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My hosting provider offers VPS plans starting at 0.88 GHz processor and 512 MB RAM. I am not much familiar with VPS hosting but I wonder if this configuration will be faster than a typical household desktop that has 4 GB RAM and 2.8-3 GHz processor?

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Generally your home machine will run circles over this low end VPS - but that low end VPS is exactly that: Low end. I am sure you will find VPS offers that are a lot moew powerfull from your provider.

Virtualization has many advantages, but it will not magically make a low end VPS faster than a typical higher end desktop. OTOH some tasks do not need that power - so a small low end VPS may be good enough. The good thing about virtualization is that you can reconfigure the virtual machine in very little time.

Assuming you use modern processors on both, they are SOMEHOW comparable (Xeons used in virtualiaztio ngenerally handle certain loads better thanks to larger 2nd level cache). So, a single core with limited allocation (0.88ghz) will not be comparable to a multi core 2.8ghz system... but then this is totally not what this offer is fore. A DNS server would not use up the desktop machine at all, but may still run nicely on the low end VPS. A web server serving only static content, and / or being behind something like cloudflare, may be comfortable on that VPS, too.

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The advantage of a VPS (presuming with a lightweight and GUI-less operating system and the purpose of solely being used to run your application) is that it has allocated power and performance for your app and it's system and nothing besides that. Your household desktop needs to boot into a performance heavy graphical operating system as well as it runs tons of processes that makes the OS more comfortable for you but which are not really needed in a server environment. If you use the household desktop just as a dedicated server (with a GUI-less OS), it'll be more performant than the VPS.

Also keep in mind that a VPS also shares it's actual hardware and (of the actual VPS host machine) with other virtual machines. That means that a hardware server with 0.88 GHz and 512 MB RAM is more performant than a VPS with the same specs.

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    FActually wrong - a VPS may run a graphically heavy thing.
    – TomTom
    May 15, 2015 at 19:01
  • You are right. I edited my answer to clarify.
    – frdmn
    May 15, 2015 at 19:08

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