If you’re familiar with web hosting, chances are you’ve heard of a VPS. But what is a VPS and what can you do with a VPS? Well, we’re here to answer exactly those questions.

What is a VPS?

Let’s start from the beginning and look at what a VPS is. VPS stands for virtual private server and as you can probably guess, it’s a type of server. To understand what a virtual private server is though, it helps to know what shared environments and dedicated environments are.

In short, shared environments are similar to a house share, where you all live under the same roof and share resources, but you each have your own room. Dedicated hosting, on the other hand, is like owning your own house. You buy the whole thing and use the space however you like, keeping the resources all to yourself.

A VPS is in the middle ground. You have your own dedicated space on a server that hosts other VPSs, but your resources are dedicated to you. Think of it like renting a cabin at a resort – you’re all staying on the same bit of land, but you each have your own space and resources whilst still sharing the costs.

VPS vs Dedicated Servers – why choose VPS?

One thing VPS and Dedicated Servers have in common is that by self-hosting your project on your own server, you can install any application required for the functionality and security that you need. But the big differences between self-hosting on a VPS vs a Dedicated Server is flexibility and affordability.

Being scalable, virtual private servers offer a solution for the various stages of a project – as your project grows your server can too. Choosing a VPS means that you can increase your storage, up your RAM and get more CPU cores.

You’d also choose a VPS if you need to self-host your project on a platform that offers better performance than shared hosting, without the bigger price tag that Dedicated Servers come with. If you don’t need something as beefy as a Dedicated Server and the scalability of a VPS sounds perfect, then a virtual private server could be the option for you.

What can you do with a VPS?

Now you know what a VPS is, the big question is what can you do with a virtual private server? Thanks to the power and flexibility of VPS, they’re ideal for loads of project types and because of the way they’re hosted, they’re affordable too. Let’s take a look at 5 things you can do with a virtual private server.

Run an ecommerce site

One of the most obvious uses for a VPS is hosting a site. But a standard small business site that only gets moderate traffic can probably run sufficiently on a shared web hosting platform. It’s when a website gets larger in size and sees an increase in visitors that you might need to consider hosting it on a server.

Ecommerce sites in particular have large numbers of pages, lots of images to store and load and they get hefty traffic spikes during seasonal periods. With a scalable VPS, you get beefier performance, the flexibility of different PHP versions and the ability to use your own choice of technologies. And with unlimited bandwidth and flexible resources, you can handle high traffic whatever the season.

Manage multiple client sites

The great thing about virtual private servers is that you can host multiple domains whilst knowing you have enough RAM and CPU to keep each site performing at its best. This is particularly useful if you’re in the business of building and hosting websites for clients.

The bonus is that you can tell clients that they don’t need to sort out shared hosting themselves – you’ve got them covered! Be confident that you have enough resources to handle their sites on top of your own.

Run your own gaming server

Are you a keen gamer? Do you enjoy playing games like Minecraft, CS:GO or Gmod? With a virtual private server, you can host your own games in a space that’s all yours. You can control all the settings, upload your own mods, implement your own rules and invite all your friends to join.

Using a VPS for gaming is cost-effective and you’ll experience less lag and dropped connections. The best bit is that it’s your server. There’s nothing more annoying than when you’re trying to enjoy a game with friends and the online server you’re in is full of other players who are just griefing. With a VPS you can move your party to a private space and have fun without any disruptions.

Develop and test in your own space

Whether you develop apps as a business or you’re looking to get started as a hobby, then a virtual private server would be a great addition to your toolkit. You can use your VPS to simulate testing environments for your apps – develop code, test it and fix bugs before anything goes live. Plus multiple team members can access code in a central virtual location no matter where you’re located.

Host your own web server, databases and mailboxes

One of the things you can do with a virtual private server is using it to easily manage Apache web servers, databases and mailboxes. You get resources that are dedicated to you and full root access so you can install what you need for your project.

It’s simple to install MySQL and MariaDB databases on your server. Plus hosting your own mailboxes on your VPS gives you complete control and added privacy, something that is crucial when it comes to your business communications.

Installing apps on your VPS

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what you can do with your virtual private server. When self-hosting a project, you can install whatever software you need and with apps it’s even easier to do just that.

We have a whole host of apps you can install on your VPS. If you want to set up shop you can get popular applications like Magento, PrestaShop and OpenCart. If content and websites are your things, easily work with WordPress and Joomla, two of the most popular CMS available. And you can get set up quickly with development applications such as Docker, MariaDB and MySQL.

If a virtual private server sounds like something that you could use for your project, the next step is to find the right one for your needs. You’ll want to get started with a high-quality host that gives you the flexibility and performance you need. Find out more about our Virtual Private Servers, and don’t forget to check out Acronis Cloud Backup – use it with your VPS to keep everything safe should anything happen.