When choosing your first VPS, it’s usually because you need more space and bandwidth than shared hosting offers. It’s often difficult to know what this phrase means or when you should upgrade.
For starters, VPS means virtual private server. With the way shared hosting normally works, there are hundreds of websites sharing the same bandwidth and space on a server. When your website starts to take up more than its fair share of the bandwidth and/or space, you have a problem. With VPS hosting, your website is given space and bandwidth on the server that is reserved only for it. This is known as a virtual private server. It’s virtual because while it may act like a private server, it really is just space and bandwidth reserved on the server, while there are still many other websites on the server. Since you have your own resources, you have all the power and more that you need to run your website.
When Is It Time to Upgrade?
Most people upgrade to VPS because they need more resources. While many shared hosting offer “unlimited” resources, there ultimately is a limit you can reach before your website starts slowing down and having issues.
VPS access also means you’ll be able to access the root and security settings of your server to provide extra tweaks that you don’t get with shared hosting. While shared hosting is a great start for most websites, it usually doesn’t take very long before they require more upkeep.
What signs should you watch for that let you know it’s time to upgrade from shared hosting to a VPS? Here’s a list:
Heavy traffic is usually the first sign that you need to upgrade your shared hosting to a VPS. If you’re getting a sudden rush of traffic, chances are high that you’re breaking the terms of your agreement with your shared hosting provider — and they will let you know about it. This is definitely a sign it’s time to upgrade to a VPS.
If you notice your website is slowing down during peak hours, this is another sign that you need to upgrade to a VPS. When your website slows down during high traffic times, it’s telling you that you need more resources dedicated to running the website.
If you notice your website is being frequently hacked or overtaken by malware, you will need to upgrade to a VPS to tighten up your security. Also, if you are running an e-commerce website, you may want to start out with a VPS to ensure you can secure it well.
If you want to add tweaks or install and run additional software on your website, you may need to upgrade to VPS to get root access control. Root access basically means having administrative access. Shared hosting only allows you to run as a user, so an upgrade to a VPS will provide you with the extra control over the server that you need to perform administrative tasks.
While VPS hosting doesn’t come dirt cheap, it is still way cheaper than paying for a dedicated server. VPS is like where shared hosting and dedicated hosting meets in the middle. It can handle a lot more website traffic than shared hosting does, but doesn’t have as much power as a dedicated server. So if you need something more than shared hosting is offering you, a VPS is probably the cheapest way to go.
Choosing a VPS
There are a few factors you need to consider when you’re choosing a VPS host to make sure you get the best VPS experience possible. Most VPS hosts offer similar services, but there are certain features that need consideration before you plunge in.
Linux or Windows?
Linux offers a lot of customization options, but Windows has some proprietary software that is only available through Windows like ASP/ASP.net. If you don’t have any specific proprietary software requirements, Linux will probably be the best operating system to go with. Additionally, you need to consider if you would be more comfortable using PowerShell/DOS commands in Windows or BASH commands in Linux. If you’re unfamiliar with these languages, try looking up some command line lists for these to decide which seems like it would be easiest for you to use.
Managed or Unmanaged?
When you’re using shared hosting you don’t need to worry about server management because it is part of the deal. However, this changes when you move to VPS. If you don’t really know much about what you’re doing or don’t have the time for server maintenance, you should choose managed VPS hosting. If you would like to have full control over your server, unmanaged is the way to go. Just remember that this will make you responsible for monitoring performance, performing maintenance, and updating software. With managed VPS hosting you have a professional handling all of this for you.
You’ve probably noticed already that there is a huge price difference in VPS hosting vs shared hosting. You may have also noticed there is a lot of range in the pricing for VPS plans. This is because some plans offer more space and bandwidth than others. Choose the plan that you are most comfortable paying for without neglecting your need for extra space and/or bandwidth. For an idea of the cost involved, you can expect to pay $8-$15 for 1GB of memory and 20GB of storage.
You will want to make sure the physical location of the data center is somewhere near where the majority of your website traffic comes from. This will help ensure you get the maximum speed out of your VPS. When a data center is located further away from your audience, it has to go through a lot more endpoints, or nodes, to reach your viewers. Choosing a data center that is close to your audience helps eliminate this extra time spent on the data traveling to them from the data center.
How Reliable is the VPS Hosting Provider?
This factor is important to take into consideration. Look at how long the VPS hosting provider has been in business, and how well their business is doing. You will want a VPS hosting provider that has been in the market for at least 5 years and has a long-standing reputation of doing good business, and is also doing good in business now. A reliable VPS hosting provider will help ensure you can keep your VPS hosting for a long time to come without the company shutting down.
You will want to make sure that the VPS hosting provider also gives speedy and helpful technical support, as there will probably be times when you need the extra help. You can check this out by visiting web hosting review websites like hosting review. Also make sure the VPS hosting provider provides support using the method you’re most comfortable with. Most VPS hosting providers offer phone, email, and chat support but some only offer chat and email, or email and phone.
VPS hosting providers have all kinds of custom control panels, and some are better than others. Before you commit to buy a VPS hosting plan, try doing an image search for screenshots of their control panel. From these you can figure out which control panel will be the easiest and most intuitive for you to use. Also, check out web hosting reviews to see if there are any complaints about the control panel being heavy and sluggish.
All the hard drive space and memory in the world won’t make a difference if you’re using a VPS hosting provider that doesn’t have adequate bandwidth to handle your traffic. Again, it is important to check out web hosting reviews to see how fast the VPS provider’s hosting is. Some VPS hosting providers are well-known to provide sluggish bandwidth, and this will show up in their reviews.
Make sure that you’re using a VPS hosting provider that has a money-back guarantee on their uptime being 99% or more. You won’t have much success with a VPS that is constantly down, so check out the terms of the VPS hosting provider’s agreement and also check out web hosting reviews to see if there are any complaints about websites constantly being down.
Some VPS hosting providers put a cap on the number of platform instances you can have on your VPS. If you want to do multiple projects with your VPS besides hosting a single website, you may want to watch out for this in the terms of service. Make sure that if there is a cap, that cap is well within your needs.
While considering a VPS option, you must always keep in mind that you will require to set up and maintain your email server’s integrity. Which basically means that you will not be able to send huge amounts of emails using the same IP address. For this, it would a good idea to check other email providers. One of the better ones out there is MailerLite.