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VPS vs. VPN: What’s the Difference?

When faced with technical business decisions, many different terms are thrown around, and naturally, they are likely to confuse some of us. One of the most easily confused areas is the difference between VPN and VPS hosting. The acronyms are nearly the same, but the two offer completely different services. While both services offer more cost effective ways to control aspects of the company’s operation, your business may not need to use both services. Learn the difference between VPS and VPN, and how to determine which will best serve your company.

VPS: Virtual Private Server

VPS hosting is a web hosting option that enables businesses to gain the flexibility and features of a dedicated server without the expense. VPS hosting uses the principles of shared hosting to reduce the cost of operation by placing several accounts on the same server. Each account is placed on a virtual partition of the server to give it the independence of a dedicated server, allowing businesses more control over their server environment in addition to a host of other benefits. VPS hosting is ideal for small to medium businesses who are in need of fast performance and security, but are not in a position to pay for the additional cost.

VPN: Virtual Private Network

A VPN is a networking option that uses the Internet to connect a central business location to regional or satellite offices, but securely keeps the information away from the public’s eye. It connects “privately” via a virtual connection to keep information secure and allow the exchange of data with quick efficiency, without having to invest in costly equipment to build an actual private network or company Intranet structure. It offers the ability to share information between distances much like a desktop sharing program.

Much like a VPS hosting plan offers small and medium businesses a bridge between the limits of shared hosting and the cost of dedicated hosting, a VPN offers the security of a private Intranet, without the high costs associated with them. It is truly a more cost effective option when compared to investing in the server equipment and the expertise to develop and setup the network.

Which One is Right for Me?

Unless you are sharing private information and data across the Internet with other offices and people who work with you, you probably will not need a private network. Most businesses can encrypt information to protect it from hackers and other prying eyes, without the use of a VPN. If your website needs more control than a shared hosting environment can offer, then you will need to invest in a VPS hosting plan.

The VPS will provide you with the tools to privately control your public website independently of others hosted there, while the VPN will control your private company transactions from employee to employee, or branch to branch. Depending on the business structure, size, and sensitivity of information, some businesses may find a need for both services.