While both a VPS and a VPN can be used to enhance your time online, they are fundamentally different. One is used as a server space you rent over time, whereas the other ensures your safety and privacy when browsing online.

Can you figure out which is which? In this article, we’ll discuss the differences between a VPS vs VPN, how they relate to each other, and how you can make the most out of using them.

What is a VPS?

Virtual private servers have made their name as one of the best server choices on the market. With resources stored virtually rather than in physical machines, it's easier for users to configure resource levels to suit their needs.

Another upside is that a VPS is a cheaper alternative to a dedicated server, but with all of the features and capabilities – so you wouldn’t be missing out on quality. They’re also considered a more secure option to that of shared hosting, so that’s a plus too.

Learn more: What is a VPS?

How does a VPS work?

A VPS works by creating multiple environments within the server space to act as ‘mini’ virtual servers, all housed under the same server, which is done through a process known as virtualisation. This means each splice is isolated so that they utilise their own resources to ensure other segments of server space are unaffected by the activity going on in another area of the server.

Within a VPS, each server has its own resources such as SSD space, CPU and the like. But why would you use a VPS to begin with?

What is a VPS used for?

A VPS can be used for multiple purposes such as web hosting, gaming, testing environments and more. Here are just a few of the many uses of a VPS:

  • When you need root access to make changes at administrator level
  • When you’re handling sensitive data
  • When you need to use specific apps which are unsupported by shared or dedicated servers
  • Your website(s) need decent resources to handle web traffic
  • You need to run software from anywhere in the world.

What are the benefits of a VPS?

Want to rent a virtual private server? Here are some of the many benefits you can enjoy:

1. Have your own resources

You won’t be sharing your storage, RAM and CPU with someone else! You’ll have your own server that you won’t have to physically share (like you would with a shared server)

2. They’re reliable

If one server in a shared server falls, so does the rest. With a VPS, this doesn’t happen, because the servers are split out and house their own spaces. This means if one goes down, the others will continue to run.

3. They're scalable

Scaling a VPS is important if your website(s) grow. This is because you’ll need to handle more content and/or website traffic. A VPS is easy to scale as and when needed.

What is a VPN and how do they work?

A VPN, or a virtual private network, is a service that enables users to search the web securely and safely. It protects their data by hiding their IP address to give them an anonymous browsing experience. But how does a VPN work?

A VPN creates an ‘encrypted tunnel’ between the web and your device. This blocks anyone from accessing your data, including your online activity. In order to secure your data online, a VPN will first send your traffic – including downloads, uploads and searches – through a VPN server. This traffic will then be transmitted to your Internet Service Provider. This process protects your device from being identified, and instead it appears that your data is coming from the VPN server – not your device. Using a VPN server will also hide your IP address as well as your traffic, which adds another layer of security.

Why is a VPN important for security?

Without a VPN, your traffic and IP address would immediately be sent over to your ISP, and your data and device would be identifiable to others online. Not only could others then access data about your browsing habits, but personal information, too. A VPN also protects your device from bugs and malware, so they truly are a great addition.

Learn more: How does a VPN work?

What’s the difference between a VPS and a VPN?

Despite similar looking acronyms, a VPS and a VPN are completely separate services. Virtual private servers offer users the ability to host applications such as websites and gaming servers, whilst a virtual private network focuses on protecting your data online. However, you can actually use both of these services together, which we’ll discuss in the next section.

Can you use a VPN on a VPS?

Despite a VPS and a VPN being fundamentally different, you can use them in conjunction with one another. A VPN can be used on your virtual private server in order to protect your data whilst online. Although a VPS is already very secure on its own, throwing a VPN into the mix will double your security.

What are the benefits of using a VPN?

1. It secures your network

A VPN encrypts data passed within a specific network, which is especially important if you’re working with a public Wi-Fi or you’re unsure of the security of a network you’re connected to. A VPN can actively stop unknown applications from tracking your activity and drastically reduce sensitive data from getting into the wrong hands.

2. Get access to Geo-blocked services

You often hear about how TV shows and movies from some streaming provides are only available in certain countries. A VPN allows you to ‘set’ your country to anywhere in the world to access those shows. Whilst this may not be the main reason you need a VPN, it’s a nice plus to consider.

3. It’s a cost-effective security solution

While a VPN can’t scan for viruses, it is an additional security measure that can keep you protected until you’re able to scan your system (and one that can remain on your device to protect it at all times).

Is a VPN better than a VPS?

VPNs and VPS are not interchangeable. Why? Because VPNs are used to secure your online activity, whereas a VPS is a type of server you can rent out to host other servers, websites, games and the like.

However, a VPN can complement a VPS by securing its network even more so. Whilst a VPS has pretty robust security, it doesn’t render it entirely invulnerable to attacks. There’s no such thing as too much security, meaning a VPN can be a great addition to your VPS for that extra peace of mind.

Is a VPS more secure than a VPN?

Again, a VPS is a virtual hosting space for as many servers as needed and is secure in nature, but doesn’t add specific security measures unless your hosting provider offers these as part of the VPS service (or as an add-on). A VPN can work in tandem with a VPS to encrypt connections and change your location to whichever place you desire.

When should you use a VPN?

If you’re a VPN newbie, you might be wondering in what instance you would need a VPN – that’s why we’ve put together a few VPN use cases to get you started.

1. For private browsing

Online sites, and possibly even hackers, can track your movements and access your personal data. So it’s more than likely that you’re wanting to use a VPN purely to protect your data online, and that’s the best reason to use a VPN.

2. If you’re using public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi is risky at the best of times, so if you’re hoping for a private browsing session you’ll need a VPN.

3. To avoid price discrimination online

Something that you may have noticed is that prices can differ online depending on the device you use. For example the price of a flight may be £250 on your laptop, but £300 on your friend’s device. This occurs because these sites have been tracking your habits, and they set a price based on what they believe you would pay. Using a VPN will bypass this and allow you to avoid price discrimination.

4. Bypassing targeted ads

Without a VPN, sites can gather information about your likes, dislikes and spending habits. They then use this to personalise their ads. So if you don’t want targeted ads, a VPN is a great way to avoid it.

VPS vs VPN: Comparison Table

If you need a summary of everything we’ve mentioned, we’ve captured these into a snapshot view so you can quickly see the differences between a VPS vs VPN, and which service you feel could be right for your needs.



What is it?
  • A virtual private server is a type of hosting service that stores server resources on virtual machines
  • A virtual private network helps to increase a user's security and protect their data while on the web
  • Resource scalability and flexiblity
  • Cheaper alternative to dedicated servers
  • High performance capabilities
  • Data protection
  • Increased privacy while using the internet
  • Hide your IP address to avoid online tracking
  • VPS is expensive compared to shared hosting
  • VPS isn't always as secure as dedicated servers
  • May be VPN blockers on some sites
  • Can't block cookies which could still track you
  • VPNs can see your activity so make sure to use a trusted provider
Use cases
  • Web hosting
  • Gaming servers
  • Ecommerce websites
  • Run own VPN
  • When using public Wi-fi
  • Avoiding discrimination online (hotels/flights)
  • Private browsing
  • Bypassing targeted ads

Intrigued to find out more about adding a VPN to your VPS? If you’re an existing customer, contact our support team, otherwise chat to sales to get your VPS journey started.