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VPS Hosting Guide

Want a web host but do not know where to begin with? Make use of this 15-checkpoint shopping list.

Virtual Private Hosting, also known as VPS hosting, is usually the next step websites take when they need something more than what shared hosting offers. For many website owners it’s hard to know what this term means, or when they should upgrade.

We’ll be answering those questions, in addition to quick tips on how to choose your VPS host. Lets get started!

What is VPS Hosting Anyway?

Before we cover VPS, we should first look at how hosting works. When you purchase hosting, you’re paying for space on a server. That server is joined by hundreds or thousands of others in a giant building called a data center.

Each server will hold anywhere from one, to hundreds of websites. When you purchase shared hosting, you’re sharing a server with all the other sites running on it. You have to share the resources, the power, everything really.

This can become an issue for websites that need more power or bandwidth. If they pull too much of it in a shared plan, they risk getting throttled or penalized.

When this happens, it’s time to upgrade to a VPS plan. This type of hosting allows your website to run within its own virtual server. Your still on the same physical server as other sites, but the way everything is set up, your virtually isolated from them.

You have access to your own resources, which ensures that you’ll have the power you need, when you need it. On the opposite side of the spectrum, dedicated hosting allows you have an entire physical server to yourself, while VPS offers a virtual form of this.

When is it Time For Me to Upgrade?

The top reason that people upgrade is because they need more server resources. Keep in mind, while shared hosting often promises “unlimited” options, there are ultimate limits to what you can use with these types of plans.

In addition, VPS plans offer additional security and root access to the server for technical tweaks. Most websites will start with a shared site to start, but eventually they find they need to upgrade.

What should you look for? When is it time to make the switch? Time to find out:

#1 – You’re Getting Heavy Traffic

The first indicator that it’s time to switch is when you notice a massive influx of traffic to your site. This is an easy way to break the terms of your shared hosting plan, so start looking at upgrades when this happens.

#2 – You Need More Resources and Security

Maybe you’re noticing that your site runs slow during peak times. Or, perhaps your popularity has you concerned that security isn’t as tight as it should be? This is when you should consider a VPS plan.

You’ll have access to consistent resources, better security options, and the capacity for better backups.

#3 – You Want More Control

Your website has been up and running for a while now, but the time has come for you to exert more control. You need server root access to put it in technical terms. This is used for installing custom software or altering your hosting environment.

You can’t do these things with a shared hosting plan, but you won’t have any issues with a VPS solution.

How to Choose Your VPS Host

VPS hosting plans will usually offer similar services, but like any kind of hosting, there are features and factors to consider when detailing your needs.

Here’s what you should consider before you choose:

#1 – Do You Want Linux or Windows? 

The operating system your server uses has an impact on how your website will be structured. Linux offers a lot of customization, but if you’re using ASP or ASP.net as your programming language, you have to use Windows.

#2 – Managed or Unmanaged Hosting? 

When you’re using a shared hosting plan, you don’t need to concern yourself with server management, but this changes when you make the switch to VPS.

With this type of hosting, you have full control, and that comes with certain responsibilities. You’ll need to monitor performance, perform maintenance, and update software as needed.

If you have experience and knowledge on this, you won’t run into any issues, but beginner’s won’t know what to do. For these people or simply busy ones who don’t have time for server maintenance, many hosting companies offer managed solutions.

A managed hosting plan includes a dedicated professional who will handle all of the maintenance for you. If you don’t have the time or skills to do this yourself, consider paying a little more for the managed option.

#3 – Total Cost 

When you start shopping for a VPS plan, you’ll find that prices change drastically. This is a result of the resources offered in each plan. Some plans will have more memory, but less processing power, and vice-versa.

In order to avoid sticker shock, you should expect about $8-$15 for a standard VPS plan that offers 1 GB of RAM and 20 GB of storage.

Ready to Upgrade?

Every successful website or blog will eventually need VPS hosting, it’s just a matter of time. When it comes time for you to make the change, be sure to follow the tips here and understand what this new type of hosting entails.

Questions? Contact me directly.