Thursday, 24 April 2014

UK VPS Hosting

Some servers racked in a data centre
A UK virtual private server (VPS) is a virtualised hardware environment which exists on a physical server and creates an isolated environment for processes, such as web servers to run in. A VPS can be used as a web server, thus allowing the owner to host their own websites and related services such as FTP, email, DNS, etc. In order that the VPS owner can install any software or scripts that they desire, each VPS comes with access to the super user account. This is the main administrative user account for an operating system (OS), such as 'root' on Linux, etc.

VPS Are Shared Among Fewer Users

On average a UK shared web hosting server will have a significantly higher number of user accounts (50+) than that of a VPS hosting server (normally 15-35).
Shared web hosting accounts run multiple users websites under the context of the same operating system, and sometimes scripts and web content is even delivered using the same single user account! This is not the case with VPS based hosting, as each VPS effectively has its own OS and is isolated from any other accounts on the server. VPS website hosting services are notably more powerful and faster than shared hosting. This is generally due to two reasons:

  1. There are fewer accounts on the server competing for resources such as RAM, CPU, etc.
  2. Specific resources are dedicated to the VPS, so there is no waiting around for them to become available.

What About Control Panel Access?

A VPS allows you to have access to more than one control panel in order to administer the VPS itself and the services running on it. Your VPS hosting provider may give you access to a VPS management control panel, such as SolusVM, Virtualizor, etc. This type of control panel allows you to administrate the actual VPS itself, enabling such things as rebooting, shutting down, changing passwords of the VPS from a friendly web based GUI. A number of separate control panels could also be installed on the VPS itself, allowing for the administration of services running on their such as website hosting or general server administration. Such control panels include:

  • Plesk
  • DirectAdmin
  • cPanel/WHM
  • Webmin

How Does It Compare To Shared Hosting?

UK based VPS hosting is much more powerful and flexible than shared web hosting solutions. In addition you get the same versatility that you would expect from a dedicated server with regards features and often, much more! The great thing about virtual machine hosting, is that all the VPS owners utilise the same physical server, which in turn leads to excellent financial and environmental savings in comparison with a dedicated server. With a few exceptions such as Perl modules, a shared web hosting package will restrict you to which OS, control panel and software you can use in order to host your websites.

A VPS allows you complete control over the web hosting environment and allows you to install what you like, when you want. Resource heavy websites often find VPS hosting to be the ideal balance between performance and price in comparison to shared web hosting services. Some VPS hosting providers offer an intermediate hosting solution that sits between shared web hosting and a full blown VPS. This is often referred to as 'virtual web server' hosting. For this type of hosting a small sized VPS (e.g. 256MB RAM) is deployed for the client. It normally works out to be a little bit more expensive than shared web hosting, but also cheaper than full blown VPS solutions...

Do I Need To Be A Server Admin?

Your VPS will normally come as an 'unmanaged' package, however many providers also offer 'managed' VPS hosting. An unmanaged VPS means that you are the administrator of the server. It is therefore your job to setup the VPS exactly how you would like it and the VPS provider simply ensures that you have the resources that you are paying for and network connectivity. Managed VPS packages vary wildly, but most offer some hands on administration from the provider and maybe some added features like firewalls, etc.

What About The Cost?

The cost is the only real disadvantage to VPS hosting in comparison to shared web hosting. While an unmanaged VPS can often be comparable with shared hosting, a managed VPS solution will usually be much more. However, it should be noted that in comparison to a dedicated server, VPS hosting is far cheaper. A management plan is often recommended for novices and will make running your first VPS much easier. In addition to the management costs you should also consider that you will need to pay for many of the industry standard web hosting control panels such as cPanel, DirectAdmin, etc. As the physical server is still shared amongst the users, VPS hosting offers a much lower entry level to full administrative web hosting than the equivalent dedicated server offerings.

Do You Have Any Provider Suggestions?

I've used Farbyte's UK VPS hosting services ( for both personal and business VPS web hosting platforms. They have great prices and excellent hardware, which in turn leads to very good performance. One thing that also attracts me to them is their resilient disk (cloud) storage which replicates every bit of data on my VPS to another physical server, thus if the server has an issue I know my VPS and its data is still safe on some other disks.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Virtual Server Hosting

In the on-line web hosting industry the phrase virtual private server hosting has grow to be widespread. The technology is nothing new, because the idea has existed since around the 1980’s, produced by the large computing companies at the time on the Unix platform (DEC, IBM, etc.).
Virtual machine software (also called VDS software), is a system that splits real computing hardware into multiple virtual hardware containers which each run their own operating system, separate from one another. These virtual servers can be used for many reasons for example:
  • Roaming computer's desktop substitution
  • Optimising hardware resource utilisation
  • Running sets of low intensity applications
  • Presenting hardware independent hosting systems
There are various virtual technologies on the market, such as:
  • KVM
  • OpenVZ
  • XEN
  • VMware
They all have their particular positives and negatives, but basically perform a similar function, which is to generate a virtual hardware environment so as to run an independent operating system.
Lots of hosting providers offer virtual hosting solutions as a way to remove the need for clients to set up any server hardware at all. Instead a client simply leases a VPS on the hosting company’s infrastructure and thus eliminates the need to obtain any hardware at all. In these hard economic times we are seeing more and more people turning to VPS as a means to deliver their online services. Many organisations and individuals have saved large sums of money by not needing to deploy their own physical servers.
In addition, the use of a virtualised server often leads to increased uptime for the client, as they are less affected by hardware failures. In the event of a physical server experiencing a hardware failure, most hosting companies will be able to move the affected VPS to another physical node with very little downtime.