Overview of Virtual Private Servers

VPS hosting or a virtual private server allows a customer to have an individual partition acting as a dedicated server amongst other partitions acting in the same way as one server would normally. Each partition has its own fully fledged operating system, bandwidth, and disk space. And one can also reboot each partition independently of the others. A VPS hosting system allows the customer to have more independence than what normal shared hosting can provide, and also offers a far cheaper alternative to a normal dedicated server.

Virtual Web Hosting

The technology of partitioning an individual server has long been used and has been common practice with mainframe computers. In recent times, there has been a bit of resurgence as new software technology and new software architecture allows the ability to do so in a normal server. One can reboot the physical server normally, but post that, the server then reboots each individual partitioned virtual server so they each run on their on accord, not dissimilar to an emulator. These virtual servers have no direct access to system hardware and are generally booted from the disk image of the server.

There are two basic emulators or virtualizations. Software and hardware based. In a software based virtualization, the virtual platforms operate and share the same kernel and require the resources of the main node. This method sees many benefits in a web hosting environment as it allows for quote incrementing and decrementing in real time without the requirement to restart the node. Good examples of this are Vserver, OpenVZ, Xen, and Viruozzo. In the other type of virtualization that of hardware, the virtualization method works to partition the physical hardware resources.

The benefit to VPS is that it offers more independence from other unrelated customers using the same server and is also more cost effective than running a dedicated server. Customers have the ability to install an unlimited type of software and their own operating system on their own VPS. It should be noted however that certain software types do not run effectively in a virtual private server environment. Firewalls, antivirus and anti malware software to name just a few. Some virtual private server providers do in fact place limitations and restrictions but they are generally far less prohibitive than what they are on a shared hosting platform. A virtual private server does in fact have limited processor facilities, ram and disk space due to multiple virtualization clients running on the same physical hardware.

Virtual private servers have been commonly used as ‘honey pots’ which allows the partitioned machine to test software in its developing stages. This allows one partition or virtualization to test the software whilst the other partitioned virtualization to help update and create code or infrastructure to install on the other to update or fix.

The number of companies which offer virtual private server hosting is on the increase as the offer now normally part of a greater web hosting service or package. There are some who call a VPS a virtual dedicated server or a dynamic dedicated server; they are one of the same.

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