allow users to upgrade or scale down their VPS should their system requirements change.

When Should I Purchase a VPS?

If you are working on a small hosting project or putting together a simple gaming server for you and a few friends, a VPS is probably the best option. A VPS typically handles more casual tasks. If you aren’t sure how much computing power you’ll need for hosting, it’s almost always best to start with a VPS. You can always scale upwards as soon as you see a need for more computing power for your virtual machine.

What is a Dedicated Server?

A dedicated server is a physical machine that is entirely set aside for the purposes of a single consumer or business. Like hardware that plays host to virtual private servers, Dedicated server hardware is stored in a temperature-controlled data center, with both physical and virtual security measures in place to protect the hosting user’s data. Dedicated servers typically utilize state-of-the-art software, with high-end AMD or Intel processors, and significantly more RAM than you’d find in the average personal computer. Because a dedicated server has all the machine’s physical resources available for a single user, its bandwidth and computing power are significantly higher than a VPS.

Benefits of a Dedicated Server

A dedicated server can carry much heavier workloads than a VPS and supports the deployment of high-resilience infrastructure and Kubernetes containerization applications. In short, it’s a significantly more flexible hosting solution. Because the end-user has complete control over the server, there are also plenty of additional customization options beyond that of a VPS. In many cases, the end-user has direct remote control over the hardware pieces and operating system for their machine without having to maintain any of the physical equipment.

Both a VPS and a dedicated server are highly secure and prevent DDOS attacks, data leaks, and hacks. However, unlike a VPS, the dedicated server has a unique IP address with a flexible location, which can be particularly important when handling high-sensitivity data transfer for purchases and SSL processing. For eCommerce websites and other businesses that operate online, the power and customization of a dedicated server are must-haves for succeeding within the digital retail environment.

When Do I Need a Dedicated Server?

If the bandwidth and processing capacity of VPS hosting options are too limiting for your hosting project, it may be time to upgrade to a dedicated server. If you’re handling more intensive workloads, infrastructure virtualization, or server clusters, you’ll almost always need a dedicated server. Dedicated servers are available at various price points, but unlike a VPS, you won’t be able to scale upwards as quickly. Dedicated servers for the most complex and critical workloads may cost upwards of a thousand dollars per month.

Conclusion — Choosing Between a VPS and a Dedicated Server

Both a VPS and dedicated server offer unique differentiating features beyond the simple difference in price. The performance and customization options of dedicated servers are difficult to beat, but a VPS is significantly more cost-effective and also much easier to scale should your hosting needs change. If you aren’t sure what hosting option best suits your needs, don’t be afraid to reach out to a cloud hosting services provider and ask what they might recommend for your project, website, or business.