Let's first understand what a virtual private server is. The basic definition is that it's a fraction (theoretically between 1% and 99%) of a dedicated server, but that it runs its own copy of an operating system (usually Linux or BSD). That said, a hosting provider could get a dedicated server (hopefully a nice one with RAID! oh the liabilities! ), get virtualization software from Ensim (ServerXchange), SWSoft (Virtuozzo) or someone else, and sell these partitions known as "virtual private servers". Frankly, they can be crap, or they can be sleek.
Originally posted by Franki
So what are the differences between a reselling program and a Virtual Private Server?
What you get in the end is very similar to a dedicated server. You can reboot it, you can log in as root. You can create users, you can delete users. You can add to the operating system, you can remove from the operating system. And in the end, if you don't know what you're doing, you can screw the whole thing up. Because of this risk, many people end up using a control panel system on their VPSes. The control panels make it easy to add/remove accounts, do backups, etc. What many of them won't do for you is keep the software and OS up to date. Depending on your hosting provider, and on the VPS software that they're using, it may be easy or difficult to update/patch the private servers. Ask your host what their policy is, it's the only way to find out.
How does this differ from reselling virtual accounts? The difference is pretty straightforward: access, resources and flexibility. With reselling virtual (shared) accounts, you're usually purchasing the right to create XX number of virtual hosting accounts on your provider's server. Many providers today allow you to create specially tailored plans to suit your clients' needs. What you don't get with reselling is root access, a guaranteed resource level (which may or may not be a good thing, depending on the quality of the server you're reselling), and the flexibility to update/install/restart software as you wish. Again, possibly a good thing if you're not looking to get up to your elbows in server guts.
Either which way you go, you probably will have to deal with supporting and billing your clients. If your host is friendly enough, they will probably help you out with some support issues that stump you, but generally, you are expected to be the first line of support when your client requests assistance.
What it comes down to is this: how much responsibility do you want to have? Reselling is easy and straightforward if you're looking to just offer normal hosting. If you want to add special software to your server and be able to reboot as you please (which you shouldn't have to do, btw), then go with a VPS.
Have fun, let us know how it goes.
George Vuckovic - CEO & President, Tilted Planet, Ltd.
Dedicated Servers, Dedicated Service, Definitely Tilted.
Celebrating 16 years of top-notch hosting and innovation!
Visit our 13 year old, obviously ancient site at TILTED.COM