Virtual Private Servers are another option when choosing a web hosting server for a web site.

These are the intermediate solution between a shared hosting account and a dedicated server.

With a dedicated server you would have all the resources of the server available to you and you would have full control of the server management, including access to the operating system.

With a  shared hosting server you would only have access to a control panel, a specific web page which only enables you to manage the hosting aspects of your hosting account. You do not have access to the operating system.

A VPS is the bridge between the two worlds. You have access to the operating system and can install software that you would otherwise not be able to install in a shared hosting account because this software might need root access. You can still use a control panel specific to the hosting features, however this is not mandatory and you can directly manage the server. The latter would require more technical knowledge.

So from the aspect of the OS, you can manage the server operating system and you have full access to it. However the resources of the server are not fully available to you, because the server you are managing is not actually the full box but a virtual machine. The actual server is running several virtual machines like your system and each person / company assigned to them only has access to this particular “Virtual Private Server”, hence the privacy aspect.

A VPS is a very well balanced combination between a dedicated server and a shared hosting account because you will be very flexible (because of full access to the OS) and you will also have more resources available compared to a shared hosting account. A VPS is suitable for busier and more demanding sites with traffic that is medium to high, but also with requirements that go beyond the scripts that can be installed in a shared hosting account.