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Disadvantages of VPS hosting

What are Virtual Private Servers (VPS) again?

Well, just to recap, a VPS or virtual private server work by partitioning a single physical real blade or server.  Essentially there is one root operating system or OS that creates the Hardware Node. Using software such as Parallel’s Virtuozzo or VMWare the same operating system can then be installed over the top of the Hardware Nodes creating multiple Virtual Nodes.  These Virtual Nodes use the same registry and system files to maximize efficiency and minimise both memory and hard disk usage.  This all allows for independent execution of the virtual servers without interference from the other virtual servers connected to the same physical server or Hardware Node! Got that? If not click here for a little bit more information

Ok, got that, so what are the main disadvantages of VPS hosting?

Hardware Limitations: Well first things first, there are limitations, at the end of the day you are sharing a server and services with other people, and therefore you may at least in theory be competing for resources with other users and thus your users may receive a slower server response time during peak periods, or even God forbid a ‘Website not responding’ type message as they browse your pages.

So, although for most of us and for most of the time this would not be a problem, you should be aware that you may not always have access certain resources such as the processor (CPU) or RAM at any given moment due to a data log jam, especially if you are relying on the burstable memory or CPU needs, again to reiterate this is uncommon. But, even if it is rare, it is important to note that you may not always have access to all the RAM you need at a given moment due to a data log jam.

Now to be fair, if your hosting your site at a service provider that has properly configured and balanced their VPS platforms on servers or blades this would not be something that would arise, and if it did would be for brief and generally inconsequential periods of time.

Although it is unlikely to happen, it is something that can happen and if this is a risk you cannot afford to take for your online business then you are better off getting your own private dedicated server, where all the server’s resources and costs belong to you and you alone.

Greater Responsibility: If you are upgrading from a shared hosting, and are thinking that the limitations are less than you had on a shared platform, that’s all well and good, but don’t forget that extra control comes with a little responsibility.  Under shared VPS solutions you will still not be responsible for the updates and patches for the operating system but you will be responsible for your own, albeit ‘virtual’ server.  All software installations, site maintenance, site security, software patches, security updates and many more would be your responsibility, meaning that you have to solve the headache of software incompatibility and technological headaches just as it would be if you were using a physical dedicated server.

Although this might not be a problem for you as a tech savvy individual used to hosting their own Linux and Windows servers, but if that is not you, and you don’t know much about server side administration but still need the added power and control of a Virtual Private Server then this might be something you may wish to outsource to an expert to manage for you.

Possible Risks: Your web hosting provider may not issue you with your own IP address, if you are used to using shared hosting space this a risk you are familiar with, but if you are looking for a more cost effective option over a physical dedicated hosting machine then you should at the very least be aware that you may be sharing your IP address with other less scrupulous tenants.  Since hosted sites on the same IP addresses are sometimes grouped together this may result in your site being banned from search engines that are actively seeking to remove such sites. So at the very least it would be worth looking into getting your own IP Address.

Reduced Control: Under some VPS platforms users share software components. Although unlikely this sharing may result in an inability to configure individual settings independently of other clients that are hosting on the same virtual server.

Disk I/O: If you are running programs that are heavy user of disk I/O i.e. requires a heavy transfer of data to and from your physical disk space that you may be better served on physical dedicated server over a VPS one.

OK, so is VPS for me?

So, as you can see a VPS solution is not for every site owner.  They are a step up in price and benefits from a shared platform, although to be honest the difference in price between a good shared hosting plan and a good VPS is inconsequential, but still have drawbacks if you are used to the luxury of your own dedicated machine.

If your are currently using a shared hosting plan, have an increase in traffic and aren’t happy with your site’s performance then you are probably about ready to move up to a VPS hosted solution but make sure your read up on moving your hosting provider.

Who else might benefit?

Well, if you are looking for software flexibility, are used to specific checkout or other software, or simply looking for increased flexibility provided by the increased security, ability to host an unlimited number of websites, or just the pleasure of server-side management, then VPS Hosting might just be for you.

We feel, that although VPS Hosting is not for everyone, and that some people might just be better of either with their own dedicated machine, or even a shared hosting platform.  We feel that simply from the cost benefit advantage, VPS hosting solutions provide an excellent solution for a large number of hosted sites.

What are the advantages of VPS Hosting?


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