Apart from the word “Virtual” in their name and the fact that both are sold as a service through the web, there is not much in common between both. Many people confuse VPS and VPN but they are two completely different virtual solutions. So let’s see how they differ!
Just to get it out of the way: “Virtual” in this context means that you are accessing a platform that feels and looks like it is on your own computer but is actually somewhere else on the network. Thus, even if you log out or your service goes down, routines that you are running virtually will carry on.
What is a VPS?
A VPS (Virtual Private Server) is, in effect, a virtual machine. It is a server, hosted online, that runs a dedicated operating system. The server can install and run any kind of software, applications or programs just like a real computer can, except that it is not your computer.
Virtual private servers are a hybrid of shared and dedicated servers. Like a shared server, a VPS serves several clients at once. However, it keeps each client separate, while offering the speed, privacy and customization options of a dedicated server.
A VPS is essentially a more modern and advanced version of server hosting. It is virtual because it digitally divides one or more physical servers. It is private because only the user who purchased it has access to it (unlike a shared server). It is a server because it performs tasks for a network of devices. It is therefore a VPS.
How does a VPS work?
A VPS works through a process called virtualization. This technique uses “hypervisor” software to divide one or more physical servers into several virtual computers.
For a traditional VPS, this means that a physical server is divided into several virtual servers operating independently, each with its own segment of processor, RAM, hard disk and other resources of the physical server.
The individual computing units created by the hypervisor software are called “virtual machines” or VMs.
Who needs a VPS?
VPS are generally more appropriate for businesses, although some individuals may also use VPS to run certain programs. Businesses need it to run very advanced applications, complex software, programming programs or other more elaborate applications, a VPS is an excellent option for all that. It’s an economical, yet private and reliable server.
What is a VPN (virtual private network)?
To protect your information and allow you to browse the Internet more anonymously, VPNs route your data through their own network of servers before it reaches its final destination. In this way, it appears that your activity on the Internet comes from the VPN servers rather than from your own network.
In addition, VPNs use a technique called “tunneling” to better protect your private information. VPNs send your data separately from the rest of the Internet, in virtual “tunnels”. VPNs also encrypt requests from your server, turning your information into code that can only be decoded when it reaches the right target.
How does a VPN work?
When you want to access a web page, the VPN will then isolate the information that circulates between your computer and its server. All this is secured and encrypted so that no one can know what information is circulating on it.
On exit, the VPN server will then communicate with the web server. For the web server, this data is anonymous, because the websites cannot know that it is you who is trying to access these contents. For them, it is the VPN server that accesses it directly. The website cannot even know your IP address.
In this tunnel: everything is encrypted and you are therefore protected from malicious attacks which may then possibly target you.
Who needs a VPN?
VPNs were originally developed for large enterprises. A company may need a VPN to protect its data from prying eyes or hide its IP address.
So to sum up what's the difference between VPNs and VPSs
VPNs and VPSs operate very differently from each other and serve distinct purposes.
A VPS is most useful to businesses because it provides affordable and powerful server hosting to support advanced applications and similar features.
A VPN is only used for one thing, a secure, anonymous, untraceable, encrypted Internet connection.