A virtual private server is a web server that runs on a virtual machine installed on a single computer which might also be running several other virtual private servers. The virtual private server acts like a dedicated server, to all intents and purposes, offering the same degree of customizability and privacy, but allows the user to share computing resources with other users. Therefore, it is cheaper than renting out an entire server, making it the best option for small businesses or individuals that require highly-customized websites and Internet hosting services.
A virtual private server allows the user to have their own operating system which runs their own hosting software. This gives the user a high degree of control over the software that is installed in their virtual machine, including the type of mail server, file transfer protocol and web server programs. The user can also include more specialized software to run specific programs needed on their websites. In fact, a virtual machine runs very much like an independent computer. Therefore, in theory, you can customize everything within the machine to suit your needs. However, a few providers might impose certain restrictions so be sure to read the fine print before committing yourself to a virtual private server.
The downside to virtual private servers is that the user will need to share hardware resources with other users. However, many providers tend to offer services whereby the user is guaranteed a certain amount of processing power at all times. Although the performance of virtual private servers might not be comparable to those with dedicated servers, users can still expect a certain level of independence in terms of resource availability from the other virtual servers on the same computer.
One useful feature of virtual private servers is that the user can own multiple virtual servers which is a lot more cost-efficient that owning a few dedicated servers. This enables the user to have their actual website on one virtual server, and a test website on another. The latter will allow the user to test new applications or updates without affecting the performance of their original sites, which will minimize possible downtimes.
Therefore, for those who need a large extent of control over their server but do not wish to spend too much on a dedicated server should consider renting out a virtual private server which should give the best of both shared and dedicated servers.
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