There comes a time in the life of any business when your website’s basic shared plan doesn’t cut it anymore. It’s only natural since as your site grows, its demand for more resources also increases.
A Virtual Private Server or VPS for short is the next logical step. But, when do you make the switch?
This article takes an in-depth look at VPS hosting and how to determine the right time to make the jump. Read on.
First, it’s important to understand the basics. VPS hosting simply put means that a virtualized server is hosted within a larger physical server.
It mimics a dedicated server even though it is contained within a bigger sharing environment. It has its own copy of an OS in addition to other server resources.
The whole point of VPS is virtualization. Virtualization technology converts one physical server into multiple virtual servers.
As much as the physical hardware is shared, the virtual server you’ll be using is private and dedicated only to you. So, every VPS slice has its own CPU and RAM.
The difference between VPS, Shared and Dedicated hosting all boils down to how server resources are allocated to users. In dedicated hosting, a business rents an entire physical server. So if your websites have very high traffic or have very specific setup needs, then this is the way to go.
On the other hand, if you are an individual starting out with 1 or 2 websites, it’s not practical to rent an entire server. All you’d need is a small portion of the server. Other users also rent out other portions.
This arrangement is referred to as shared hosting. It is the most affordable option.
VPS hosting is a hybrid of dedicated and shared hosting. Think of it this way.
It’s like when you’re living in an apartment complex. You’re not the only tenant there. There are other people who live there as well.
However, each person has their own private and secure apartment. The fact that your neighbor is using up more utilities like water or gas, for instance, has no bearing whatsoever on your own consumption.
You also enjoy more space and fewer restrictions than, if you were living in a dorm for example. That’s exactly how VPS works. You have multiple users all using the same single server.
But, each user is isolated from the other. The server resources one user is consuming has no effect on another user. You get the benefits of a dedicated server with the shared cost of using the service.
Virtual Private Servers are highly compartmentalized. This means that the environments that VPS operate in can never overlap despite the fact that the server is shared.
The other benefit has to do with sharing resources. When using standard hosting services, you run the risk of experiencing bottlenecks when there’s a spike in traffic on other sites. That increases the risk of downtime for your website.
The ease of scalability is yet another benefit that you cannot ignore. With a VPS, any time you need to increase your VPS resources like getting additional RAM or more CPU power, your provider makes that happen. This isn’t possible with a shared plan since each user is allocated a fixed amount of resources.
If you want to have full control over your server, then VPS hosting is the only way to go. With the help of your hosting provider, or in some cases, without, you can customize your server settings.
The sharing-plan service providers, however, don’t give users that luxury. Users don’t have any say on the server configuration.
The companies set up everything and allow users to interact with the server via a control panel (cPanel). If you’re someone who’s experienced in server management, the cPanel options available to users on a shared hosting plan will fall short of your expectations.
Ultimately what informs the decision to upgrade from shared hosting to VPS are the resources and functionality. It’s all about the performance of your website.
If your current website has grown and is receiving a massive amount of traffic then it’s time to make the switch. This, however, depends on your hosting provider. Most VPS hosting plans in Ireland are multi-tiered even for the shared plans.
Therefore, since different providers offer different experiences, knowing when to make the switch can be a bit difficult to determine. Nonetheless, here are some basic criteria you can use:
Bear in mind that what’s good for the goose isn’t necessarily good for the gander. So, 100 to 200 visits on one basic shared hosting plan might not be considered “high traffic” by another provider offering a robust plan. Some can easily handle thousands of visits per month.
As far as the loading time and downtime goes, there are lots of other factors in play that may affect your website’s performance. These may go beyond blaming it on your current shared hosting plan.
So before making the jump, you need to establish that your site’s current performance cannot be optimized. If it still feels sluggish after, then it’s probably time to upgrade. Below are some things you need to consider as you make the switch.
The speed of your website may decrease over time. Aside from increased traffic, there may be other culprits that also influence your decision to upgrade.
One of them is the database. As you add more content to your website the slower it’s likely to become. Database-intensive operations have a negative impact on the speed of most websites. So, if you notice that the processing time is longer, you should consider making the change.
If you’re on a shared hosting plan, it’s never a good look when people land on your website only to be met with a 503-server error. This is means that your visitors (and customers) can access your services.
These errors usually come about when other users are hogging the server resources you share. If those errors become more frequent than you like, you should consider changing your plan to VPS hosting.
How incredibly unlucky would you be if you just so happened to share a server with another website that’s facing multiple attacks? Or worse still, having spammy or unmanaged sites as your neighbors?
This leaves all the other websites hosted on that shared server equally vulnerable. The best case scenario is that your hosting service provider has the good graces to contain the situation.
If not, you risk losing sensitive data which, in the wrong hands, could spell doom for your business. The best way to offset this would be to switch to virtual private server hosting.
Some businesses require special operating systems for their normal day to day operations. Others might require more than one OS on the same server.
This is only possible if you’re granted full root access by your hosting service provider. It then goes without saying that, only a VPS hosting plan supports such capabilities. It offers users the flexibility of installing a customized operating system to optimize their hosting experience.
Ireland has hundreds of hosting service providers to choose from. Your decision to go with one hosting service over another has to do with what’s important to you and your business. Here are some key pointers to help you choose the best VPS hosting.
Customer support is at the top of this list and with good reason. It doesn’t matter how great a hosting plan from a particular provider is. If its customer support component pretty much sucks, you might as well write them off totally.
It’s the ultimate deal breaker. A great VPS host needs to be able to meet the support demands of its clients 24 hours a day, every single day. So, before you settle on one, make sure that they have Live Chat support or a ticketing system of sorts.
When thinking about cost, bear in mind that this firmly rests on the type of resources you’re seeking for your website. You can’t look at it as a single figure.
This is largely due to the fact that VPS resources are highly scalable. So, you’ll need to itemize these resources along with their associated prices. Then compare the cumulative cost of those resources as provided by one company with those from another provider depending on your business’ needs.
Here’s an example to illustrate this. Consider VPS Hosting Company A. The host’s standard VPS package offers 4 GB memory with 2 CPU Cores at €30.50 /month.
Company B, on the other hand, has a standard package that offers 3 GB memory with 4 CPU Cores at €40.50 /month. Choosing Company A simply because it’s the cheaper option won’t cut it.
What does your business website require? Do you place more value on processing power or on memory? Ultimately, that is what will advise your decision to go with one hosting provider over the other.
It’s all in the numbers. Compare the guaranteed uptime rate of each VPS hosting provider. You’re better off going with a host that guarantees 99.9% uptime than one that guarantees say 99.5%.
Validate these claims by looking for online customer reviews. If there are numerous people who have put that to the test and can back up those claims, that’s the company you should go with.
Do you usually use your computer on your own? (It’s a strange question but there’s a reason for it). Then you know what goes into setting it up and maintaining all the software suites that run on it.
That’s essentially what unmanaged hosting means. In this scenario, the hosting provider only needs to ensure that the VPS is connected to the network and that it’s running, period. You’ll definitely need some technical expertise to handle it.
On the other hand, managed VPS hosting means that the service provider sees to it that whatever you want to be done is, well, done. You don’t have to worry about guarding against hackers, malware, software updates or any other recurring tasks that handling.
Your hosting provider deals with any issues that may crop up. Choosing one over the other all boils down to how hands-on you want to be.
While VPS usually costs more than shared hosting, this is not always the case. Your focus should be on whether you have the technical expertise to manage it once you make the switch.
It may not be easy at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s smooth sailing from there. Use the information in this article to determine whether upgrading your hosting plan is the next logical step for your business.
Is your business’ reputation important to you? Then you’ll find this guide to social media reputation management quite useful.