Virtual private servers have a lot of advantages over shared web hosting, but there are some disadvantages depending on your knowledge and experience. It’s important to understand what you will gain and lose if you decide to switch or purchase a virtual private server for the first time. Even users coming from dedicated servers will receive benefits for switching to a VPS, as long as they are aware of the limitations.
To understand what a virtual private server is, you need to understand what a virtual machine is. A virtual machine is a virtualized or emulated machine running on physical hardware. For example, people may use VMware or VirtualBox to run an additional Windows or Linux installation inside of their main operating system to gain the features of that operating system or gain isolation from their main machine by running a virtual machine.
When looking for a server, you’ll run across the terms managed, unmanaged, and fully managed. The definition of each of those terms will vary depending on the provider, but most hosting providers try to maintain a similar definition for each term. It’s important to know what service level you need when purchasing your server or you could end up wasting money on a monthly basis or not have the resources available to you that you need to keep your server maintained and managed.