Choosing a VPS, or virtual private server, as your web hosting solution fills the gap between entry-level shared hosting plans and dedicated hosting where you lease your own physical server. Shared hosting provides fewer resources and less control to keep costs down for minimal websites. A virtual server functions very like a stand-alone physical server. VPS is generally more powerful, customisable, and more costly than shared plans, but more affordable and easier to manage than a dedicated server. Unless you have a very tight budget, a VPS can be the ideal hosting environment for your website.
What is VPS Hosting?
With VPS hosting, a physical server in a hosting company’s data centre is divided into partitions. Each partition has its own operating system and is configured with access to only its assigned allotment of resources, such as disk storage, RAM, or CPU. This allows each partition to function as an independent server under your control. Although there might be several VPS accounts on the same physical server, they remain separate so that none are affected by the activities of any other VPS. This allows you greater performance and reliability than basic shared hosting.
Who Uses This Kind of Hosting?
Most new websites start with a shared hosting plan. That’s because shared hosting is the simplest option. It’s low-cost, easily managed, and requires little technical knowledge. However, as your website grows and you need faster performance, more disk storage, or greater bandwidth, VPS hosting may become necessary.
Some other indications that you should use VPS hosting include higher traffic than your shared account can handle, a need for more security, reliability, or bespoke OS and software configuration options. In short, VPS is there for clients who can’t settle for basic hosting but don’t need their own physical server.
Factors to Consider When Choosing VPS Hosting Provider
Managed vs Unmanaged Hosting
In VPS hosting, a virtual server is entrusted to you. If maintenance of the server is handled by your host, it’s called managed VPS, though provider services will vary. Unmanaged VPS, however, means you have the obligation of performing all the monitoring and upkeep of your server. This requires some good technical skills. While the physical server the VPS runs on will be maintained by the host company, any software or configuration problems that show up in your virtual server you’ll have to deal with yourself.
Linux vs Windows
The operating system of your virtual server will determine what kinds of software you can use. The two most popular OS products installed are Linux and Windows. Both have their proponents and critics. Linux is more affordable and is developed in an open source community for faster updates and fresh add-ons. However, more software options are available for use with Windows servers. If you want simpler application compatibility, Windows might be a better choice. Your hosting provider might allow you other OS options with your VPS plan. Outline your needs and do your homework before making the choice between operating systems.
Cloud-based vs Conventional VPS
Traitional VPS solutions form a part of one physical server. Even though you get more resources and performance than you’d get with most shared hosting, it still has it’s limits. The latest advance is cloud VPS hosting. This means that your virtual server is distributed over a number of servers, not just one. But from your viewpoint, it still functions as a single unit. The advantage to cloud-based hosting is that it can utilise parallel computing when necessary, such as one activity being done over multiple processors. Cloud-hosting ensures that you’ll always have excellent performance and stability.
The performance and speed you get from a VPS in part depends on how you set up and configure the environment for your specific needs. Factors like caching, RAM, disk storage, and software settings are important to the overall website experience. But the quality of the machine your VPS runs on is also critical. If the server hardware is dated or inadequate, no amount of tweaking will improve your page loads and data rates. Don’t commit to a VPS plan until you know more about the type of server and what kind of resources it provides. Be sure it’s a top brand with up-to-date hardware.
Redundancy refers to having backup resources available, especially when it comes to data, but also hardware and other factors. This includes options that provide UPS (uninterrupted power supply) battery backups to ensure your server doesn’t shut down during power outages, as well as frequent data backups to save information in case something goes wrong with the physical server. Data restores should be a priority and performed quickly and seamlessly for minimal downtime.
Scalability is about having redundant resources so that your server can still function if something like traffic spikes or bulk data imports take place. Scalability and redundancy should be built into your VPS so that you get continuity, or maximum uptime, as circumstances change. You should also be able to scale your VPS resources up or down as your business needs change, otherwise you could end up losing business or waste funds paying for more than you need.
Having strong security measures in place is important in any hosting environment, as hackers and spyware are a constant threat. The more security your VPS hosting company can provide, the safer you and your customers will be. Providing available Secured Socket Layer encryption (SSL Certificates) is an advantage even you aren’t conducting payment transactions. They indicate that the provider puts a priority on security and helps build visitor trust in your site. Your VPS host should also provide email filtering and 24/7 server monitoring against cyber attack, as well as data centre safeguards such as restricted access and physical intrusion detection systems.
Problems with your VPS could happen at any time, due to missing system files, corrupt applications, accidental exposure to malware, and other unexpected issues. The hosting provider you choose should provide excellent customer support so that you can get these issues fixed as soon as possible. You should have multiple ways of contacting them, and be able to count on fast, friendly, and effective help. If you can’t get fast access to highly-trained teams, you’ll have a hard time getting problems fixed. Be sure you understand the support options available, and test the host’s customer service team to see if they deliver on their promises.
Your costs play a central part of your hosting decisions. High-end prices don’t guarantee a good hosting experience anymore than low prices mean a bad host. You just need to do your homework to ensure you’re finding the best VPS hosting cost that still covers all the features you need. Actual prices will vary widely between hosting companies or even VPS plans within the same company. This usually depends on which set of features you want and what kind of hosting agreements are offered. Yearly hosting costs are usually lower than monthly rates, and two or three-year commitments even less, However, you can also find discounted prices for new customers that help to reduce your overall costs.
This is a good indicator of the trust you can have in your hosting company. Reliability means you get high uptimes and consistently good performance from your site to keep your visitors engaged. Low uptimes indicate problems with the host’s network. A good host should be able to provide 99.9 percent uptimes or better. You should also be able to count on fast page loads. Speed is an important factor in pleasing your visitors but also in SEO. Search engines will rank faster sites higher than slow ones. If your provider can’t guarantee high uptime, well-maintained data centres, and doesn’t have a high-bandwidth network, look elsewhere.
As your website grows, there may come a point where shared hosting doesn’t provide the performance and resources you need. VPS hosting is the next step forward. You’ll get both greater resources and more control to customise your website hosting to your own original ideas. It’s still more affordable than your own dedicated server, and easier to manage. In some cases, with advantages like cloud-based VPS or fast solid-state (SSD) drives, you might even getter performance and reliability than you would with a low-end dedicated server. VPS hosting provides a more robust online platform a reasonable cost.
UKHost4U provides several cloud VPS hosting plans for our customers. Your business is better supported on a virtual server that provides superior performance and a high level of customisation. With any of our VPS plans, you’ll get generous discounts for the first six months, free setup and support, fast and reliable SSD drives, and a choice of Linux or Windows. You’ll also have the option of priority support plans, SSL certificates, and more.
To learn about our VPS solutions, send an email to email@example.com or call us directly at 0330 088 5790 or +44.131 541 23 28.