The thing about Web hosting is that it can sometimes be hard to find the right host for your needs. There are thousands of providers out there, many with irresistible prices and features. Have you noticed that your website seems rather slow these days?
Does it take ages to load up pages, even from a fast Internet connection? Do you find it hard to contact your host’s support department for help? And are you losing valuable visitors because your site goes down so much? If any of those ring true for you, it’s likely that your Web host sucks.
Sure, you could spend some time optimising your website to perform better. But, if the server infrastructure in place is inadequate, you need to move your site elsewhere. One thing you could do is move your website to a VPS host. But, what does that mean and how will that benefit you and your site? Keep reading to find out more:
What is a VPS?
In a nutshell, “VPS” stands for Virtual Private Server. If you’ve looked around at hosting packages recently, you’ll have come across VPS options.
A typical “cheap” Web host will store your site files on a server with hundreds or even thousands of others. As you can imagine, each of those sites is fighting for a share of the server’s resources. It’s worth bearing in mind that a Web server is akin to a computer.
It only has a set level of resources like hard drive space and memory. If you open too many programs on your computer simultaneously, it will slow down. The same is true of Web servers and websites. Don’t forget that many sites use databases to store and grab data, adding more overheads.
How is a VPS better than a typical Web host?
A VPS server is different to conventional Web hosting. Typical VPS hosts only have a handful of sites on them, rather than hundreds or thousands. What’s interesting is the way the resources get shared among those sites.
With a VPS, your website doesn’t have to queue up or wait for resources to become free. Your site (or account on the server) has set allocated system resources. That means no other people get to use your allocated RAM or disk space.
What happens when you run out of memory or hard drive space, I hear you ask. The beauty of a VPS is that the hosting provider can assign you more resources. Good Web hosts never over-subscribe their VPS packages.
In layman’s terms, that means there is always spare resources on the server available. So, if your hosting needs change in the future, you can upgrade with just one click of your mouse!
Is a VPS like a dedicated server?
No doubt you’ll have seen some Web hosts offering dedicated servers. You may also have seen that they cost a lot of money to rent each month.
VPS hosts often use the same hardware as their dedicated server offerings. The only difference is that you’ll have some “neighbors” on your server. Whereas as dedicated server is just for your sole use only.
A VPS host is better than a standard one because your website won’t live on a crowded server. It’s the perfect upgrade from conventional hosting. And it’s ideal for those that aren’t quite ready to pay for a dedicated server just yet.
Would I see a performance increase by migrating to a VPS?
You would usually see some improvement on your website. Don’t forget that a VPS host won’t struggle to share system resources among all the sites. Each website or account with the host gets an allocated quota. Those physical resources are only assigned to you and no-one else on the server.
Before you select a VPS host, it’s worth enquiring about the hardware set up on offer. That way, you’ll have an idea of how a new VPS compares to your existing shared server setup.
Is security any better on a VPS?
In a word, yes! Many VPS hosts offer some form of firewall and spam email protection as standard. You are, of course, free to buy extra options such as a hardware firewall appliance.
The problem with cheap shared servers is that security is often an afterthought. With a VPS, you have a more secure setup. You only have to worry about implementing security on your website. The VPS host takes care of the hardware side of things for you.
A VPS is more cost-effective than a dedicated host from a security point of view. Usually, when you get a dedicated server, all security features are optional extras. A good VPS host will include many of those options as standard.
How much control do I have with a VPS?
You may have got used to a cPanel system with your existing shared server setup. Sure, it allows you to control certain aspects of your hosting. But a VPS host will give you the freedom to do more with your virtual server!
For example, you can have secure shell access to the VPS. That means you can run command-line programs as you would on any Linux system. You also have the power to tweak PHP and MySQL settings. You could even set up and run CRON jobs. These are all things you seldom have access to with a shared server setup.
Do you get better stability and uptime with a VPS?
Of course! The problem with shared servers is that your website – or even the whole server – could go down at any time. Because there are few sites hosted on a VPS, uptime is usually 100%. Some hosts may offer cloud-based VPS solutions to guarantee such claims.
As a website owner, you will no doubt want to have a site that operates 24/7 without issue. The last thing you want to do is worry about server downtime. Migrating to a VPS host means you can concentrate on growing your site and less on fixing server issues!
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