What is the difference between Xen vs OpenVZ Virtual technology? Print

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Although Xen and OpenVZ VPS hosting options are both open source server technology, there are enough key differences between them where it can be confusing trying to decide which option is the best for you. There are actually two very important things to think about when trying to decide between a Xen or OpenVZ hosting plan: performance, and cost/pricing/your budget.


Before we take a look at how these two areas differ for both Xen and OpenVZ VPS hosting options, though, let’s provide for you a quick introduction to the two VPS options as a whole.

OpenVZ vs. Xen 101


OpenVZ is an operating system-level server technology that’s actually based on the Linux kernel and OS. This particular hosting option provides a physical server that can run various independent OS instances (also known as containers), VPS’s and/or Virtual Environments (VE’s).

Compared to Xen, OpenVZ actually requires both the host and guest OS to be running Linux. This is because OpenVZ uses a single patched Linux kernel, but since it doesn’t have the overhead accompanied with legitimate hypervisors it’s super-fast and extremely efficient.


Xen VPS options can run on two different types of guests (also known as domUs or unprivileged domains), Xen Paravirtualization (PV) and Xen Full Virtualization (HVM). Both of these can be utilized simultaneously on a single Xen system. Unlike OpenVZ, Xen can also be used for both Linux and Windows, with Xen PV supporting Linux and Xen HVM supporting Windows.

Our Linux VPS packages utilize Xen PV virtualization. These PV guests don’t have any kind of emulated hardware, but the graphical console is still available, and the PV guest graphical console can actually be viewed using the VNC client (with a separate VNC server in dom0 for each guest).

Alternatively, our Windows and Forex VPS packages utilize Xen HVM virtualization. These guests require CPU server extensions from the host CPU (Intel VT, AMD-V) and offer full PC hardware, including BIOS, IDE disk controllers, VGA graphic adapters, USB controllers, and network adapters (aka: the works!) for HVM guests.



OpenVZ uses fewer resources when compared to our Xen hosting option. It comes with hard memory limits and instead of offering SWAP space it instead offers burstable memory. This burstable memory is only used when it’s available to be utilized on the server.

For example, an OpenVZ VPS hosting plan with 512 MB of dedicated RAM will have a total of 1 GB of burstable RAM that can be used if need be on the main node. However, once this limit is reached, the VPS will start giving off memory errors. If this main node runs completely out of memory, it will severely limit the VPS to the previously mentioned 512 MB of dedicated RAM limit. It does this by killing any processes that it needs to until enough memory is then made available.


On the other hand, Xen – since it’s a virtualization platform for Linux – uses much more total resources when compared with our OpenVZ hosting option. However, it alternatively offers what are known as soft memory limits. This swap space that is offered with a Xen VPS hosting plan will allow you to start using a hard disk whenever you begin running out of allocated RAM.

While this would then allow your VPS to stay online even when under an extremely heavy load, it would be doing so with a much more degraded level of performance.

Cost/Pricing/Your Budget

If you’re still having trouble deciding, simply take a step back and decide what it is that you really need in regards to your personal VPS hosting package. If you’re mostly concerned with stability and don’t mind paying extra to ensure this stability then one of our Xen VPS hosting packages is definitely the way to go.

On the other hand, if you’re on a tight budget but still want a solidly performing alternative, then one of our numerous OpenVZ VPS hosting plans is no doubt the best option for you.

As already mentioned, we offer all sorts of different and flexible VPS plans for both Xen and OpenVZ hosting options. You can take a look at these in more detail by clicking either of the two Xen and OpenVZ hosting plan option links below:

Good luck and please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns whatsoever. We look forward to working with you!

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