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Learn what a VPS is and how it differs from other forms of hosting common in cloud computing.
What is a VPS?
A VPS, or virtual private server, is a form of multi-tenant cloud hosting in which virtualized server resources are made available to an end user over the internet via a cloud or hosting provider.
Each VPS is installed on a physical machine, operated by the cloud or hosting provider, that runs multiple VPSs. But while the VPSs share a hypervisor and underlying hardware, each VPS runs its own operating system (OS) and applications and reserves its own portion of the machine's resources (memory, compute, etc.).
A VPS offers levels of performance, flexibility, and control somewhere between those offered by multi-tenant shared hosting and single-tenant dedicated hosting. While it might seem counterintuitive that the multi-tenant VPS arrangement would be called ‘private’—especially when single-tenant options are available—the term ‘VPS’ is most commonly used by traditional hosting providers to distinguish it from shared hosting, a hosting model where all the hardware and software resources of a physical machine are shared equally across multiple users.
At the other end of the continuum, some cloud providers (including IBM) offer a level of hosting isolation( and privacy) beyond a multi-tenant cloud server. Two common models include dedicated hosts and dedicated instances. In both of these models, the end user is getting access to virtual resources, and is likely taking advantage of a managed hypervisor, but is doing so on dedicated, single-tenant hardware.
The next sections provide more detailed comparisons of VPS, shared, and dedicated hosting.
When considering use cases for virtual servers, differences between providers can be truly significant. For traditional hosting providers, a VPS represents a nice balance of cost, flexibility, scalability, and control between shared and dedicated hosting and makes it a good fit for eCommerce, apps that have moderate or spiky traffic, email servers, CRM, etc.
But, beyond that, virtual servers from the major public cloud providers are significantly more robust and feature-rich—they are the foundational building block for much of what is considered “cloud” today and can handle a much more diverse set of workloads.
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