A Virtual Private Server (VPS) offers almost all the benefits of a dedicated server at a price that’s affordable to many. From hefty amounts of disk space and RAM to increased data transfer speeds, VPS packages are designed for the advanced web developer, looking to be provided with root access to a web server.
VPS comparison with dedicated servers and shared hosting
A VPS is basically a technically partitioned web server, each of which is allocated to an individual user.
Usually, a moderately powerful multi-core host is configured to offer a dedicated pool of single or multiple cores of disk storage and memory. In most cases, the hosts will offer a broad range of GNU/Linux operating systems, with some offering Windows servers in different flavors.
The storage attached to the virtual server is always persistent. In case the virtual machine or the host on which it’s running crashes, all it takes to get it back to where it was before is a simple rebooting, except in the case of a hardware failure.
There are a lot of ways in which a virtual server differs from a dedicated one and shared hosting.
For a dedicated machine, what you get is a whole piece of hardware, with a discrete advantage of having all the CPU cycles for yourself. You could literally carry out any task you have in mind on the server without worrying about third party interferences.
But in case there’s a hardware failure, your host has to step in and move, re-point and restore some of the drivers. Quite a good number of dedicated hosts have such gears on hand.
It’s also worth noting that most of the hosting facilities offering dedicated hardware do NOT offer a backup solution, and it may as such have to be your own personal responsibility. This makes it quite difficult to restore your server or you may have to shell out hefty amounts for a pay-per-hour “remote hands’.
A shared hosting, on the other hand, is more like the folders you create on your PC. Hundreds of web owners will be allocated a single server, resulting in them bumping elbows against one another.
The hosting facilities offering this package try to employ a wide assortment of throttling systems to prevent some of the users from hogging some of the server’s resources.
Think of it as a crowded room, where everyone is competing for the limited resources in the room. The strongest one is likely to enjoy the most, while the weak ones will be left with nothing, except there will be a throttling system to ensure there’s a fair distribution of resource to everyone. But still, there comes a time where you’ll be bumped off or find yourself affected by some of the activities carried out by another user sharing the same server.
One major advantage shared hosting has over the other hosting packages is that everything is automatically backed up. But then again, there’s NO guarantee for that. You have to assume total responsibility of your backups as a just in case.
When to switch to a 1Gbps VPS if you’re on shared hosting
Most web owners use shared hosting as a launching plan. And that’s pretty much because shared hosting is the easiest of the bunch to set up. It’s also very cheap, easier to manage and requires less technical knowledge on your side to get started.
But as your site grows and the traffic you get keep on increasing, you might want to consider migrating to a hosting plan with more functions and better resources. VPS is the way to go as it serves as the middle ground between shared hosting and a dedicated server.
The following indications should clue you in on when exactly it is convenient for you to migrate:
When your traffic grows
When the incoming traffic to your website is more than what can be supported by the shared hosting resources allocated to you, your hosting providers may send you an email notification requiring you to upgrade to a server with a bigger capacity—in most cases a VPS.
Read this bearing in mind that NOT all providers send these type of notifications. And if that’s the case, then the only option you have is to keep a watchful eye on visitor traffic and load time. You’ll straightaway know when to switch.
Your options are NOT limited when it comes to this. Depending on the money you have, your options run from VPS 1gbps all the way up to VPS 10gbps.
Reliability and security
A VPS plan may be the best option for you if you’re looking for something you can rely on for all your hosting needs. This is particularly the case when you’re looking for a way to implement better backups, enhanced security features, and advanced monitoring capabilities.
Root access for better control
A VPS plan may also be a better plan when you start feeling like you need to take full control of your web host. A case in point is when you feel like installing a custom software or doing some server configuration. And mind you, the only way any of this can be done is when you’re provided with your server’s root access.
For a web developer, A VPS plan gives you a better control over your users. For instance, if your job is to help your clients design and host their own websites, a VPS may help you take on some of the hosting work and responsibility. All you’ll have to do is create a separate cpanel account for each user and grant them full access to manipulate their web content straight from the server.
Reasons to Choose a VPS over a dedicated server
When your server hardware knowledge is NOT good enough
You need a certain level of technical hardware know-how to be able to effectively manage a dedicated server. Unless you have the required experience and on top of that you know how to keep your system secure, opting for a dedicated server can only prove to be disastrous over time.
But with a VPS, you can manage all the administrative work of your server without fully understanding the subtleties of your hardware. After all, you still have your hosts to help in case of a system breakdown.
When a dedicated server is beyond your means
Don’t overstrain yourself if you can’t afford a dedicated server. You’re likely to realize almost all the benefits of a dedicated server with a VPS. Plus, you don’t need to have a backup server in case of crashes as with a dedicated server.
When you need to save time
Configuring a dedicated server takes time. But that’s NOT the case with a VPS. If anything, you’ll have all the resources you need to run the server availed to you upon purchase and the only thing you’ll be required to do is make a few clicks to get their corresponding software running.