Monday, October 27, 2008

What is Virtual Private Web Hosting

A virtual private web hosting is a type of web hosting that bridges the gap between a shared web hosting and a dedicated web hosting. Typically in a Virtual private Web hosting or Virtual Web Hosting(also called as Virtual Private Server VPS) has a main physical web server and the resources are shared among several indivisual “Virtual web servers”.

A virtual private web hosting gives the customer a view that his website is the only website running on a web server while actually the web server is shared among several other websites like in Shared Web Hosting. But the major difference between a shared web hosting and a virtual private web hosting is that each user in a VPS has his own operating system and he can use it which ever way he wants( ofcourse with some restrictions from the web hosting company from a security point of view). But in general, a virtual web hosting customer can install softwares on his virtual private server or reboot the virtual operating systems and much more.

Given below are some of the advantages of Virtual Private Server:

Freedom: Although virtual private server shares its resources with other users it gives the user a feeling that he is the only user of the web server. This is mainly due to the virtual environment of the server and the operating system installed on that environment. This gives the user a lot of freedom and he can do whatever he wishes to do with his virtual server. He can do anything from rebooting to reinstalling operating system, installing/uninstalling software and a whole lot of things. However, theoritically the user can install any software he wants; practically it has been known that softwares like Firewalls, anti-virus packages etc dont work well on virtual environments.

Dedicated Processing speed and RAM: In a shared web hosting, the processing speed and RAM depends on the load of other websites hosted on the server along with your website. In a Virtual Web hosting plan, there is a fixed amount of processing speed and Memory(RAM) of the processor resources dedicated to your hosting account. This is more important if you have a high computation or high memory usage software installed on your virtual operating system or a high requirement website.

Dedicated Bandwidth as well: A virtual private web hosting account usually has a dedicated bandwidth for each account. This gives reliability with the availability of your site and the number of concurrent connections that your site can handle.
Flexibility: You can virtually install any software on your virtual private server. This means if you have a website coded in a language that is not installed on your server, you can very well install its interpreter on your server and get going. The best example of this is the use of PHP on a windows machine or the use of Apache on a windows machine.

There are certain disadvantages of Virtual web servers as well. They are:

Although theoritically we can install any software in a VPS, firewalls and anti virus clients are known to not work properly on a Virtual Environment. So, you have to keep in mind the various requirements of your code and your website before purchasing a virtual web hosting package.

Managed/ UnManaged: In a managed virtual web hosting package, you have to monitor and manage your website or hire someone to do that. There are several tools and softwares provided to manage virtual web hosts. In an managed virtual web hosting package the Virtual web server is not managed.

Price: The price of Virtual Private web hosting is considerably higher than that of shared hosting. That is understood as well with the freedom and flexibility that it provides over shared hosting. So, you have to take this point into account as well before selecting a VPS Plan.

Virtual Web hosting is used in several applications including specialized torrents trackers, to creating a sandbox environments to test newer scripts on a web server before making it public to various other applications.

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