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A virtual private server (VPS) is a virtual machine sold as a service by an Internet hosting service.

04

Nov, 19

The A to Z Guide on How to Use VPS Server

With plenty of different hosting options available, from shared hosting to dedicated servers, many users might get lost in all the technical speak and not fully understand each one. We have compiled a full A-Z tutorial on what exactly are Virtual Private Servers (i.e. VPS), their uses, advantages, disadvantages and much more.  We have also included small comparisons between VPS servers and other hosting solutions.

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What is Virtualization?

Let’s start with a brief explanation of what exactly is virtualization. In our case, virtualization is the act of creating a virtual version of something, including virtual computer hardware systems, storage devices, and computer network resources. It is done using a virtualization software known as the hypervisor. In general, a VPS is a virtual machine, performing the functions of a server, running on powerful server hardware.

 

The History of Virtualization

First, let us walk you through the most important historical events and milestones which shaped virtualization into the advanced widely-used technology it is today.

 

The invention of virtual machines

Back in the early 1960s the computers could only execute one task at a time. If there is more than one task to run, you had to assemble the processes into batches and run them as such. This was the norm back then because most of the computer users were in the Scientific Community and thus the aforementioned batch processing system seemed to fit their needs.

Around the same time, IBM began the development of the S/360 mainframe system. It was originally designed as a broad replacement for many of their existing systems with a focus on backward compatibility. It was meant to be a single-user system for running batch jobs, however, on the 1st of July 1963, IBM’s focus has shifted with the announcement of MIT’s (i.e. Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Project MAC. Formerly meaning Mathematics and Computation, it was then renamed as the Multiple Access Computer. In order to further research in this project, which included Operating Systems, Artificial Intelligence, and Computational Theory, MIT needed a system capable of more than one simultaneous users and thus looked for various computer vendors capable of building such a system.

At this point in time, IBM did not see a high demand in the market for time-sharing computer systems and was not willing to make a commitment towards developing such systems. As a result, MIT has a chosen a different vendor which was willing to take the risk of focusing their resources towards the development of the new technology. Such loss of opportunity served as IBM’s much-needed wake-up call, as the demand for similar systems grew.

In response to the growing need for time-sharing systems, IBM designed the CP-40 mainframe, which although never making it outside lab use, was the foundation for the CP-67 system. This was the first commercially available mainframe to support virtualization. The operating system which ran on this computer was referred to as CP/CMS. CP stands for Control Program and was used to create virtual machines which in turn ran the CMS (i.e. Console Monitor System). Although nowadays CMS stands for a completely different thing, back in the 60s it meant a small, single-user operating system designed to be interactive.

This is now considered an important milestone not only for Virtualization technology but also for computers in general as it helped shape the operating systems which we use today. Previous to CP-40 and CP-67, IBM’s focus was on systems that had no user interaction. The computer would be fed the program and once calculations took place, the output was printed either on a screen or paper. The interactive operating system introduced by IBM’s new computers allowed the user to actually interact with the programs while they are running. Despite its official release to the public in 1968, the first stable release of the CP/CMS was not until 4 years later, in 1972.

The traditional approach to virtualization was to divide the system resources among multiple users. A good example of a time-sharing operating system from those years would be the MultiCS, which was initially created as part of MIT’s project MAC and then further evolved by Bell Labs into the Unix OS we all know and love today. This approach to time-sharing provided each user with their own complete operating system. This effectively gave each user their own computer, but at the cost of complexity of the operating system.

 

Portability of Software

As mentioned previously, MultiCS has evolved into Unix, which is a good example of application from another perspective, despite not running a virtualized operating system. Although Unix is not the first multi-user operating system, it is one of the most widely used OSs ever and thus a good example of one.

Since it has the capabilities of having multiple users, Unix is a good example of Virtualization at the User or Workspace level. Multiple users share the same resources (i.e. CPU, RAM, storage, etc.) while each having a profile on their own, separate from the other users of the system. Each user can also install their own sets of applications if it was permitted by the mater user of the PC (the user has root-access). Likewise, security is handled on a per-user basis. Nor only was the development of Unix the first step towards multi-user operating systems, but also the first step towards application virtualization. Now don’t get me wrong, Unix is not an example of application virtualization, but it did allow users for much greater portability of their applications.

Prior to the development and popularization of Unix, nearly all operating systems were written in assembly language and thus could only run on certain hardware they were designed for. Alternatively, Unix was written using the C programming language, therefore only small parts of the operating system needed to be customized for a specific hardware platform. This allowed for the rest of the operating system to be easily recompiled for each hardware platform with little to no changes done to the original OS.

 

Application Virtualization

With the help of Unix and C compilers, an experienced user could run just about any program on any platform, but a compilation of all the software on the platform the user wished to run was still required. To allow for the true portability of software, some form of software virtualization was needed. In 1990, Sun Microsystems began a project known as “Stealth”. Stealth was a project run by Engineers who had become frustrated with Sun’s use of C/C++ API’s and felt there was a better way to write and run applications. Over the next several years the project was renamed several times, including names such as Oak, Web Runner, and finally, in 1995, the project was renamed to Java.

In 1994 Java was targeted towards the Worldwide web since Sun saw this as a major growth opportunity. The Internet is a large network of computers running on different operating systems and at the time had no way of running rich applications universally, Java was the answer to this problem. In January 1996. the Java Development Kit (JDK) was released, allowing developers to write applications for the Java Platform.

At the time, there was no other language like Java. Java allowed you to write an application once, then run the application on any computer with the Java Run-time Environment (JRE) installed. The JRE was and still is a free application you can download from then Sun Microsystems website, now Oracle’s website.

Java works by compiling the application into something known as Java Byte Code. Java Byte Code is an intermediate language that can only be read by the JRE. Java uses a concept known as Just in Time compilation (JIT). At the time you write your program, your Java code is not compiled. Instead, it is converted into Java Byte Code, until just before the program is executed. This is similar to the way Unix revolutionized Operating systems through its use of the C programming language. Since the JRE compiles the software just before running, the developer does not need to worry about what operating system or hardware platform the end-user will run the application on; and the user does not need to know how to compile a program, that is handled by the JRE.

The JRE is composed of many components, the most important of which is the Java Virtual Machine. Whenever a Java application is run, it is run inside of the Java Virtual Machine. You can think of the Java Virtual Machine is a very small operating system, created with the sole purpose of running your Java application. Since Sun/Oracle goes through the trouble of porting the Java Virtual Machine to run on various systems from your cellular phone to the servers in your Data-center, you don’t have to. You can write the application once, and run anywhere. At least that is the idea; there are some limitations.

 

Mainstream Adoption of Hardware Virtualization

As was covered in the Invention of the Virtual Machine section, IBM was the first to bring the concept of Virtual Machines to the commercial environment. Virtual Machines as they were on IBM’s Mainframes are still in use today, however, most companies don’t use mainframes.
In January of 1987, Insignia Solutions demonstrated a software emulator called SoftPC. SoftPC allowed users to run Dos applications on their Unix workstations. This is a feat that had never been possible before. At the time, a PC capable of running MS-DOS costs around $1,500. SoftPC gave users with a Unix workstation the ability to run DOS applications for a mere $500.
By 1989, Insignia Solutions had released a Mac version of SoftPC, giving Mac users the same capabilities; and had added the ability to run Windows applications, not Just DOS applications. By 1994, Insignia Solutions began selling their software packaged with operating systems pre-loaded, including SoftWindows, and SoftOS/2.

Inspired by the success of SoftPC, other companies began to spring up. In 1997, Apple created a program called Virtual PC and sold it through a company called Connectix. Virtual PC, like SoftPC, allowed users to run a copy of windows on the Mac computer, in order to work around software incompatibilities. In 1998, a company called VMWare was established, and in 1999 began selling a product similar to Virtual PC called VMWare Workstation. Initial versions of VMWare workstation only ran on windows, but later added support for other operating systems.

I mention VMWare because they are really the market leader in Virtualization in today’s market. In 2001, VMWare released two new products as they branched into the enterprise market, ESX Server and GSX Server. GSX Server allowed users to run virtual machines on top of an existing operating system, such as Microsoft Windows, this is known as a Type-2 Hypervisor. ESX Server is known as a Type-1 Hypervisor and does not require a host operating system to run Virtual Machines. A Type-1 Hypervisor is much more efficient than a Type-2 hypervisor since it can be better optimized for virtualization, and does not require all the resources it takes to run a traditional operating system.

Since releasing ESX Server in 2001, VMWare has seen exponential growth in the enterprise market; and has added many complementary products to enhance ESX Server. Other vendors have since entered the market. Microsoft acquired Connectix in 2003, after which they re-released Virtual PC as Microsoft Virtual PC 2004, then Microsoft Virtual Server 2005, both of which were unreleased products from Connectix at the time Microsoft acquired them. Citrix Inc., entered the Virtualization market in 2007 when they acquired XenSource, an open-source virtualization platform which started in 2003. Citrix soon thereafter renamed the product to XenServer.

 

Published Applications

In the early days of UNIX, you could access published applications via a Telnet Interface; and later SSH. Telnet is a small program allowing you to remotely access another computer. SSH is a version of telnet including various features such as encryption. Telnet/SSH allows you to access either a text interface or a Graphical interface, although it is not really optimized for graphics. Using telnet, you can access much of the functionality of the given server, from almost anywhere.

Windows and OS/2 had no manner of remotely accessing applications without third-party tools. And the third-party tools available only allowed one user at a time. Some Engineers at IBM had an idea to create a multi-user interface for OS/2, however, IBM did not share the same vision. So in 1989 Ed Lacobucci left IBM and started his own company called Citrus. Due to an existing trademark, the company was quickly re-branded as Citrix, a combination of Citrus and Unix.

Citrix licensed the source code to OS/2 through Microsoft and began working on creating their extension to OS/2. The company operated for two years and created a Multi-User interface for OS/2 called MULTIUSER. However, Citrix was forced to abandon the project in 1991 after Microsoft announced it was no longer going to support OS/2. At that point, Citrix licensed source code from Microsoft and began working on a similar product focused on Windows.

In 1993 Citrix Acquired Netware Access Server from Novell. This product was similar to what Citrix had accomplished for OS/2 in that it gave multiple users access to a single system. Citrix Licensed the Windows NT source code in from Microsoft, then in 1995 began selling a product called WinFrame. WinFrame was a version of Windows NT 3.5 with remote access capabilities; allowing multiple users to access the system at the same time in order to remotely run applications.

While developing WinFrame for Windows NT 4.0, Microsoft decided to no longer grant the necessary licenses to Citrix. At this point, Citrix licensed WinFrame to Microsoft, and it was included with Windows NT 4.0 as Terminal Services. As part of this agreement, Citrix agreed not to create a competing product but was allowed to extend the functionality of Terminal Services.

 

Virtual Desktops

Virtual Desktop Infrastructures (VDI) is the practice of running a user’s Desktop Operating system, such as Windows XP within a virtual machine on a centralized infrastructure. The Virtual Desktop Computers as we think of them today are a fairly new topic of conversation. But are very similar to the idea IBM had back in the 1960s with the virtual machines on their mainframe computers. You give each user on the system their own operating system, then each user can then do as they please without disrupting any other users on the system. Each user has their own computer, it is centralized, and it is a very efficient use of resources.

If you compare MultiCS from back in the 1960s to the IBM Mainframes, it would be similar to comparing a Microsoft Terminal Server to a Virtual Desktop infrastructure today.

The jump from Virtual Desktops on Mainframes to Virtual Desktops as we know them today didn’t really happen until 2007 when VMWare introduced their VDI product. Prior to this release, it was possible for users in a company to use virtual desktops as their primary computers. However, it wasn’t really a viable solution due to management headaches. The introduction of Virtual Machine Manager from VMWare, and similar products from companies like Microsoft and Citrix has allowed this area to grow very rapidly.

That concludes the ride back in time regarding Virtualization technology. Nevertheless, there is much more to Virtual Private Servers than the history of the technology that allows for their existence. Now let us go into some detail about what a VPS actually is, its features operating costs and much more.

What is a VPS server?

A VPS or a Virtual Private Server is a service used in the hosting world where it acts as a standalone dedicated server. With the use of cloud technology and virtualization, the VPS comes into play. A VPS server has its own dedicated resources but the difference is that in one powerful physical server there can be more than one VPS. By the use of virtualization, the physical server is divided into the required number of Virtual Private Servers and the resources are dedicated accordingly. The following picture will make it easier to grasp the idea of the VPS.

Dedicated Server vs VPS

As shown above, the resources are dedicated to that specific VPS which means that you won’t have to share the CPU, RAM or any other data with anyone else. The performance will be guaranteed with a VPS rather than constantly having to worry about it when using a shared hosting service. The VPS comes with complete root access just like using a dedicated server, and also with better security. If something happens to a VPS on the system, it will not affect you since your VPS is completely isolated.

There are some key advantages that need to be taken into consideration when using VPS hosting.  A remarkable decrease in price relative to a dedicated server while getting similar services, a server with complete control and a private environment for you to work on are on the top features.

For a better understanding let me show the difference between a VPS hosting and shared hosting services. A shared hosting service is simply a server where you can host your website but the server is shared among a lot of users. While your data is stored in the server, the RAM, Bandwidth and other resources are shared among the users. This has the potential of leading your website to perform poorly which in turn limits you in answering your customers’ requests. In shared hosting, you don’t have the choice to use the software you need, but only what is provided by the hosting provider (However there is a possibility to request the software from your hosting provider). Adding to that, there is a lack of security because if the server comes face-to-face with a malicious activity the whole server including all the users are affected. Despite all the negativity, a VPS will basically solve all those drawbacks. It is secure, you have the access to install whatever software you need and you will have your own set of resources.

A Virtual Private Server is a perfect hosting choice as it has a balance of performance, security, and price. There comes the point of price for a VPS as it is expensive than a shared hosting service but the thing to take into consideration is that if you are capable of managing a VPS account. If you are sufficiently capable with the technicalities that come with VPS hosting, then this is the best option to grow your business the way you want without any restrictions.

 

What does VPS stand for?

The online presence for a business is a very crucial factor as internet technologies have become a part of our daily life. We have already implemented activities that range from communicating with each other to buying products and services online. Due to this, there is a big opportunity to work your way to the top by having a very attractive unique website, but will that be enough? If your website will not be able to handle the traffic coming to your site, that will lead to a downfall of your potential clients. This is where the VPS comes to play. A VPS is a Virtual Private Server and as the name suggests, it is a virtual server. The acronym is used when referring to VPS hosting and often people confuse it with VPN although the two are completely different things.

A VPS has the capability to do more than just hosting a website but we will talk more on that a bit down the road. A VPS operates very similarly to a dedicated server, but the only difference is that instead of having a physical server, you will be sharing a server. Sounds pretty similar to shared hosting? Sounds similar but it’s more like a combination of shared hosting and dedicated servers. A VPS will have its own dedicated resources just like in a dedicated server but in a physical server, there will be more than one VPS (this is where the virtualization comes to play).

Let’s try to get to know what exactly VPS hosting is. In shared hosting, a physical server is divided among multiple users and the resources are shared amongst each other. The resources and traffic will be shared among the other users and you will not have complete access to customize the server the way you want. In a Virtual Private Server however, you will not be sharing any of the resources that you were given and the freedom to customize your server the way you want it to work. The difference between a VPS and a dedicated server is that a dedicated server resides on a physical server while the VPS will have other VPS on a physical device.

 

VPS vs Dedicated Server

A VPS is capable of performing some of the functions of a dedicated server at just a fraction of the price, but there are limits. At the end of the day, as the name suggests, a VPS is one of a few virtual machines running on a powerful server. A dedicated server on another hand is a full computer rented out to one person.

Therefore, there is a large superiority dedicated servers have over VPS servers regarding resource allocation. You can imagine it like the difference between sharing a car with other passengers and driving one by yourself. In this example, sharing a car with 4 other passengers would be having a VPS, thus your resources are shared between the passengers (like all passengers sharing air conditioning and music from the radio). Having a dedicated server, on the other hand, is like driving a car on your own. You have full control over all of the car’s resources. VPS hosting undoubtedly has its benefits, but I can’t even compare to the amount of resources you get from dedicated servers.

VPS hosting is also very secure, however, dedicated servers are again yet in a whole another level here. The best way to describe it would be to compare having a VPS to owning an apartment in an apartment building, while having a dedicated server is like owning a standalone house with very high walls (if you have proper security measures on your dedicated server). Now apartments in a building have walls between them, thus providing decent privacy and security, however, it still cannot compare to the amount of privacy and security a standalone house would provide you with.

 

VPS vs Shared Hosting

The amount of bandwidth in and out of your server is one consideration. Inbound bandwidth is usually less important than outbound bandwidth because unless your visitors will be uploading a lot of data, inbound HTTP requests will be small in size compared to the documents and images that your site will return for each page request.

Shared hosting platforms are usually not set up for high volumes of traffic and processing since the power of the server must be distributed between dozens, or sometimes hundreds or thousands of other users and websites. But, for average-sized and trafficked sites, such as hobby sites or “pamphlet” information-only domains, or even small blogs, shared hosting is perfectly acceptable. Sites that require more intense server-side functions, like online stores or sites which generate documents such as invoices or quotes, or sites which convert audio or video on the fly, may need more resources allocated than would come with your average Shared hosting account.

Additionally, sites that have higher outbound bandwidth, like those that serve up audio or documents to users, will need additional bandwidth (and disk space) that Shared hosting may not provide, and a VPS would be better in those cases.

The plain number of visitors or page loads on your site may not completely describe the processing and bandwidth needs of your site. If the site is not properly optimized for processing, the server will have to work harder for each page load. And, if you utilize a Content Delivery Network (CDN), then your outbound bandwidth usage will be considerably lower since images and other static files will be served from other locations.

A shared hosting package is, of course, shared amongst multiple occupants. Therefore, if you have a “noisy neighbor” who is overusing CPU time or eating up memory, then there will be less available for the remaining websites, including yours, causing them to suffer in performance.

Modern Shared hosting providers will combat this by introducing resource limitations, such as maximum RAM usage, the maximum number of processes, and maximum CPU percentage. These work to combat the “noisy neighbor” problem, but could limit you from temporarily overusing resources to run, say, statistics, or compile your nightly order list. Being able to temporarily break these shared resource limits is called “bursting”, which is an option for some hosts.

To a much lesser extent, the noisy neighbor issue is also present on Virtual Private Servers that have multiple tenants per server node. Multiple virtual servers can be run on one physical server, but modern hypervisors (the software that runs the parent machine) are intelligent enough to silo VPSs very well, and even if one VPS is going hard and running out of memory, even to the point of having a kernel panic or halt state, the other VPSs on the parent machine will generally take no notice at all. But, several hosts also offer bursting of CPU and RAM for VPSs, which can still affect your own private server.

There are “Virtual Dedicated” packages available at some hosts which provide all of the resources on one parent (dedicating it to your VPS) to avoid noisy neighbors but retaining the hypervisor’s scalability and management.

One of the major differences between VPS hosting and Shared hosting is the average price of each platform. Shared hosting could be had for anywhere between $2 and $30 a month from various vendors, while VPSs start somewhere around $30, with nearly no upper price boundary. With these various price points come varying amounts of resources, including support, Memory/CPU resources, disk space, and bandwidth.

Different hosting providers may provide different price points for seemingly identical resource availability, but make sure you discern these differences carefully. Find out what kind of scalability is available, if there are any baked-in backup solutions for the platform, support response times, and what portions of the hosting platform are managed. You should also ask to see what self-service documentation is present and whether you can preview the control panel and management interface for your hosting. Finally, see if there are extra costs necessary for any of these add-ons that could affect your final monthly or yearly hosting costs.

 

VPS operating systems:

As we all know by now a VPS is a physical server that is partitioned into several virtual machines where each VPS gets full control over the server.  But before getting hands-on with the VPS, the most important decision will be to choose the operating system. This is not a very light choice to make because this will decide which apps you will be able to install, form the core of your server and how your server will perform. There are two platforms that you can work with when it comes to a VPS: Linux or Windows. The Operating systems have their own ups and downs depending on what it’s been used for.

 

Linux Operating Systems

The main reason for Linux to be the go-to OS among the hosting world is that it’s an open-source software with a very high level of manipulation and control. Choosing a Linux VPS gives you a lot of freedom in order to customize and optimize your server the way you want. Nowadays there are 5 main Linux distributions that are leading the pack: CentOS, Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Different Linux distributions work best for specific tasks but there are some common advantages to take note if you are planning on choosing Linux for your VPS.

  • A Linux VPS consumes fewer resources which increases the website performance and reduces the possible downtimes. With the help of a control panel (like cPanel), it’s possible to allocate resources to specific applications thus giving you the flexibility and reliability you need.
  • The Linux platform is an open-source code which means that you could change the configurations, customize the server for your needs and preferences while removing the parts you would not need.
  • With a Linux VPS, you will not have problems improving your server uptimes, or making your website user-friendly because it supports a wide range of coding languages. Compatibility will not be an issue.

The biggest limitation is that you will need to have a high level of technical and programming knowledge to get the best out of the operating systems.

 

Windows Operating Systems

Windows VPSs are equipped with the Windows operating system. However, the biggest difference between the two main VPS operating systems is that the Windows VPS is more expensive because the Windows OS is commercial software. The main advantages of a Windows VPS are as follows:

  • All Windows VPS comes with a familiar user-friendly Graphical User Interface (GUI) which is very useful for people who are not used to a non-GUI platform.
  • The servers are equipped with very strong security systems including antivirus software, firewalls and anti-spy programs which will protect your data from third parties.
  • Windows VPSs are equipped with programs like ASP and ASP.NET which can be used to create complex websites or manipulating the current website.

Now it comes down to the choice of which OS is the better one for your VPS. As mentioned above the strengths of each OS are pretty straight forward. Each OS has its own strengths and weaknesses so there won’t be one that is ultimately superior to the other. My suggestion is that you should choose the OS which will work with the systems you have and the one which you are most comfortable with using.

 

What is a VPS Server Used For?

So far, we have focused on hosting a website as the main function of a virtual private server. There are many other uses a VPS can provide beyond the standard hosting plan. Here are some of the most common VPS use cases:

 

Hosting a Personal Server

Although you do not have access to the same computational power as a dedicated server, a VPS is a server nonetheless and thus can perform many alike tasks. Certain VPS servers are even capable of running small VOIP servers, however, the setup requires a good level of expertise.

 

Additional Storage

There is a valid concern about cloud services being unsafe to use, with many cases of data leaks and security breaches many major tech companies. These cloud services can also be quite expensive. Keeping your most important files in a VPS set up with proper security measures could be a safe and cost-effective method for getting rid of those pesky external hard drives for backups. You could even set-up a private sync service on your VPS,

 

Testing Environment

For the more tech-interested, a VPS is an excellent environment to test new software, operating system setups, and even new hardware before deploying to actual use.

 

VPS for VPN

Remember when any place on the internet used to be accessible by anyone from anywhere with the appropriate device and web address? Nowadays, government censorship and geoblocking restrict you from accessing the content you want. In addition, we hear news about another Internet privacy scandal almost every week. If you wish to browse freely and securely, a VPN server comes in handy.

Initially, a VPN server has been used for business purposes, so employees could access the company’s internal data in a safe and secure way (that’s how a VPN got its name - Virtual Private Network). With the alarming need to protect privacy on the Internet, more and more individuals use VPN for personal

There are many VPN providers in the market that offer VPN servers in different locations. They are useful in cases when you just want to avoid geo-blocking and don’t worry about your privacy. But if you share or access sensitive data or you don’t want anyone to know about your activities, you need to trust your VPN provider. In that case, you can become your VPN provider yourself and install a VPN server on a VPS.

 

VPS as a Proxy

Proxy literally means “a representative”. It works as an intermediary between your device and the rest of the Internet. When your device sends a request, a proxy intercepts it and checks whether it has requested data in the cache. If yes, it returns the cached version of the data without connecting to the requested resource. If not, a proxy server passes your request further but changes your IP to its own. Because of the fact that proxy hides an endpoint device’s IP addresses, it is often confused with a VPN. However, apart from the IP hiding, a VPN and a proxy server are used for different purposes.

Why use a proxy server?

  • To hide your IP. Same as a VPN, a proxy server can be used to avoid geo-blocking, check regional targeting and access restricted resources.
  • To take control of your local network. If you are an employer, school principal or run a cybercafe, set up a proxy between your company’s network and the rest of the Internet. This way you can control resources that your users are allowed to access.
  • To save bandwidth and speed up requests. Since a proxy caches content, it can significantly reduce bandwidth by serving cached content for frequently requested data.
  • A reverse proxy can be also used as a load balancer to protect your main service from going down during load spikes.

Why not use a proxy server?

A proxy server does not encrypt traffic from your device. So, if you wish to explore the Internet securely, your choice is a VPN server.

Any proxy server will be fine for avoiding blocks, even a free one (just remember that if you want to protect your privacy, a free proxy is as helpful as a tinfoil hat). For more advanced proxy usage you will need to have a server with root access (a VPS or a dedicated server). A proxy server does not require many resources, that’s why you can save money and set up a proxy on a VPS.

 

Advantages of VPS Hosting

A virtual private server is a very versatile service with countless possible applications. Unlike shared hosting, the user gets full administrative or root access to the server. Although meaning that a certain level of server management experience is required to successfully use a VPS, it also allows the users to have complete control over the service they are paying for. Therefore the server admin only needs to know how to implement the task at hand into the VPS, making almost any function that can be performed with the allocated resources possible for the virtual server.

 

Root Access

Root access that we have mentioned earlier opens a number of possibilities for a VPS owner.

First of all, root access offers independence from the hosting provider in terms of software. While the hosting provider still manages the server’s hardware, a choice of software is on a user. It’s you, not your hosting provider, who decides when it is the right time to upgrade, for example, cPanel or MariaDB. We cannot say that this freedom is absolute, though, compared to the dedicated hosting plan. If a bare-metal server has a hosted hypervisor installed, its OS must be compatible with a guest OS. For instance, if a physical machine runs Linux, it’s impossible to install Windows as a guest OS. A native hypervisor is compatible with any OS. Apart from that limitation (and apart from illegal activities, of course), VPS users can install whatever software they want.

More than that, with root access a user has full information about the server’s performance, knows exactly when to upgrade or downgrade, and can check server logs of different kinds without reaching out to their hosting provider.

 

Isolation from Other Users

Having shared hosting account – although cheap, is quite unsecure. If someone on a shared server becomes a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack target or gets blocked for mass mailing, other accounts on the server will be affected as well. Also, if a shared account abuses server resources, the whole server will be impacted. Using a VPS provides full isolation from what other users do on the server. You won’t be bothered no matter what your neighbors are doing.

 

Scalability

VPS hosting is a very scalable solution by its very nature. Virtual machines don’t depend on their physical server; as we have said, they don’t even recognize it exists. If a VPS needs to be upgraded or downgraded, all a hosting provider needs to do is to adjust the limits for this VPS in a hypervisor. After the reboot, a guest OS will work like nothing happened, using new hardware quotas. This comes in handy if you are not able to estimate the technical specifications you need before you run some tests. Also, if you have a seasonal business (e.g. you sell beach equipment), you can choose to have a more powerful server during your peak demand season and a cheaper one for the rest of the year.

 

Snapshot Support

A great advantage of VPS, compared to both shared and dedicated solutions is snapshot technology support. A snapshot is a state of a system at a certain point in time. It works like game saves in your favorite computer game. If a game is not going well, you can exit and start from a checkpoint. A snapshot works the same way; if you need to go back in time, your system can be restored from a snapshot to its previous state. It is extremely useful in case of a system failure or simply if you run complex tests and wish to save your progress. Unlike a backup option that copies the whole system each time you run it, a snapshot contains only changes. This means that a snapshot takes less space than a backup and can be created/restored quicker. It does not mean that you do not need backups though. Backups are still life-savers in case of operating system failure. Don’t forget to store them externally.

 

Disadvantages of a VPS

Where there are positives, there will always be downfalls since no service is perfect. Although a virtual private server could be used in nearly any scenario that a dedicated server could be used in, it is still a virtual machine running alongside other virtual machines on a hardware server. The raw performance numbers are just not present to perform some of the more complex tasks that dedicated servers are capable of, which is, in turn, understandable as a VPS costs only a fraction of that of a dedicated server.

The above facts ascertain the importance of correctly using the VPS. It has more power, so more responsibility is also needed to control such a powerful system. You can also check the powerful features of the dedicated web hosting server if your website really needs more power and greater features. Also, the dedicated web server offers you the entire physical server’s powers and features, and as in the case of the VPS, your server’s physical resources like the RAM are not shared with other users.

Remember that the great powers and features of the dedicated web server are available for expensive fees to you. So, if your website really needs more powers and features than the shared web hosting server, and if your website is not a very critically important e-commerce website, then opt for the VPS.

The VPS is quite economical, efficient and offers excellent benefits for your website. When you consider the importance of your growing website that will not tolerate the amateur shared web hosting features but cannot yet afford the high-cost dedicated web hosting server, the VPS offers you the greatest possible benefits and advantages in carrying out unobstructed web service. VPS is being used by most of the online businesses quite powerfully, efficiently, and satisfactorily.

 

How much does a VPS cost?

This is a question that is nearly impossible to answer with just a simple number. VPS prices vary greatly based on which service provider you choose and the physical configuration of the server (if the chosen provider allows for such customization). As technology progresses, newer and more powerful hardware is being released and its general prices are getting lower. Thus, renting a virtual private server definitely costs way less than it did back in the day.

As a rule of thumb, a Virtual Private Server will have different costs depending on its configuration. At MonoVM, we have four different types of VPS services.

  • Windows VPS
  • Linux VPS
  • Hosting VPS
  • SSD VPS

 VPS Pricing

 

Windows VPS

At MonoVM, all our Windows VPS come with full administrator privileges which gives you full control over your server. It’s possible to access the VPS through Microsoft’s Windows Remote Desktop software from any operating system, including mobile devices. You will have the free choice of choosing the operating system you desire and MonoVM’s utilization of SSD caching and RAID10 configurations allow for a better performance as well as data redundancy. All our Windows VPS plans come with unlimited Bandwidth of 1Gbps and 1 free IPv4 address plus the choice of choosing your Windows operating system.

The prices vary depending on the Windows VPS configurations which you can see below. (As Windows OS are not open source, the prices are a bit higher)

Windows VPS Prices

The prices range from $16.99 to $69.99 for our Windows VPS and this is due to the specific configurations. Let’s see what exactly is included for $16.99. You will get a Windows VPS equipped with a 1024MB RAM, 1 core of CPU, 20GB of HDD space and the common features (Like unlimited bandwidth, 1Gbps speed, 1 free IPv4 and the OS). So as you can see the plans price increases due to the differences in CPU, RAM, and the HDD space. For the best option for our clients, we recommend the third option as it has the best price and performance for the majority of uses.

 

Linux VPS

All our Linux VPS plans provide full root access and upgradability. At MonoVM, the Linux VPS servers are based on VMware ESXi and run on enterprise-grade hardware. Almost all the Linux distributions are available with all our Linux VPS plans and we suggest to use cPanel or DirectAdmin control panels when managing your Virtual Private Server. You will not have to go to other sites to get the control panels, just add it on our ordering page.

The prices range depending on the configurations which you can see below.

 Linux VPS Prices

We have 4 most popular configurations as you see above which range from $6.99 to $29.99. All our Linux VPS plans come with unlimited Bandwidth with 1 Gbps, 1 free IPv4 address and a free choice of operating system from our Linux Distributions. The change in prices of our plans depends mainly on the CPU, RAM and the HDD space which comes with the specific plan. If however, you want to see more plans you can always check all our Linux VPS plans.

 

SSD VPS

Unlike classic hard drives, whose performance is greatly limited by the moving mechanical parts, Solid State Drives can provide lightning-fast read and write speeds. The SSD VPS services provided by MonoVM use a RAID10 configuration in order to achieve speeds of up to 400,000 IOPS. Our SSDs are also enterprise-grade, allowing for speeds un-achievable through regular consumer SSDs. For greater performance and higher speeds, our SSD Virtual Private Servers are the best fit for you and you can choose the perfect location which you will need from our list of locations.

SSD VPS Prices

All our Solid State Drive VPS plans come with unlimited Bandwidth with 1Gbps port, 1 free IPv4 address and your choice of Operating system (Linux or Windows). The difference in the prices depends on the CPU, SSD storage and the RAM. The higher these factors are the higher the price gets. We recommend you to get the third option as it has the power and performance needed for the majority of work needed to be done and a reasonable price for the services you get.

All mentioned prices and services all come with a 24/7 support team willing to cater to all your needs.

 

Why pick the SSD VPS over a more traditional one based on HDDs?

For decades, hard disk drives have been used as the main storage devices in the IT field, but with the latest technological advancements, solid-state storage has been becoming the next step in performance improvements for both consumer desktop computers and servers alike. Over the past few years, SSDs have become significantly larger in storage size, as well as becoming more affordable, allowing them to be implemented in more complex server configurations.

Our VPS servers were previously all based on high-speed enterprise-grade Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) from Seagate, Toshiba, and WD. Even though they provide top-of-the-line read and write speeds and large amounts of storage space, they still rely on mechanically spinning magnetic drives to store data, which creates limits to the harnessed performance and gives a potential threat of drive failure. The way HDDs store data is by moving an actuator head that magnetizes or demagnetizes the part of the platter (hard disk) that is responsible for the information stored.

Modern technological advancements allow for a faster, more reliable nonvolatile storage solution: solid-state drives (SSDs). Unlike traditional spinning drives, they solely rely on transistors and capacitors to store your data. Solid-state drives lack moving parts and are not vulnerable to fragmentation, which allows them to have significantly higher performance than their mechanical counterparts. In fact, SSDs are using most of their components’ potential, only limited by the SATA connections they use.

Even though SSDs became available on the market since the mid-90s, only recently has the storage technology been ripe enough to incorporate into enterprise usage. There is still a multitude of challenges that need to be faced when setting up servers based on SSD storage, however, the expert networking team at MonoVM has been able to overcome said challenges and were able to launch our first servers completely based in solid-state drives in 2018. Since then, we were able to launch more SSD VPS servers in New York, USA; Montreal, CAN; Manchester, UK; and Frankfurt, DE.

There is a common misconception on the amount of performance that can be gained when upgrading from a traditional hard drive to solid-state storage. Most believe in a 50% to 100% performance increase, however that is simply untrue. To put it into a better perspective, an average HDD will have a throughput of up to 200MB/s, however, a modern SSD can have a read speed of up to 3,500MB/s and a write speed of up to 2,100MB/s. This example shows a performance increase of 1,650% in read speeds and 950% in write speeds.

However, the above example is just that, an example. Real-life performance is based on many more factors than just read and write speeds. One such factor is the configuration in which the said SSD is set up. MonoVM SSD VPS servers use enterprise-grade high-speed SSDs combined with a complex RAID10 setup, allowing for the performance of up to 300,000 IOPS (Input/output Operations Per Second). Despite the astronomical performance of our storage solutions, we do not compromise on data redundancy, meaning that the information stored on your VPS is safe in case of any possible server issues.

 

Which VPS is the best?

At the start of your website, it’s best to choose a shared hosting service but as the site grows, so should the needs and this is the point where you should consider upgrading to a virtual private server. Since the resources for a VPS are not shared, your website will be much faster and more responsive. That’s all good, but how can you choose the best VPS for you? How can you pick the VPS which suits you the best? Let’s go through the VPS plans at MonoVM and boil down to the key factors that you need to look in a Virtual Private Server.

The best VPS hosting provider is the one that meets all your needs, and the key factors to look before getting a VPS are:

  • Price
  • Features
  • Support
  • Bandwidth

The choice of a VPS really depends on your needs. If you are growing on your website and the shared hosting is just not enough, it’s better to go to a budget-friendly VPS server to get that extra dedicated resources. On the other hand, if your website has a lot of high-quality content, then it’s better to choose a plan with higher storage, RAM and CPU.

We have three different types of VPS hosting:

  • Windows VPS hosting
  • Linux VPS hosting
  • SSD VPS hosting

Windows VPS: As the name suggests, these Virtual Private Servers are run on Windows Operating Systems. Unlike other VPS providers, all our server plans come with unlimited Bandwidth of 1Gbps speed and 1 free IPv4 address. The first plan of Windows VPS ($16.99 per month) comes with 1 core CPU, 1024 MB RAM (Random Access Memory) and 20 GB of HDD memory. The top tier plan of Windows VPS ($69.99 per month) comes with 4 core CPU, 8192 MB of RAM and 200 GB of HDD (Hard Disk Drive) space. It’s not only limited to 2 plans but we got 2 more Windows VPS plans in between the two mentioned above for you to choose from. Also, we have 24/7 support to all our clients via live chat and ticketing system.

Linux VPS: These types of Virtual Private Servers are powered by Linux Distributions. All our Linux VPS plans come with unlimited Bandwidth of 1Gbps speed and 1 free IPv4 address. The first plan of Linux VPS ($6.99 per month) comes with 1 core CPU, 512 MB RAM and 15 GB of HDD memory. Our top tier plan for Linux VPS ($64.99 per month) comes with 4 cores of CPU, 8192 MB of RAM and 150 GB of HDD space. We also have more Linux VPS plans that you can have a look into. Also, we have 24/7 support to all our clients via live chat and ticketing system.

SSD VPS: The SSD (Solid State Drive) VPS plans are a perfect choice if you want high speeds and uninterrupted services. All our SSD plans come with unlimited Bandwidth with 1Gbps speed and 1 free IPv4 address. The first plan of SSD VPS ($19.99 per month) comes with 1 core CPU, 1 GB RAM and 20 GB of SSD memory. Our top tier plan for SSD VPS ($76.99 per month) comes with 4 cores of CPU, 8 GB of RAM and 80 GB of SSD memory. We have more plans in between these plans for you to choose from. All our clients can reach us through our 24/7 support via live chat and ticketing system.

VPS

Max RAM

Bandwidth

Max CPU

Max Storage

Root Access

Cheapest price

Windows

8 GB

Unlimited

4 core

200 GB

Yes

$16.99

Linux

8 GB

Unlimited

4 core

150 GB

Yes

$6.99

SSD

8 GB

Unlimited

4 core

80 GB

Yes

$19.99

No matter what your use will be, we have a choice for you. If by any chance you won’t be able to find a specific configuration, you can always reach us and we can provide a customized plan just for you.

Now that you have chosen what VPS suits you best, let us give you a few simple tutorials on how to use your VPS of choice.

 

How to connect to a Windows VPS?

There are different ways to transfer files between virtual private servers and computers, or vice versa. Although the method we will show you today adds the computer as a visible drive to your VPS, the files are still sent through the internet, thus the transfer speed will be affected by your connection. It will not be as fast as copying files between drives locally. 

The method shown in this article has many advantages such as:

  • Files are available in only a few clicks
  • No configuration required
  • No need to install any applications

 Here's how it's done:

  1. Run the Remote Desktop Connection on your PC.
  2. Click on Show Options.

 connect to Windows VPS 1

  1. Open the Local Resources tab.
  2. Press More... button under Local devices and resources category.

 connect to Windows VPS 2

  1. Now choose drives you want to share, click OK and connect to the VPS.

connect to Windows VPS 3

Now you have shared one of your PC’s drives and have access to it from your VPS. This shared drive shows alongside the other VPS drives.

 

How to connect to a VPS from an Android device?

One of the beauties of using a VPS is the fact that it is possible to manage your server without even access to a computer. All you basically need is an internet connection and a smartphone running Android. Here’s how to do it:

 Connect to VPS from Android

  • Open the application. You should see a first page such as below. Tap the “+” icon in the top right section.

 Connect to VPS from Android

  • Select desktop to make a desktop connection.

 Connect to VPS from Android

  • Enter the valid IP of your VPS in the “pc name” section. Also if you want to save your login credentials in this application, go to the user account name and save the server credentials. If you leave it blank, every time you want to log in, credentials will be asked from you. Tap Save to add the connection on the home page.

 Connect to VPS from Android

  • After you save the connection, it appears on the home page and you can connect to the VPS by tapping on it.

 Connect to VPS from Android

  • After selecting the VPS the application will start connecting to the VPS

Connect to VPS from Android

  • If you left empty “user account” option in step-4, here you should enter your login credentials again.

Connect to VPS from Android

  • The authentication page will be shown. Accept if you want to proceed to connect to your server.

 Connect to VPS from Android

  • And it’s done; you are now connected to your VPS.

 Connecto to Windows from Android

 

How to connect to a Linux VPS?

In this case, the Windows PC will be referred to as the source and the Linux VPS will be referred to as the destination.

  • For the purposes of demonstration, we have created a file on the desktop named “test.txt”.

Connect to Linux VPS

  • Open “Run” by pressing the Windows key on your keyboard+R or by typing run into the search bar
  • In the opened window type cmd and press Enter.

Connect to Linux VPS

  • Enter the file's directory by typing cd followed by the file path. (In this case, the file is on the desktop, so we write cd desktop).
  • Use the “SCP” command in the same format as shown below to upload the file.

      “SCP filename.extension username@server_address:file/path”

Connect to Linux VPS

  • If this is your first time connecting to the server, Windows will ask you to accept the security alert. Please do so.
  • Next, you will have to enter the destination server's password.

Connect to Linux VPS

  • Once the correct password has been entered, your file will be uploaded.

To verify that the file is transferred, open putty and connect to the destination server. Use the “Nano” or “vi” editor to open the file.

Connect to Linux VPS

As seen below, the file has been uploaded and is available on the server.

Connect to Linux VPS

 

What is cloud server hosting?

So is VPS the same as cloud server hosting? The answer is, No. Cloud server hosting is when you are provided with hosting services through the internet. Usual hosting services provide a single server or virtual servers, but cloud server hosting services are provided by connecting multiple servers to create a cloud (online network). The cloud server hosting is also referred to as a cluster server hosting. This type of hosting is the latest form of hosting and became popular over the past few years. The resources for your web server are spread across multiple servers and used per need basis which greatly reduces server downtime in case something happens to a server. With cloud hosting it is possible to manage peak loads easily as the other servers in the cloud will provide the additional resources that are needed. Your website won’t have to rely on one server but have a cluster of servers that work together to keep your site up and running.

The best example for cloud server hosting is none other than Google itself. Google has its resources spread around hundreds of servers which made it possible to have no downtime at all over the past years. In cloud server hosting, each server carries out specific tasks (as mentioned above) and if in any case, a server faces malfunctions, then another server in the cloud takes over temporarily. In cloud hosting services, the quality of the servers needs to be the prime focus. The hardware used for the server has to be of enterprise-grade quality as to be able to manage high loads if needed.

To have a better understanding let’s compare cloud hosting with dedicated hosting and VPS hosting. When we consider cloud hosting with dedicated hosting, the reliability factor goes to cloud hosting. Since there are multiple servers in cloud hosting compared to a single dedicated server which makes it possible to handle any kind of emergency situation without a sweat. Although when it comes to the cost factor, the cloud servers tend to be slightly more expensive.

However, if we consider cloud hosting with a Virtual Private Server, the cost factor is extremely low getting a VPS. As the VPS is a single server divided into multiple Virtual Servers, the investment is relatively low. However, if you’re not looking for the reliability which is guaranteed from the cloud hosting, then VPS is the best choice for the price and services.

Cloud hosting has come a long way and is getting popular among the hosting world. However, the high pricing is what makes this service not so popular amongst the small/medium business owners. As I explained earlier, cloud hosting has taken out all the negative aspects of traditional hosting but this comes with a price and that’s what’s keeping this service reluctant to the majority of businesses.