When companies or individuals don’t have their own servers, the best solution is to use someone else’s. To that end, there are many choices that can be used to cover the need for a server.
These include dedicated hosting, shared hosting and virtual private server or VPS hosting. Below, we are going to talk about what a VPS (not to be confused with a virtual private network or VPN) is and highlight six VPS uses.
What is VPS?
Before we get into what a VPS is used for, we need to know what it is. Basically, a VPS is a virtual machine that a hosting company rents out to its customers. The hosting company has created several virtual machines on their servers, and when you buy one of them, it becomes a VPS.
Think of all the pictures you’ve seen of large data centers with plenty of servers all lined up in a hallway. Your VPS resides in an environment like that.
So what is a virtual machine? A virtual machine is a program that simulates an actual computer. It uses the physical resources of a computer, such as RAM, CPU and disk space, to create a simulated environment where you can do anything they would on an actual computer. This includes running computer applications and even hosting websites.
What is a VPS used for?
Now that we have briefly talked about what a VPS is, we can now talk about how to use a VPS. While will only discuss six VPS uses, you can probably find more. The key thing to remember here is that it is just the same as any other computer, except that it is accessed remotely.
1. Web Hosting
Perhaps one of the most common VPS uses is web hosting. While a majority of people use shared hosting, some companies find that they have outgrown the limitations of this hosting model. They need more resources, but not to the point of needing their very own dedicated server. The middle ground between shared hosting and dedicated hosting is a VPS.
Since a VPS offers more resources, you will find that they are ideal for hosting high-traffic websites. These days, many people, especially mobile users, need a page that loads in three seconds or less. In fact, according to Google, 53% of people browsing on the mobile device will abandon a website if it takes more than three seconds to load.
2. Backing Up Data
If you have a lot of data that needs to be backed up, then buying a VPS would be an overkill. It is actually much cheaper to use cloud services if all you want to do is backup data.
But if you are using a VPS for other things and happen to have some extra space left over, there is no reason why you can’t use it to back up your data.
3. Game Server
Multiplayer gaming has been on the rise over the past few decades. Many people love to come home after a long day at work and unwind by playing online games with friends. According to Statista, 22% of PC gamers spend 61-81% of their time playing online games. And a VPS is one of the best ways to host a private server for such gaming sessions.
Since hosting a game is not a resource-intensive thing to do (despite what others would have you believe), a VPS is a great option. Popular games hosted on private servers include the likes of Minecraft, Runescape, and World of Warcraft. Plus, you can have multiple simultaneous users without experiencing issues when you use a VPS.
4. Hosting a VPN
Hosting a virtual private network (VPN) is also what a VPS is used for. It is easy to confuse the two terms since they sound similar, but a VPN is basically used to create a secure connection on a public network. And there are many reasons why you would want to facilitate a VPN on your VPS besides the secure connection
For example, many people use VPNs to access online content that has been blocked in their region. If you want to access a website that is only available to people in the United Kingdom, a VPN can help you bypass any regional locking issues.
There are many commercial VPNs that you can use and they work great for an everyday user. However, if you have the technical skills (or the funds to hire someone who does), a VPS environment is suitable for your own private VPN.
5. Hosting a Server
Among the commonest VPS uses is hosting a server. Basically, anything that can be done on a server can be done on a VPS. On top of using it as your own private server for gaming, you can also use to host things like media files, documents and web applications.
Some people even use a VPS as their very own VoIP server for making quick calls without having to invest in costly infrastructure.
6. Developing and Testing Code
If your business develops applications, whether on desktop, web or mobile platforms, a VPS can be good virtual working space. You can easily install all the tools you need, such as IDEs and development libraries, allowing all team members to access them from a central location. This can make remote development of such applications much easier and faster.
Moreover, before launching an application, it needs to be tested in a live setting. That way, you and your team can identify bugs and get rid of them while preparing to go live. Rather than having to invest large sums of money setting up your very own server for testing, you can just use a VPS.
Countless Uses for a Great Price
As you can see there a quite a number of VPS uses. Although it can be intimidating to give it a shot when you first hear about it, you stand to benefit a lot when you use one.
All you have to do is get through the learning curve, which is not that steep. Once you have it up and running, you can use it for any of the reasons mentioned above and more.