The decision to upgrade to a Virtual Private Server (VPS) can be a smart business decision if you have a need for the extra power and dedicated resources that a VPS offers. A VPS offers exceptional power, control and versatility, and it may be required depending on the type of applications you run on your server. Getting a virtual private server is a good option for those who aren’t ready to commit to the cost of a fully dedicated server.
Quick Guide: Meeting Basic Usage Requirements
If any of the following situations apply to you, stop reading this article now and invest in a VPS hosting plan for your server.
- Root Access: You need to gain access to the root of the server to run your own software.
- RAM Requirements: You need more RAM than a shared hosting service provides.
- Testing and Development: You run testing and development websites and need complete control over your environment.
There are many other situations where a VPS server might be right for you, but the above three situations mean that you absolutely should upgrade to a VPS hosting plan.
Outgrowing Shared Hosting
There are many situations that could necessitate an upgrade to a VPS. You’re your shared hosting site just isn’t providing you with the amount of bandwidth you need, a VPS server can help you to squeeze more performance out of your website. There are also several applications that are designed to run on more powerful servers, including Joomla, Moodle, Drupal and other applications.
When you run high-traffic websites, you may find that your hosting provider is forcing you to upgrade or move servers. Sites that get too much traffic don’t necessarily exceed the bandwidth or data usage limitations, but they may put too much of a strain on the computing resources of the shared server. You may also find that your hosting provider is limiting the less commonly discussed concurrent connections to the database. When you have too many concurrent connections, it can greatly reduce the server’s ability to host other websites.
For someone who has simply outgrown shared hosting, the jump to a dedicated server is generally too much. The financial and technical investment in a dedicated server is often out of the reach of most website owners. While a VPS limits your resources, you’re still getting more power than you would get on a shared hosting plan. You’ll also tend to experience faster website loading times because your website’s performance won’t be affected by other websites on the server.
Running Specific Applications
A VPS offers the flexibility to run virtually any application on your server. This makes a VPS option an extremely flexible choice for any developer that needs to run memory-intensive development tools and complex applications. Since VPS hosting environments are so much less expensive than dedicated servers, you can purchase more than one server and still save money. The benefits of running a development and production server can be a lifesaver for those who need to constantly tweak their server to meet specific demands.
Since your development software won’t be on the same server as your production site, you don’t have to worry about bringing down your main production site when debugging your software. Software updates can also be managed in a secure environment, and you don’t have to worry about changes affecting any of your other sites. A VPS can also be used for a backup server or for file storage. If you want to keep your shared hosting plan, you may even be able to save additional money by upgrading your main site to a VPS while still keeping the shared plan for storage and backup needs.
Less Responsibility for Server Integrity
A VPS operates much like a dedicated server, but much of the responsibility is taken off the shoulders of the VPS owner. With a VPS, you still have a large degree of control over your server, but you’ll also get the benefit of additional technical support and many of the base applications and server tools can be pre-loaded for you. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about maintaining the hardware that hosts your website, which is an issue people who wish to run their own servers will encounter.
Some VPS plans also come with the option to get a fully-managed option, which puts the responsibility for the security of your server on the head of your hosting provider. Maintaining a dedicated server can become very time-consuming, especially if you ever become the victim of an attack.
Choosing a VPS Plan
It’s important to accurately estimate your server needs when choosing a VPS plan. You’re going to need to know the requirements for your applications, including the amount of RAM, CPU, bandwidth and estimated traffic. If you’re not sure how much you’ll need, a competent web hosting company can help you determine the option that is best for you. It’s best to overestimate your needs since if you experience a spike in traffic, your website could be taken offline temporarily.
Asking the right questions before you purchase a plan can ensure that you get the right provider to host your site. Make sure you ask what happens when all of the other VPS accounts are using the maximum amount of CPU and RAM for their website. Your host should be able to guarantee that you’ll get a minimum amount of RAM that is available regardless of the current network situation.
It’s also crucial to know the underlying operating system you want to use. There are several available, but the most common are Linux, FreeBSD and Windows. If you do choose a Linux distribution, you’ll need to know which one to select. Understanding how upgrades are performed is also a crucial element to address. If you start out at a base level plan but find you need additional resources, you’ll want to know how the upgrades will be handled. Ask about costs and find out about the procedure involved in upgrading.
Ultimately, you want the best possible hosting service for your individual situation. By taking the time to figure out your resource requirements you can save money and get the server that fits your needs. A VPS is right between shared hosting and dedicated hosting, and it can help you get the power and flexibility you need to get the best performance and value for your website.