If you’re looking into building a website, the first thing on your “to do” list will be to find a reliable web hosting company (ahem….HostGator). 

As soon as you check out the web hosting company, you’ll notice you have several web hosting options, including WordPress hosting, shared hosting, dedicated hosting, and VPS hosting.

The type of web hosting you need will depend on your website goals, how much RAM and CPU you’ll need, and whether or not you plan to extend your website activity beyond hosting your own website.

In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about how VPS hosting works. You’ll learn:

  • What VPS hosting is
  • How VPS works
  • The benefits of VPS hosting
  • When you should upgrade to VPS hosting
  • Which VPS plan is right for you

What is VPS hosting?

To understand what VPS hosting is, it’s helpful to understand the basics of the three main types of web hosting: shared hosting, dedicated, and VPS hosting.

1. Shared hosting

Shared hosting is the most basic type of web hosting and the most recommended plan for small website owners. With shared hosting, you share CPU, RAM, and hard drive space with several other website owners that use the same server to power their websites.

While shared hosting is a great place to start and is probably sufficient for most small website owners, it can have drawbacks when your site starts to grow.

For example, if your site (or another website) starts to see huge spikes in traffic, it can bog down the server and cause your site (and other sites that share the same server) to load slower. 

If you start to experience boosts in traffic, need more RAM, or require additional CPU, then you’ll need to upgrade to a VPS hosting plan.

2. Dedicated hosting

Dedicated hosting is the exact opposite of shared hosting. Instead of using the same server as many other website owners, the whole entire server exists to support only your website. 

Dedicated servers are large and powerful and can power websites that require their own operating system, handle thousands of transactions daily, or receive large amounts of simultaneous traffic.

The drawback of dedicated servers, though, is they are expensive. If you need more RAM and CPU than you’re getting from a shared server, but don’t need the full power of a dedicated server, you’ll end up paying way too much for space you don’t need.

This is where a VPS comes in handy.

3. VPS hosting

VPS stands for virtual private server. A VPS uses virtualization technology to divide a big server into several private servers. In other words, a virtual private server is a partitioned piece of a physical server that acts like its own server.

If you opt for a VPS hosting plan, your site will technically use the same server as other websites, but it’s also completely private and 100% reserved for you. This means you don’t share RAM, CPU, disc space, or anything else with other website owners. 

You get your virtual compartment all to yourself with your own operating system, root access, dedicated storage, CPU, RAM, and unmetered bandwidth. And, you get it at the fraction of the cost of a dedicated server.

How does VPS hosting work?

Now that you have a better idea of what VPS is, you may be wondering how a VPS works. 

With VPS hosting, your web hosting provider installs a virtual layer on top of the operating system. The web hosting company does this by using a virtualization technology that divides one server into different compartments with virtual walls.

Each of these virtual walls exists as a separate compartment, allowing you full private access within that server where you can store your files, install your own operating system, and install software. 

With the virtualization technology, it’s possible to have a fully private and secure server with powerful CPU, lots of RAM, unmetered bandwidth, and the freedom and flexibility to run your compartment how you want to.

What are the benefits of VPS hosting?

VPS hosting is great for website owners that want full control of their server experience, but don’t need the robust power of a dedicated server.

Here are some of the top benefits of VPS hosting:

  • Reliable. When you have full control, excellent storage capacity, and your own allocated bandwidth that you don’t have to share with other websites, you don’t have to worry about lags that may be caused by surges in traffic from other websites.
  • Secure. VPS hosting is completely secure, since it’s isolated from other environments on the server and protected by the virtualization technology. With VPS, you never run the risk of your site being affected by other websites’ vulnerabilities.
  • Speed. You don’t have to worry about your site lagging because of another site on a shared server. VPS hosting comes with enough power to keep your site up and running quickly and effectively.
  • Scalable. VPS hosting is the perfect option if you plan to scale your website. With HostGator’s VPS hosting plans, you have three different plan options that accommodate growth.
  • Cost effective. VPS hosting is an affordable choice for website owners who want more control and power, but don’t have the need to invest in a dedicated server. It’s the perfect way to get more bang for your buck.
  • Control. VPS hosting gives you much more control than shared hosting since you have SSH and root access to your environment. You can also install your own software.
  • Customizable. VPS hosting allows you to choose your operating system, software, and nearly every other feature. This allows you to create a unique experience by installing whatever you want, not just what your shared hosting plan allows.
  • Protection. VPS plans come with enhanced data protection and makes it easy to perform server back ups.

If you’re looking to experience an excellent VPS hosting plan, check out one of the three hosting plans from HostGator.

When should you upgrade to a VPS hosting plan?

You now know what a VPS is, how VPS works, and the main benefits of VPS, but do you really need a VPS hosting plan? How do you know when it’s time to upgrade to a VPS hosting plan and whether or not VPS is right for you?

If you have specific questions, anyone on our team would love to help you find the right hosting plan for you. However, here are some tell-tale signs you’re ready to upgrade to VPS:

  • You want more security. If you’re looking for a completely private compartment, better security features, and more back up space, then look into a VPS.
  • You want root access. Are you tech-savvy and you want root access to your server so you can make server changes and add applications? Then, VPS is for you.
  • You want more for less. If your website has outgrown what shared hosting has to offer, but you don’t want to pay for a dedicated hosting plan, check out the scalable VPS plans.
  • You are seeing significant traffic surges. Maybe your website started out small, but you’re now getting loads of concurrent traffic. The minute you upgrade to a VPS, you’ll see improvements in your site speed.
  • You need more than one environment. If you need to create several isolated environments on the same server, then VPS is the answer. 
  • You’re experiencing server errors. If you’re currently on a shared hosting plan, but you keep seeing errors like “Service Unavailable” errors, 50X errors, or the “Internal Server Error,” then you know it’s time to upgrade to VPS.
  • You take payments online. Do you have a booming eCommerce store and do you handle payments online? VPS hosting provides a dedicated, isolated, and fully-protected environment, making it easy to pass a PCI compliance test and ensure transaction security.
  • You want to host others’ websites. If you want to host other people’s websites, then you’ll want to make sure you have the bandwidth to support your hosting goals.
  • You want a more cost-effective option. If you’re on a dedicated server and you don’t need that much power, then a VPS is a much more cost-effective option.

While a VPS is a more powerful way to scale a website, it’s not always the right answer for every business. Here are some instances where VPS might not be the best answer:

  • You have a limited budget and low traffic. If you’re a new website owner that doesn’t have a big budget and isn’t seeing large amounts of traffic, then shared hosting is perfect for you. Shared hosting is cheap and still promises 99% up-time, advanced security, and unmetered bandwidth.
  • You need a dedicated server. If you’re a large enterprise that has a huge website, then a dedicated server is probably a better fit. If you have questions about server needs, please give us a call and we’ll help you find the best web hosting fit for your business.
  • You don’t have technical skills. One of the big benefits of VPS is root access to the server where you can install your own OS and software. If you’re not ready for this and shared hosting is sufficient for your traffic needs, then wait on an upgrade, or hire someone to help.

Which VPS hosting plan is the best?

One of the best things about signing up for a VPS hosting plan with HostGator is that you have options that fit your needs.

The main difference in the three different hosting plans is how much RAM, CPU, and disc space you get. We never want you to have to pay for RAM or CPU you might not need, and that’s why we offer different plans.

hostgator vps hosting plans

Here is a quick look into the different VPS hosting plans at HostGator, what each plan comes with, and how much the plans cost.

1. Snappy 2000 VPS Hosting Plan

The Snappy 2000 plan is perfect for people who are new to VPS. It comes with 2GB of RAM, 2 cores CPU, 120 GB of disc space, unmetered bandwidth, and 2 dedicated IPs.

If you need more storage than a shared web hosting plan offers or want root access, the Snappy 2000 plan is a great place to start. Prices for this plan start at $19.95 per month.

2. Snappy 4000 VPS Hosting Plan

The Snappy 4000 plan is the plan we recommend the most. It’s a great choice for websites that are seeing traffic surges and want more control.

This plan comes with 4 GB of RAM, 2 cores CPU, 165 GB of disc space, unmetered bandwidth, and 2 dedicated IPs. This plan starts at $29.95 per month.

3. Snappy 8000 VPS Hosting Plan

Are you looking to build and host several websites for clients? Perhaps you want to start a gaming server? Maybe you are growing an e-commerce website and plan on getting a lot of traffic and accepting payments. If this describes you, then the Snappy 8000 is right for you.

The Snappy 8000 plan comes with 8 GB of RAM, 4 cores CPU, 240 GB of disc space, unmetered bandwidth, and 2 dedicated IPs. Prices for this plan start at $39.95 per month.

Get VPS hosting with HostGator today!

If you’re either starting a new, quickly growing business or you’ve outgrown your shared hosting account, HostGator is here for you.

We have three different VPS hosting plans that offer power, security, and the ability to scale. Get started with VPS hosting today.

Ashley R. Cummings is a professional freelance writer specializing in SaaS, tech, and advertising/marketing. In a previous life, she was a Russian teacher at Brigham Young University, a corporate trainer, and a grad student—all at the same time. When she’s not writing, you can find her traveling the world with her 2 kids and husband, reading poetry or taking a deep dive into the fabulous world of comedy. Connect with her on Twitter at @ashleyrcummings.