VPS vs. VPN: what is the difference?

Anton P. | July 28, 2022

A VPS vs. VPN dilemma involves two completely different technologies sharing similar acronyms. A VPN is an application boosting online privacy, while a VPS deals with web hosting. So, their functionalities do not overlap in any way. 

Regardless of their unique use cases, VPS vs. VPN is a question worth discussing. After all, drowning in the sea of IT acronyms is natural, especially with new technologies emerging regularly. Therefore, let’s showcase how poles apart VPSs and VPNs are. 

VPS vs. VPN: what is the difference?

General VPS vs. VPN comparison

The puzzle of VPS vs. VPN should never bother you after analyzing the following comparison. Besides sharing the words ‘virtual’ and ‘private’ in their names, they have very little in common. 

  • Meaning. A VPS is a website hosting option based on virtualization for medium-sized websites. A VPN is an application for becoming more private, anonymous, and secure online.
  • Potential users. A VPS is common for website owners. A VPN is common for all internet users.
  • Necessity. A VPS is necessary only if you decide to host your own website. A VPN is necessary if you wish to stop IP-based traffic, access more services, and guarantee secure data exchange online.
  • Benefits. A VPS is a less costly option than dedicated hosting but offers better performance than shared hosting. A VPN provides more anonymity online, public Wi-Fi protection, and private browsing.
  • Price. A VPS price varies depending on the hosting provider. A VPN price varies depending on the VPN provider.
  • Ease of use. A VPS does not have a complicated setup and features user-friendly control panels. A VPN only needs a simple setup and offers polished app interfaces.
  • Data protection. A VPS is safer than shared hosting due to VPS environment isolation. A VPN uses modern protocols like AES-256 to encrypt internet traffic and reroute it through safe servers.

What is a VPS? 

A Virtual Private Server (VPS) is one of the hosting forms. It provides a virtual server environment for websites by using virtualization technology. VPS benefits are close to getting a dedicated server but not as wide-scale. 

For instance, dedicated hosting services mean that people rent entire physical servers. They are the most attractive to websites that generate lots of traffic and require splendid speeds. 

A VPS grabs a small piece of this benefit pie. It is faster than shared hosting but not as high-speed as dedicated servers. Therefore, a VPS is usually ideal for websites generating medium traffic. Essentially, a VPS is a combination of dedicated and shared hosting. 

Why might you need a VPS? 

Choosing a suitable hosting option can depend on various factors like site performance. So, a VPS interests users that wish to create and host their own websites. It is also one of the differentiators in the VPS vs. VPN comparison. 

  • Picking a VPS instead of shared hosting. A VPS offers more customization options and better loading times. Although multiple clients use the general infrastructure, you do not share resources. Hosting services do this by imitating dedicated servers. A VPS runs on virtual environments. If shared hosting is an entry-level option, a VPS is a step up the ladder.
  • Selecting a VPS instead of dedicated hosting. Dedicated hosting option means that one client gets an entire server. There is no sharing of resources or servers. Thus, it is likely one of the most expensive options. While a VPS copies dedicated hosting, it is less efficient. 

What is a VPN? 

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a service that establishes a more secure connection to the internet. VPN software works on multiple levels: 

  • Internet traffic encryption. A VPN scrambles information on online activities into an unreadable format. This change cuts off access to your habits for entities like Internet Service Providers. Additionally, encryption protects data on all websites and networks, regardless of their security setup. 
  • IP address masking. A VPN reroutes traffic through servers in locations that users choose. During this process, the original IP address users have gets replaced with the one belonging to a server. As a result, online entities can no longer accurately pinpoint your location.
  • Additional perks. A VPN protects users from prying eyes and helps avoid unjust geo-restrictions. However, modern VPN applications can do much more than that. For instance, Atlas VPN operates MultiHop+ and SafeSwap servers for getting rotating IP addresses. Also, we offer Shield and Data Breach Monitor. 

So, in the VPS vs. VPN dilemma, a VPN stands as a cybersecurity and privacy tool, while a VPS is a hosting option. 

Why might you need a VPN?

A VPN makes it far more difficult for online entities to identify and track your movements online. Atlas VPN also goes a step further by offering a Shield. After you enable this feature, ads, pop-up windows, and trackers will get blocked. So, it significantly reduces the amount of data entities retrieve about you. 

Other reasons for getting a VPN include: 

  • Accessing more content that is unreasonably blocked in specific locations. 
  • Preventing bandwidth throttling when ISPs slow down connections according to traffic type. 
  • Safer connections to home or public Wi-Fi networks. 
  • Getting better deals online by evading price discrimination

VPS vs. VPN: which is better? 

Analysis of VPS vs. VPN reveals that these two technologies have nothing in common. So, it is unfair to state that one is superior to the other. A VPS is an option for small business websites, smaller game servers, or larger personal sites. We can recommend it if you feel that your website has outgrown shared hosting.

On the other hand, a VPN can be beneficial to anyone, regardless of whether you want to host a website. It is an application for limiting various types of online tracking. Therefore, you can become more private, safely connect to public Wi-Fi, or access more content abroad. 

So, the VPS vs. VPN battle does not have a winner. But bear in mind that people can combine these two technologies. For instance, it is possible to build your own VPN using a VPS server. It is a more tech-savvy option, however. You might consider using a VPN from reliable providers like Atlas VPN.

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Anton P.

Anton P.

Former chef and the head of Atlas VPN blog team. He's an experienced cybersecurity expert with a background of technical content writing.



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