One Large Server vs Multiple Small Ones
One of the main advantages of using a VPS over a dedicated server is flexibility. You have the ability to alter the specification of the server as you use it, and redistribute the resources allocated to your account across multiple servers. This means that as your site grows you can easily and instantly optimize the available resources for your needs. This capacity to move resources around can create a scenario where you can choose to either run multiple small servers or one single larger server using these resources.
Our Dedicated History
The current convention with dedicated servers is to purchase a single server, then have that server perform all the tasks that you need, such as web server, database server, email server, etc. This has come about as modern dedicated servers have become increasingly powerful, and are now capable of carrying out plenty of tasks and still have resources to spare. Prior to these powerful servers it was commonplace to have separate servers for each task you required. This is where we get the legacy DNS naming conventions, such as using the www subdomain to point to your web server, mail/pop3/imap/smtp to point at various email servers, etc. This is because back then each server was built to just do the one job. Now you’ll often find that with the exception of large companies whose websites and email systems get heavy usage, many smaller businesses can do everything in one server. Control panels such as cPanel make it really easy to set up just one server that manages all the tasks you need.
This isn’t always ideal though – which we will outline below – and when working with VPS systems you don’t necessarily have to worry about the costs of whether to buy a big server or multiple small servers as the resources can be re-allocated to fit your needs. What we’ll do now is look at some of the reasons why you may want to look at running multiple smaller VPS instead of one large one:
#1. Delegate Tasks
Firstly, it can provide greater simplicity. Because you can have a server for each service you want to run, your web server just runs your website, the database server just does database, and mail server just deals with your email. This means that each VPS only needs a small amount of configuration to get running and do its job.
#2. Maintenance Freedom
Secondly, it eases maintainability. If your server is performing all of your tasks, when you need to perform maintenance the chances are that maintenance on one server could take all your services offline together. By spreading over multiple servers,you can take a server offline for maintenance and leave the others online, carrying on with their tasks.
#3. Stay Safe
It can also help reduce the impact of attacks. If a hacker attacks your single server running all of your services, then you’ll potentially lose everything while you fix the damage caused. If a hacker compromises one of many servers, then you can keep most of your services running while you fix that one damaged server.
#4. Backup to the Rescue
Vitally, it can allow for failover. Imagine you are taking your mailserver down for maintenance. Rather than visitors getting errors that your server can’t be found, you can set up a status page on one of your other servers, and direct web traffic to that. This enables you to keep your visitors informed and let them know when the server will be available. You can also configure servers to act as backups with automated failover should one of your VPS go offline without warning.
#5. Location, Location, Location
You can run servers where they are needed. The advantage of the VPS system is that with our global presence you can ensure that your servers are running in a location as close to where they are needed as possible. It can therefore be advantageous to run multiple DNS servers in different locations around the world if you have a global audience.
Finally, with a VPS setup you can use resources where they are required. With only the one function running on each VPS, it makes it easier for you to add resources where you need them. If you need more performance for your database, for example, then you can add resources to your database VPS. Similarly, if your web server needs more performance you can add resources there.
There are a number of reasons as to why you may consider running a single or multiple servers for your needs, and it is worth spending time considering the pros and cons when deciding how to build a solution to your needs.