VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. Sometimes it can be hard to imagine what VPS hosting really is and how it works. While there is still physical hardware in play, VPS takes the hardware management and limitations away by running in the cloud. For an explanation of what the cloud is, check out our blog post The Cloud – An Easy to Understand Explanation.
The first step in understand how VPS hosting works, you’ll need to have a good understanding of how hosting works in general. We’ll use a hardware based server at a business location as an example.
The first part of a hosting puzzle is the hardware that will be used to function as a server. There are computers that are explicitly designed to work as a “server” and subsequently labeled as a “server”, but they are simply just a computer with more advanced functions. An example of this would be an HP ProLiant or a Dell PowerEdge, but you still have the option of just picking up a regular desktop from BestBuy and setting it up as a server, but you’ll miss out on some vital hardware pieces.
The computer is then set up with an Operating System. This would be either Windows Server, or a server version of Linux, or CentOS. The majority of VPS systems run with CentOS because of its security and reliability features.
Once your operating system is installed and set up, the next step would be to install the software that will turn your “computer” into a real “server”. This is software that provides a server related function, “serving up” content of some type. This content is mostly website content (web server), but there are other functions that a server can be setup to do. From serving up streaming audio/video to sending email or text messages.
To sum this up, all content that is provided to your users or visitors come from some type of server software, which runs on a computer designed to serve up this content, creating the full packaged “server” that you are used to hearing about.
Now, where VPS comes into play into a server setup is that is adds in the component of virtualization. Virtualization is the act of emulating an operating system and software on a set of hardware devices. The key here is “a set of”. This means that a virtualized operating system and installed software and be run on more than one hardware system. This is what makes VPS hosting the most reliable and resource abundant option to-date.
Instead of running your server on 1 set of hardware, you can have it spanned across many, many hardware devices. Imagine a room with rows and rows of computers stacked on top of each other all running at the same time. Virtualization allows you to “connect” all of these together and run your web or email server using all of their collective resources. For instance, TillerPhish servers have 24 processors allocated to each one, with each processor having 4 cores. This is because the server software is virtualized in a datacenter that can provide robust and extensive hardware resources.
This also means that reliability is un-touched by anything else. Normally, in our in-house example, if your computer server were to break down for any reason, then whatever you are serving up goes down with it! This is very bad if you are serving up business critical services like a website or corporate email. But, for VPS, if one of the hardware pieces go down, the virtualized system will just ignore it and move on to the next hardware piece in line until the issue is resolved with the downed hardware. This means that unless ALL of the hardware pieces that are available to your VPS go down at the same time, your website or email will never go down, unless there is a problem outside of the datacenter and your control.
The final key point of VPS hosting is that you never have to worry about hardware maintenance, hardware upgrades, or any of the other headaches that come into play with an in-house server. This is because you are essentially “renting” a datacenter’s equipment while you are using it, and the datacenter takes care of all the “dirty” work.
If you’d like more information on the hosting we provide, have a look at: http://www.tillerphish.com/services/hosting/
For corporate solutions in VPS hosting and setup, please email David directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org