A virtual private server (VPS) is an instance of a virtualized physical server that has dedicated compute, network, and storage resources. A VPS functions similarly to a virtual machine, but VPS hosts typically market their products to small businesses. Virtual machines, on the other hand, have a broader use case and can be managed in-house. An IT administrator may use a virtual private server to run software, store data, or manage a website.

How does a VPS work?

A VPS requires a parent server that is virtualized by a type of software called a hypervisor. The hypervisor runs on top of the server’s operating system and pools all of the server’s resources to combine them with resources from other virtual servers. Then, the hypervisor segments the resources into smaller virtual private servers.

VPS hosting companies sell access to the individual segments of server resources without providing access to the hardware itself. For example, a VPS customer can use the server resources to run an ecommerce site without needing to maintain the actual server. Instead, the VPS host is responsible for deploying updates and monitoring the security of the entire infrastructure. VPS hosting companies include:

  • Bluehost
  • Hostinger
  • GoDaddy
  • DreamHost

Benefits of virtual private servers

With a VPS, the underlying hardware operates more efficiently. Prior to a virtual private servers’ introduction, an organization would need a separate server for each function, and the function it ran used only a small portion of the server’s resources. With virtualization, businesses only pay for the exact amount of resources they need. This not only saves money on hardware costs, but also reduces energy consumption in the long run.

Kaiti Norton
Kaiti Norton is a Nashville-based Content Writer for TechnologyAdvice, a full-service B2B media company. She is passionate about helping brands build genuine connections with their customers through relatable, research-based content. When she's not writing about technology, she's sharing her musings about fashion, cats, books, and skincare on her blog.

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