Web hosting as we know is divided into 3 containers for marketing and administrative purposes.
1. Shared hosting
2. Virtual Private Server aka VPS
3. Dedicated Server
Of these 3, a Virtual Private Server or VPS is the most optimal choice available for a webmaster. Why ?
1. A VPS can mimic a Dedicated Server
A VPS has its own operating system, bandwidth and disc space. These 3 are unknown to the shared hosting and are features of a dedicated server. Even though a VPS offers an array of customization options like a dedicated server, hardware-wise a VPS is a part of a dedicated server. A dedicated server can host a number of VPS. A VPS is scalable and allows full administrative access to the end user.
2. Shared hosting and dedicated servers against a VPS
Shared hosting is the cheapest one of all 3. But it does not have guaranteed resources as in the case of a VPS. A dedicated server however is costly.
It is common for people to try various operating systems inside Windows using software like VMware or VirtualBox. This is exactly the same what you do on a server to get a VPS.
4. Need for a VPS
A VPS is normally used when you outgrow the scope of a shared hosting and cannot afford a dedicated server.
5. Managed VPS
In a managed VPS, your hosting provider will take care of the maintenance of your VPS. There is also a category called unmanaged VPS, where you a VPS is set up and given to the end user. This way, it is the user’s responsibility to set up and maintain the VPS.
In a VPS, you have the freedom to use your choice of OS, control panel, firewall etc.