What Is VPS hosting?
No matter which site of a hosting company you visit, you are highly likely to find that they offer more than one type of service. Shared hosting, cloud servers, VPS, dedicated – there is something for every type and size of business. Sometimes, these can be confusing – especially if you are not really into tech stuff. That’s why in this article I will break down one of the most common (and my favorite) types of hosting – a VPS, which stands for Virtual Private Server.
VPS – a Definition
Just as the name suggests, a Virtual Private Server is a virtualized server created on a physical machine with resources allocated exclusively to that particular instance. Typically, there are a few Virtual Private Servers running on one machine, created with the use of VMware or Virtual Box what allows each virtual server to be completely independent of others – they can run different applications and OS, without affecting the work of other users.
While every VPS provider tries to differentiate its offer by offering a different set of features and resources, the most important features of a good VPS are full root access and dedicated IPs, what gives its user complete control over his server instance. But that’s not the only thing that matters when speaking of VPS hosting.
Why Choose a VPS? The Primary Benefits
On top of having root access and a dedicated IP, there are a few other significant advantages of a VPS:
- Shared cost of a physical machine
Contrary to renting a dedicated server, you don’t have to pay for the whole machine to enjoy private, fully exclusive access to resources. This is an excellent deal if you are looking to upgrade from a shared and unreliable hosting environment but are not ready yet to take over a complete control over a physical machine.
- Lots of customization possibilities
If you choose an unmanaged VPS, you select what OS or applications to run on the server. This gives you complete control over what to install and what you want your server to look like. You can change operating systems, restart the VPS and deploy Apache or Nginx without affecting anyone else.
- Real, exclusive access to resources
I’m sure you’ve seen all those shared hosting ads that claim you’ll have “unlimited” access to server resources. The reality is, nothing is truly unlimited. If you were to use too much of them, your account would be closed – otherwise, no one would invest in dedicated servers.
When hosting your site on a VPS, you know exactly how many resources you get. Moreover, you are not affected by usage spikes caused by other users – the resources are available to you only, and you know exactly how much you get in each plan that you choose. Every VPS offer will eagerly inform you about that upfront – take a look at the below sample offer:
Note – not all Virtual Private Servers guarantee exclusive access to resources. One of the hosting providers that do that is Hostinger – you can check their latest offer by following this link: https://hostinger.com/vps/web
Naturally, these are not the only benefits – but I believe they are the most important ones. Now that you know why it’s worth to move your online assets to a VPS, let’s see when it’s best to actually make the move.
When to Make a Switch?
Usually, there are two situations in which people move over to a VPS – they upgrade from a shared hosting environment or they downgrade their dedicated hosting, which they found to be too expensive for their current business needs. Here are a few points that might help you spot that it’s time to do that:
- Your site is slow, especially during traffic spikes
If you host your site on a shared hosting and the site has been experiencing a steady growth of traffic over the past few months, it’s inevitable that you will have to make an upgrade. A visible sign of this is that the site loads much slower than it used to, especially during traffic spikes.
- You grew your website portfolio
If you’re an online marketer or invest in online assets, you will need to keep upgrading your hosting environment as your portfolio and your websites grow. A good VPS will not only provide you with exclusive access to resources but will also make it easy for you to scale as you build your online empire.
- You want to customize your server environment
Some people don’t want to know a single thing about the technical stuff behind the functioning of their server. For others, being able to customize and experiment with different types of software is an inseparable part of hosting the site. If that’s the case for you, an unmanaged VPS will give you many times more freedom than even the most customizable shared hosting offer.
- You need special features or system
Another common reason why people move over to VPS is that they realize that they need one or two particular features that are unavailable at their current shared hosting plan. Most high-quality VPS providers won’t stop you from installing whatever you want – as long as it is legal and doesn’t affect other users. Keep in mind that if you want to experiment, you should look for a company that offers multiple operating systems.
- You want to increase your independence and privacy
Virtual Private Servers have the word “private” in them for a reason. As said earlier, exclusive access to resources and complete control over how you manage them and allocate to your website is something especially experienced web owners and online entrepreneurs will appreciate.
Similarly, if your current shared server keeps crashing because there are way too many users on it, you will appreciate the level of independence and freedom a VPS gives you.
It all sounds cool, and you may even be thinking of making a switch right now. Before you do that, let’s dive into the last section of this article – helping you make the right choice.
How to Choose a VPS – the 3 Principles
Of course, there are many more things that you should look at when picking the right VPS offer. But I consider the following three the most important ones:
Price vs Resources
Price is important – especially if you are on a budget. But, going for the cheapest offer is rarely worth it. Before you make a final decision and sign up, compare how much resources you get for your money compared to what other companies can offer you.
Reliability and Uptime
On top of that, make sure that you will be actually able to use the VPS that you bought. Read company online reviews and their SLA (Service Level Agreement). If they offer anything below 99.9% uptime, they are not worth your time. In the end, you want to run a business not keep telling your visitors why your site was unavailable last time they tried to access it.
This is huge especially if you choose an unmanaged VPS package. Being able to contact the team anytime you have problems with the infrastructure or even with the software or system themselves can save you a lot of frustration and money. Simply speaking, staying in touch with the team managing the server could speed up the repair and recovery process significantly.
Knowing all that should help you make the right decision when it comes to hosting your site. Take a few minutes and think whether you are spending your money right – if you are overpaying, maybe it’s time to downgrade. And if your visitors are forced to wait for ages to open a single link on your site hosted on a shared hosting… It’s probably high time to run away from it!