“What is the difference between Virtual Server, Virtual Machine, and Virtual Private Server?” is one of the questions our website users often ask.
Virtual server hosting is a kind of web hosting which is offered by dividing a physical server into different virtual servers. The server which gets Virtual Server (VS), Virtual Private Server (VPS), and Virtual Machine (VM) in the cloud are all describing slightly different things. Let’s briefly talk about each one of these and direct you to the right Top-10 or Top-20 Web Hosting ranking charts on our website.
What is a Virtual Server?
A server, which is basically a powerful computer in a physical form, can be “dedicated” to one user [and that is called a Dedicated Server]. Alternatively, a server can be used by multiple users at the same time for hosting, making computations, etc.
Interestingly, a physical server, using a special “virtualization” software, can also be sub-divided into multiple “virtual” servers, each of which could in turn be dedicated to a separate user. And such “virtual” servers are called Virtual Private Servers [or VPS]. So, basically, Virtual Servers [which can also be referred to as Virtual Machines, or VMs] are virtually created servers that “live” inside a physical server. Such virtual servers have all the capabilities and functionality of a physical server: they have their own operating system, their own computational capabilities, and they can have any software required by the user.
Hosting companies create “virtual” servers [or virtual machines] inside a physical one in order to better utilize physical server’s storage and computational capacity and thus to reduce server’s operating and maintenance cost.
What is a Virtual Private Server?
Well, it is basically a Virtual Server that is dedicated to one user [hence the word “private”]. If you’d like to have more storage and faster processing but paying for your own “dedicated” physical server is a bit too expensive, you can use a Virtual Private Server [VPS] service, which is less expensive than paying for the entire “physical” server and still get the same advantages that having your own server provides.
An advantage of having your own “private” server [or a dedicated “section” / “virtual compartment” of a physical server], is that you’d have your own set of allocated storage and computational resources and you can customize and configure your server partition exactly the way you want.
What Is Cloud hosting?
A “cloud” is simply a fancy word for a whole bunch of physical and virtual [inside these physical] servers, connected together into one gigantic network and spread around the world in various data centers.
So, a Cloud Hosting plan is when your website taps into this huge network of physical and virtual machines giving you a potentially unlimited storage and computational capacity. With having just one Virtual Private Server [VPS] you are limited by the capacity of such one “virtual” machine. If your website traffic spikes [for example, on a Black Friday], or if you have a spike in the need for a lot of computational / processing capacity, one VPS, even a very powerful one, might not be able to handle the spiked load. But hundreds or even thousands of inter-connected machines can easy “help each other” and handle the load without a hitch.
So, in a sense, a Cloud is like one gigantic VPS offering you a lot more storage and processing speed with an added security that if one machine [or even an entire data center] goes down, other machines and/or data centers can seamlessly absorb and handle the load in a way that your online users would not even notice it.
VPS Hosting Top-100 & Cloud Hosting Top-10
To help you pick the right hosting provider and the right hosting plan [whether you need VPS hosting or Cloud hosting] we have conducted a comprehensive analysis of 506 different hosting plans across more than 60 US hosting companies to pick the Top 100 best ones based on monthly cost [over 1 and 3 years] and thousands of Customer Reviews from 6 different sources.
For VPS hosting, given drastically varying technical parameters of various hosting plans we have split 171 analyzed VPS hosting plans into 10 different Groups [or “buckets”] and picked the best Top-10 VPS hosts for each Group. Thus instead of just Top-10 we have Top-100 [Top-10 x10]!
We hope our comprehensive analysis and side-by-side comparison will help you pick the right hosting based on technical requirements, customer review, and your overall budget.