While VPS and VPN sound similar, these services are worlds apart. Both have different functionalities and purposes, therefore they can’t be replaced one with another.
You wouldn’t want to pick the wrong technology for your personal or corporate needs, so it’s crucial to find out what VPSs and VPNs are as well as what they do.
In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about VPS vs VPN so that you can select the system that’s right for you.
What is a VPS?
VPS is the acronym for Virtual Private Server. Basically, it’s a type of web hosting for businesses and individuals who want to house their website or application on the Internet. There are various kinds of web hosting available today, such as cloud VPS hosting, dedicated hosting, VPS hosting, as well as shared hosting, to name a few.
VPS hosting, in this regard, is a combination of both dedicated and shared server hosting. As with shared servers, it caters to multiple clients at the same time. However, each of them are kept separate on their own virtual server. This, in turn, allows for the flexibility, performance, and privacy capabilities of a dedicated server.
How Does a VPS Work?
VPS relies on a process known as virtualization. It involves the use of hypervisor – which is a specialized software – to partition one physical server into multiple virtual servers.
When it comes to traditional VPS, this means splitting a physical server into several, independently-functioning virtual servers, with each having their own share of resources of the physical server like hard disk space, CPU, and RAM.
The isolated virtual environments created by the hypervisor software are referred to as virtual machines or VMs. Furthermore, clients can also install their own operating systems (OSes) on their VMs, so they can run a host of applications and communicate without hiccups.
What Do You Use a VPS For?
Although some individuals may use VPS hosting to play CPU intensive video games or run certain software, VPS services are often most relevant for business use. You’ll need VPS hosting if you’re facing any of these scenarios:
1. You have one or more websites that receive a lot of traffic
Do you host websites with thousands of visitors a day? Since a VPS is fast and reliable, it can support large, high-traffic websites. This is why many businesses make the switch from shared hosting to VPS hosting when their websites start crashing due to the sharing of resources with other clients.
2. You run complicated software
Do you require one or multiple servers to run advanced applications, scheduling software, or other more complex programs? Once again, a VPS is your best bet. It’s an affordable yet reliable and private server solution.
3. You host E-commerce websites
If you have a website with E-commerce functionality, then you might need the extra power of a VPS server to keep things running smoothly. Besides, you wouldn’t want your website to go down when a customer is about to purchase something.
4. You want a personalized server environment
With VPS hosting, you can enjoy full control over your server. Not only do you get root-level access, but also you can install your own OS. It’s considerably easier to customize VPS servers as per your needs than shared servers.
5. You need scalable server resources
Is your business growing rapidly? Unlike other servers, a VPS can easily be scaled up as your website’s traffic increases. You’re not limited to one physical server, so you have the freedom to upgrade your resource requirements when needed.
What is a VPN?
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. In simple terms, it creates a secure and private connection across the public Internet so that you can browse anonymously, while protecting all your data in the process. This is done by routing your traffic through the VPN provider’s server network before it makes its way to the intended destination.
In this way, your online activity appears to come from the location of the VPN server instead of your own. Additionally, tunneling further safeguards your personal data by keeping it separate from the rest of the Internet. A VPN also encrypts your requests, making it all the more difficult for your ISP or cybercriminals to get their hands on your data.
How Does a VPN Work?
VPN providers operate hundreds or thousands of servers, which are often strategically placed in different countries across the globe. Upon connecting to the VPN on your desktop, smartphone, or router, all your traffic is sent to your chosen server before reaching the application or website that you want to use.
This conceals your real IP address and makes it seem as if your traffic is originating from the VPN server’s location. You can change your virtual location to any city or country and bypass geo-restrictions as well as censorship with ease.
Tunneling, on the other hand, works by encapsulating your packets before transmitting it across the Internet. While this technique makes it harder for third-parties to read your data, it alone doesn’t provide security.
For this reason, your data is also protected with encryption so that it can’t be intercepted or deciphered by anybody. The most popular VPN protocols currently in use include PPTP, SSTP, IKEv2/IPSec, L2TP/IPSec, and OpenVPN. Each one of them has its pros and cons, but we recommend using OpenVPN because of its robust encryption and high performance.
What Do You Use a VPN For?
Back in the day, VPNs were primarily used by businesses to enable employees to securely access resources on the corporate network from a remote location. Fast forward to today, many individuals use VPNs for a variety of reasons, such as:
1. Privacy Protection
When you access the Internet normally, your online activities are left exposed to interested entities like hackers, government agencies, and advertisers. With a VPN, you can leverage military-grade encryption and IP address masking to hide what you’re doing online. The result? You’re able to browse the Internet without compromising your privacy.
2. Access Unavailable Content
Many streaming services implement geo-restrictions to comply with licensing agreements. Netflix limits its content to certain countries, whereas BBC iPlayer limits its content to residents of the United Kingdom. A VPN will let you get an IP address from any country in the world so that you can quickly get around these hurdles.
3. Public Wi-Fi Safety
Public Wi-Fi is free and convenient, but its use poses a serious risk to the security of your data. After all, these networks lack adequate security, allowing the bad guys to gain access to your unencrypted information easily. By using a VPN, though, you can encrypt your entire connection and securely connect to any open Wi-Fi hotspot.
4. Bypass ISP Throttling
Most ISPs can throttle your bandwidth for specific websites or traffic types like P2P, for example. This slows down your Internet connection, making activities like streaming or downloading a pain. If you equip yourself with a VPN, you can hide what you’re up to online from your ISP and experience throttle-free speeds.
5. Avoid Wi-Fi Restrictions
Some school and college Wi-Fi networks don’t provide unfettered access to the Internet. Therefore, you might not be able to access certain websites as they are considered a distraction for employees. If you’re connected to a VPN, you can bypass these restrictions in no time and browse with complete freedom! Learn how to use a VPN for school Wi-Fi.
VPS vs. VPN: The Differences
Both VPSs and VPNs involve servers and use virtual technology, but that’s where the similarities between the two ends:
- A VPS is particularly useful to businesses as it offers powerful and cost-effective hosting for websites, applications, and more.
- A VPN can help both businesses and individuals switch their virtual location and increase their privacy.
- Unlike VPSs, VPNs don’t host applications or websites – they safeguard your data, mask your real identity, among other things!
- VPSs mainly offer server hosting and not security. This means that data, apps, and websites hosted on these servers can be vulnerable to government spying or breaches.
- A VPN is used by millions of people to increase their security and privacy. It comes with features like military-grade encryption, no-log policies, IP address masking, kill switches, etc.
In short, a VPS is a cost-friendly hosting solution, while a VPN is a tool that privately and safely connects you to the Internet from multiple locations.
Can I Use My VPS as a VPN?
Yes, you can. Some tech-savvy individuals use VPS hosting to create their own VPN. They do this because either they don’t want to pay the fees that VPN companies charge, or they don’t trust these services with their information (even though there are many well-known VPN providers with strict no-log policies such as PureVPN).
While it gives you more control over your VPN, the truth is a VPS has all the security vulnerabilities of any other physical server. As a result, your information may not be as private as you’d like. Then, you also need to consider the fact that making your own VPN server is no easy task and requires considerable computer expertise.
What’s more, if you set up a VPN using VPS improperly, then you could potentially expose more of your personal data. You also might not be able to achieve the benefits of a VPN, such as encrypting your data or bypassing geo-restrictions. Unless you have the skillset and tools to build your own VPN, you’re better off sticking to premium VPN providers like yours truly!
Final Verdict – VPS vs. VPN
It isn’t a matter of which technology is better, but rather using the right one for the right purpose. If you want to provide secure remote access to your employees, a VPN is your best friend. In addition, many individuals use VPN services for the various benefits they offer, such as increasing security on public Wi-Fi, accessing unavailable content, and more.
If you want to host your application, website, or E-commerce store, then a VPS is what your business needs. As far as individuals are concerned, a VPS might be right for you want to perform CPU-intensive tasks or run complicated applications. That said, if you’re a casual Internet user, you probably won’t need to use a VPS.
Now that you know what these two services are, the way they work, and what they’re used for, you should be able to make an informed decision when it comes to choosing between VPSs and VPNs!