What is the difference between VPN and VPS
One of the pitfalls of acronyms is how close and confusing they are. It is often that VPN and VPS are being confused with one another. They aren’t even to be compared with one another as they deal with very different aspect of computing.
In a nutshell, a VPN stands for Virtual Private Network while VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. A VPN is therefore a way to connect two points while a VPS is a standalone virtualised operating system. Let’s dive deeper by detailing both terms and their technical ramifications.
1. What is a VPN : Virtual Private Network
A VPN allows to set a network between two access points. The network being private by definition is encrypted with an encryption protocol (AES / RSA / Blowfish..). Thanks to the encryption, the VPN creates a secured data tunnels between the two points. A VPN is generally used through a public internet network. For example it can be used between a company’s network and an employee’s laptop or for a person and a VPN company to protect his anonimity and privacy. The usage are rather wide and diverse. Thanks to a VPN, you may
- Gain access to local company’s resources (Local Storage, Servers / clients)
- Protect / Anonymise your online activities
- Gain Access to another country’s web content by using a foreing based VPN serve
2. What is a VPS: Virtual Private Server
A VPS is a virtual computer with its own operating system. It uses a virtualisation technology to simulate a computer resources. There are several kind of virtualisation solutions with their associated use cases and benefits. To name a few, here is a non-exhaustive list:
- Microsoft Hyper-V
- Citrix Xen
The virtualisation solution operates generally on a standalone server or computer. It will create a virtual computer with a desired amount of resouces. The results will simulate the experience of a dedicated server. You may opt for any Linux Distribution or even Windows.
All the data is isolated at the OS level which provides a layer of security as far as it isn’t shared with any others users. A VPS also comes with full administrator / root rights.
With a VPS there are an infitnite amount of uses cases and here are some:
- Run a web server to host a website / web app
- Host a game server
- a application
- Set a remote office with tools reachable from anywhere in the world
- Run a mail server
- Install any app that requires a constant access
The VPS are highly reliable and robust solutions especially when purchased from notorious VPS providers. For example, with HostStage we provide a wide amount of VPS solutions that can be found below:
3. OK, So Can I run a VPN inside a VPS?
Now that you have a good sense of what both features means the next question is that whether you may run a VPN inside a VPS.
The question also needs to be refined and divided in 2 sub parts:
A. Can I connect to a VPN from a VPS?
Yes, you can connect to a VPN from a VPS. Whether you would like to anonymise its activities or create a network between your VPS and your local network for it to access your NAS at home is entirely possible. You may install a VPN client on the VPS and connect to your VPS server. You may also run a VPN server from your Windows VPS.
B. Can I use any VPN Solutions with a VPS?
Yes, you may use any VPN provider on a VPS. Each provider has some specificity for their client to run. For example, do they require Windows or Linux based computer?
A good rule of thumb is to pay attention on how you are using your VPS and whether the VPN will tunnel all the traffic through the VPN or only what you choose.
If all the traffic which is often the case on the Windows VPS, you would need to run a NO-IP client. It will give you a domain and a software to run on your VPS to capture the current VPN IP for you to connect to your VPS. A great guide is available at the link below
There you go for the VPN vs VPS diffences, if you have the slightest question make sure to drop a comment below.