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Community Blog Dedicated Server vs. VPS: What Is the Best Choice?

Dedicated Server vs. VPS: What Is the Best Choice?

This article explains dedicated servers and VPS and which one is preferable in different situations.

By Alain Francois

Cloud computing is the main subject when users want to provide public services worldwide. You don't have to worry about the hardware since the cloud providers offer servers, but there are still some questions regarding the performance, maintenance, cost, and efficacy. Cloud providers offer several types of servers, including Dedicated Servers and Virtual Private Servers (VPS), but the main question is which one to choose between those two services.

When you’re looking to host your services on a server in the cloud, you’ll have to decide the type of servers you will use.

What Is a Dedicated Server?

A dedicated server is a type of hosting where the client is responsible for an entire physical server. It means that you have exclusivity and are the only one managing the server. You have the choice of the operating system, the hardware, and the bandwidth. You are also responsible for other aspects, including security and hardware failure detection.

Alibaba Cloud provides dedicated servers services for enterprise customers, such as Dedicated Host (DDH). DDH is a solution where the physical resources are dedicated to you. Since there are no other tenants, so you don't share physical resources. You can decide the physical attributes of the host regarding the memory size, the number of physical CPU cores, and the number of CPUs (number of sockets). Alibaba Cloud provides several types of dedicated hosts for different purposes, including memory, security, network, or storage optimization. You can take a look at this help document for more information.

You can run your virtualization tool with dedicated servers. This means you can take a server with a lot of resources to virtualize your personal environment. In this case, you should choose the dedicated server that fits the virtualization compatibility from your cloud provider’s instances. Alibaba Cloud offers Elastic Bare Metal or EBM instances, which are perfect for running a virtualization environment on VMWare or Microsoft’s Hyper-V.

What Is a Virtual Private Server (VPS)?

A VPS is a virtual server that you can also customize by choosing the operation system, memory, etc. Contrary to dedicated servers, a VPS shares the server hardware with other VPS on the server. It's like having a dedicated server with several virtual servers, and access is given to clients. Each user can only access their virtual environments with root access to grant permissions and install necessary operating systems and applications.

Choosing a Dedicated Server vs. VPS

Normally, the choice of a server depends on your needs and the services you plan to run. Since a dedicated server is a normal physical server, it means you need to know the components you plan to assemble and if they suit your needs (clock rate, memory, virtualization compatibility, disk speed, etc.) You also need to have a competent team since you are maintaining the server on material and software resources. You have total control, and it’s fine if you want to supervise everything. However, there are some details you don’t need to consider with the VPS since the provider will take care of it. Also, you are only maintaining software resources, and you can only focus on that without any other preoccupation.

Technical Expertise

You need to have technical skills to handle your server on the cloud since you will be responsible for the management. You will be managing the installation of the software, the access, and the security of the server.

You have a lot of hardware resources available with the dedicated servers, just like with a personal physical server inside a data center. That means you need to choose some configurations, such as RAID, disk type (SSD or not), disk size (it can be more than 2 TB), memory size (it can be more than 192 GB), and virtualization compatibility. All of this means you need to have the proper technical skills to choose the best configuration that suits your needs since you need to create some personal virtual environments for work purposes.

On the other hand, VPS offers less hardware (virtual) capacities. That means the best VPS offer can correspond to the third offer of dedicated servers.

Maintenance

When you have a server hosted by a cloud provider, you are responsible for the maintenance. Since you are in charge of software installation, you are the only one that can perform software maintenance, such as upgrades and troubleshooting. You also need to look at the hardware and monitor your infrastructure. This case can be particular with the dedicated servers because they are physical servers that require physical intervention. It means that a failure can happen if you don't notice it in time, which can make you have downtime services until the server goes up again. If you cannot anticipate a future hardware failure (hard drive, memory, etc.) and inform the cloud provider support in time, your server will not be reachable until they replace the material causing the issue.

You don't experience such problems with a VPS. If a problem occurs on the server hosting your VPS, the VPS will be migrated to another server automatically (depending on the service) to avoid hardware downtime failures.

Security

You are the only one responsible for the security of your server. Most of the time, the cloud providers offer a cloud panel firewall before reaching the server firewall, but you need to install the security tools on the server. The cloud provider can offer some securities services, such as anti-malware and anti-rootkit, but you should also add security on the system level.

Cost

The price of a dedicated server is much higher than a VPS since it requires hardware configuration.

Conclusion

The choice between dedicated servers and VPS depends on your activities and needs. VPS is more convenient for small businesses or personal activities, and dedicated servers work better for medium or large businesses. You should review your business details before making a decision.

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