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What is a virtual private server? A virtual private server (VPS), also referred to a virtual dedicated server (VDS), is a physical server partitioned into many “virtual” servers that function independently and are controlled separately by many users. A single physical server can contain numerous VPSs, each with its own root access and operating system (OS) that runs the hosting software for a particular user. In addition, the hosting software for each virtual private server (VPS) can include a web server program, file transfer protocol (FTP), a mail server program and specialized applications for activities such as e-commerce and blogging.
How does it work? Each virtual server is isolated from the others (or "Private"), and access to hardware resources (RAM, CPU, Disk Space, Network throughput) is managed by the "host" server. For instance, a physical server may have 2GB RAM, 100GB of disk space, and 2 x 2GHz processors with 10 VPSs on it. Depending on the VPS software that’s used on the host machine, each VPS can either share hardware resources, or have guaranteed access to 200MB RAM, a disk space limit of 10GB, and an effective CPU of 400Mhz. This example is a slight oversimplification, but it gives you an idea of a potential virtual private server (VPS) scenario.