A virtual private server (VPS) solution uses a software platform that permits a hosting vendor to multiplex a single dedicated server into multiple "virtual" machines. In essence, a VPS solution is a private and protected Web services infrastructure that operates as an independent server.

A virtual private serverallows multiple customers to share the expense of hardware and network connections without sacrificing privacy, performance or preference. For this reason, VPS is considered one of the most sophisticated modes of automation available for provisioning small to mid-sized enterprise Web hosting.

The use of such technology allows hosting providers to save money by simulating the features of a dedicated server multiple times upon a single physical hosting environment, while concurrently allowing them to deliver high-quality Web services to their end users. VPS solutions allow Web hosting resellers to provide a full range of services usually only afforded by dedicated hosting technology. Resellers can therefore offer their clientele full administrative or "root" access to their Web services.

Thevirtual private servers was first implemented by hosting giant NTT/Verio to bridge the gap between shared hosting environments and customized dedicated servers. By using a virtual private server, Web hosting resellers and Web designers can provide small businesses the performance, security, and control of dedicated hosting services at a fraction of the cost.

A virtual private servereliminates the restrictions of virtual hosting by providing all of the administrative features of a dedicated server. Each VPS user therefore receives their own set of services that they can customize to their specific needs. Virtual hosting is limited in comparison because its users do not have root access and software configurations cannot be customized, despite the fact that physical resources are also multiplexed. A virtual private server on the other hand, contains its own unique file system and CGI-BIN, disk space, system resources, bandwidth and memory allotments, which allow for a high level of customization.

Due to the fact that a VPS solution truly simulates a dedicated server, some technical understanding of server administration is required. Any true VPS solution will provide users with: "root" or full administrative access; guarantee a specific allocation of server resources, including CPU, memory and bandwidth; and allow the user to manage multiple servers and file areas through a sophisticated control panel.

A virtual private servers will ensure "performance isolation" so that heavy traffic or CPU loads will not affect other VPS solutions on the same infrastructure. Others major features that characterize VPS solutions include: "fault tolerance," which ensures that errors, which affect one specific private server, do not affect others; and "enhanced security," which ensures that e-business applications can be deployed with greater privacy.

The most popular feature that VPS customers use, however, is the virtual private server's capacity for "functional isolation." Because a VPS has its own contained services, it is possible for users to install and customize their own open-source and commercial software packages.

Many virtual private servers on the Unix platform have become so advanced that they even permit users to install Linux RPM packages. This allows users to take source code for new software and package it into source and binary form, such that binaries can be easily installed and tracked, and source can be easily rebuilt. The use of RPM packages also allows VPS users to maintain a database of all packages and their files that can be used for verifying packages and querying for information about files and/or packages.

Small businesses that run their own e-commerce Web sites also appreciate the functional isolation of their private server, because it allows them to obtain their own secure certificates and shopping cart software for their e-business operations. Many sophisticated VPS solutions will even offer third-party plug-ins or modules, allowing users to take advantage of control panel functionality in order to install everything from the simplest CGI scripts to the most advanced shopping carts.

Due to these advantages, virtual private servers are very popular and are a relatively inexpensive choice for small to mid-sized enterprises seeking to maintain their own Web presence. VPS solutions are the natural choice for SMEs and individuals wishing to upgrade a shared or virtual hosting package. The following are descriptions of popular VPS packages now available through an assortment of major Web host vendors -

Ensim's award-winning product line includes control panels, virtual private servers, server management, as well as Microsoft Exchange hosting software.

Hsphere is scalable multi-server, centralized hosting automation software with fully brandable resellers support, comprehensive recurrent billing, trouble ticket system as well as complete account provisioning automated signup. It supports Win2000, Linux & FreeBSD. It provides fully features, easy-to-use end user web based control panel, and powerful admin user interface.

SW-soft develops the Virtuozzo technology and the HSPcomplete hosting automation solution. SWsoft's products deliver powerful, comprehensive solutions that power data center management and provide excellent return on investment.

Sphera is a leading developer of Web hosting automation and management software for Internet data centers, ISPs and hosting providers. Sphera's HostingDirector enables cost-cutting and revenue increases by automating Web hosting management, facilitating sales of value added applications, services and more.

These above hosting software firms develop popular and dependable VPS packages. Consider using a hosting firm that elects to use one of the above virtual private server systems.

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