The Value of Virtual Private Servers (VPS)

VPS Diagram

From Wikipedia:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_private_server

A virtual private server (VPS, also referred to as Virtual Dedicated Server or VDS) is a method of partitioning a physical server computer into multiple servers such that each has the appearance and capabilities of running on its own dedicated machine. Each virtual server can run its own full-fledged operating system, and each server can be independently rebooted.

 

So what can a virtual private server do for you?

Well, what do you want it to do?  A linux VPS can be as little as $10/mo.  Windows based VPS systems typically start around $30/mo.  You can run just about anything you could run on a phsyical server.  Note that you'll be operating with far less horsepower and diskspace, but don't let that fool you.

Here's a few ideas for you...

  • Web Server - A fancy content management system, a wiki, or a plain & simple set of HTML pages.
  • Email Server - Forward mail or create a POP/IMAP solution, and even deploy a webmail interface (squirrel mail).  Or just create a mail relay with spam filtering (spamassassin).
  • DNS Server - Host your own domains
  • IM Server - Create a Jabber or Teamspeak server for communicating with your friends.
  • Network Monitoring Server - I have used VPS systems in multiple locations to create a multi-point monitoring solution.  
  • Development / Testing - Test new applications, learn a new programming language, create a "backup" or DR environment.
  • Learn Linux! - A VPS system is perfect to learn linux system administration or work with new flavors of linux.

Thoughts

I use VPS systems every day in my personal and professional life.  What do you think this server is?  VPS vendors typically offer easy upgrade paths to new configurations featuring more memory, more disk, and more bandwidth.  My logic is to start small and increase over time as needed.  

One thing to keep in mind... Support and Reliability.  The quality of support seems proportional to the monthly cost.  Eg. the higher the monthly cost, the better the quality of support.  Alot of the inexepensive vendors are small shops with little to no support.  Some definitely get an "A for effort", but don't expect phone support or immediate email responses.  A few brandname service providers (Verio, etc.) offer VPS services and you do pay for the brandname, quality of service/support, and reliability.

Stay tuned for information about some of our vendors, some of our favorite solutions, and even about services we hope to offer.