What is a virtual appliance?

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A virtual appliance is the name given to a virtual machine (VM) that delivers a service or makes accessible a product. You can download a variety of virtual machines (VM) from our site. We provide these for free to make it easier for you to try out our services and to give you the chance to experiment with server config outside of a live environment.

What can you do with a VM
Virtual machines are just collections of files. They can be copied, modified and destroyed as easily as you would a folder on your computer. That mean that once you've got a backup or template copy, you can fire a VM up, mess around with it for a while, even break it, and when you're done just delete it. We hope you'll find it a nice way of working, especially if previously you've had to untaggle knotty configuration errors or re-install a machine from scratch!

Virtual appliance is used broadly
The terms virtual machines and virtual appliances are generally used interchangeably, though strictly speaking an appliance should always deliver an application so contain the required operating system and technology stack to do so. It is configured with a set of programs that collaboratively deliver a web application (like Drupal, Wordpress or Django).

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