Shared hosting allows people to host their own sites at a very reasonable cost but it does have some drawbacks, however. Since hundreds of sites can be hosted on a single server, resources such as CPU, disk space, and bandwidth have to be shared with ALL your virtual neighbors.
Shared resources are usually not a problem for small to medium sized sites. Your main limitation is the lack of control over system level software – http servers, mail servers, databases etc. You don’t have any choice of operating system and you cannot compile programs or do major administrative tasks.
You might not want to do any of that stuff anyway! It’s true that the majority of website owners have no interest or ability to handle this kind of work and are happy to leave it to the hosting company. Those who desire more control over their server environment, or wish to experiment with new software can have access to this level of management with a Virtual Private Server.
Virtual Private Servers are known by different names: VPS, VPS Server, VDS, Virtual Dedicated Server or Virtual Shared Server. They all have the same meaning, that is, a partition of a Dedicated Server. VPS bundles the privacy, performance, and controls of a dedicated server but because it’s on a shared server, it’s more affordable.
VPS is a hosting environment that gives you your own (virtual) machine. Each VPS is a private and protected area, it is a physical server that has been partitioned (using software) into several virtual machines that operates as an independent server. The physical resources such as CPU, RAM and disk space are still shared, but each VPS acts independently of the others. Every VPS has its own complete directory structure and set of dedicated applications (web server, mail server, etc.). And each VPS can be rebooted without affecting any other VPS on the physical server. Each VPS can have a different operating system and is highly configurable.
As well as providing more control over your hosting environment, a VPS is more secure than shared hosting. Each VPS is completely isolated and therefore invisible to the others so there is no way to set up root level access from one VPS to another. This means that you get the utmost reliability and security at an affordable cost.
If your website has outgrown shared hosting, a VPS offers an affordable alternative to dedicated hosting.