Definitive guide

Difference between on-premise and virtual server hosting

Comparing On-Premise and Virtual Server Hosting

Launching a website starts with finding a hosting solution for it. To host a website means that the website is running on a physical computing machine tailored for uninterrupted operation – that is, on a server.

While there is a possibility of having your server located somewhere in the office of your company, renting a virtual server online from a hosting provider is an option that is often preferred over an on-premise server. Today we want to compare both options to see, which is more suitable for what type of customer.

On-Premise Server Hosting VS. VPS Hosting

To understand the usage cases of each hosting solution, let’s compare the advantages of each one.

Advantages of VPS over an On-Premise server

  • Infrastructure. VPS servers are located in facilities, specially designed to house servers – in data centers. In data centers, VPS servers are located in specially designed rooms that are equipped with constant power sources and climate control, so your servers will never stop.
    Data centers do also have the quickest access to the global network, soit means that you will be always connected, with high speed and much bandwidth, and you’ll be able to exactly choose the capacities included in your plan (see Scalability).
    In addition to that, data centers offer a high level of security, so there is no chance of intrusion of an unauthorized person into the facility. Data centers are also often equipped with disaster mitigation measures, so even fires cannot destroy your precious data.
  • Quick start. When renting a VPS, you don’t have either to buy the corresponding hardware or create special conditions to locate it. You just find the plan that corresponds to your needs, purchase it online, and in a few minutes you can already upload and launch your website.
  • Cost. Renting a VPS is uncomparably cheaper than buying a server and organizing space for it. This is especially relevant considering the fact that when starting a web project, you probably don’t need the capacity of an entire server. With VPS you can choose the exact amount of resources to satisfy your contemporary needs and pay for it – and you can also rescale it later on.
  • Scalability and hardware configuration. As mentioned above, a VPS allows you to easily rescale your resources when you see an urge to. You choose the hardware configuration according to the current requirements of your website and in a few minutes, you get it. If you need more – just contact your provider and soon your plan will be updated.
  • Managed services. Besides buying a VPS, it’s essential to manage it properly, taking care of updates, patches, security measures, monitoring resources, and other routines. This can be exhausting if you have further tasks closely related to your business. If you rent a VPS, however, you can make the hoster do these tasks for you and thus fully concentrate on the essence of your projects.
  • Support. Another good thing offered by hosters is support. No matter how well your website is equipped, sooner or later there is a possibility of some technical malfunction. With an on-premise server, you will have to figure out on your own what’s wrong and how to cope with it. On the contrary, a hosting provider has a team of experts at their disposal, and they can recover your VPS very quickly. Contact your provider, and within minutes your problem will be gone.
  • Offsite backup. Hosting providers usually have a network of data centers, that can be taken advantage of even if you in fact rent a VPS located at one particular data center. This way, good providers offer regular backups and such backups that are stored at some other place, so even if something disastrous happens to the original data center, your website will be safe. This won’t be so easy and cheap to organize in the case of an on-premise server.
  • Choice of location. Another good thing about renting a VPS is that you are not bounded to the location of your office. It can be easily the case that your target audience is located in some other place, in a different country. In this case, it would be much more reasonable to get your server located in this particular country, to minimize latency, improving the experience and hence satisfaction of your customers and raising your SEO rankings.
  • Additional services. Many hosting providers offer various additional services that can make your life easier, so you don’t have to look for other services that can be very helpful for hosting your website. DDoS protection, DevOps services, integration with popular platforms and applications, and others.

Advantages of an On-Premise Server

An on-premise server also has a range of usage cases making it an excellent solution. Some of them are:

  • Full control. With an on-premise server, you achieve full control over the whole process of acquiring the server, its configuration, and the installation of all software components. If these aspects are important and interesting to you, an on-premise server is a good idea.
  • Redundant resources. With an on-premise server, each and every resource of your server is allocated to the needs of your project, so you get the maximum creative freedom to realize any ambition.
  • Proximity and accessibility. An on-premise server can be accessed in the most direct way – you can literally walk up to it, look at it, touch it, or taste it, and if something is wrong, you can fix it with your own hands. Especially, in case you have specialists at your disposal that know how to deal with server equipment, working with servers will be very easy.

So, what Solution is Better?

All in all, VPS can be considered a more flexible option for customers that don’t want to have too much to do with purely the technical side of buying and setting up the hardware and cannot create the necessary conditions to house the server. This is especially the case for projects of medium and smaller scale and for novice projects, personal projects, and so on.

An on-premise server can be considered an enterprise-level solution, suitable for larger companies that can afford it and can keep it. Compared to a rented server, it has a range of downsides but provides the owner with the maximum control and resources. If you want to place a server in your office, you have to create the necessary environment. If you don’t have such a possibility, it may be not the best idea. Having a big company and being able to afford to equip a small on-premise data center – it’s one thing. Otherwise, you have to think carefully. In many cases, it will be significantly easier and rational to just rent a VPS.