(The Hosting News) – You may be considering the move from a shared hosting account to something more robust, something that can help bolster not only the Web presence of your small business, but also give you tools for storage, flexibility and secure backups of your data. One of the most popular options now being used by many SMBs is a virtual private server or VPS. But many small business owners are justifiably concerned about how much time and effort they will need to invest into learning how to manage their new VPS, and if it is possible to see benefits from such a service even with little to no IT staff. While no VPS guide can cover all of the options your company can choose from, here is a basic overview of how to get started on your very own parcel of virtual land.
VPS – What You Get
A virtual private server is actually a slice of a physical server that is located off-site. It could be somewhere in the same city as your business, in another state, or halfway across the country. So long as you have a fast and stable Internet connection, and so long as the provider you choose has excellent uptime, the location of the server will not matter – it will be as if you are using a local server, but are able to access it from anywhere, rather than simply your office. VPS providers take their physical servers and portion them out into slices, which are in turn rented to customers like your small business. Each of these server slices operates as if it were independent of all other server slices, despite the fact that they are all physically located on the same machine. This means that your data will not interact with the data or programs of others on the server, and that you will be protected in the event that something happens to their data or if they manage to crash their server portion.
VPS – Many Choices
Any VPS review you read online will talk about the amount of choice that a virtual server offers, in many cases starting with your choice of operating system. Most providers will offer you the ability to work under either the Windows OS or any flavor of Linux you choose, allowing you to stay with what makes you comfortable, or break out of the mold and try something new. In addition to an OS, many plans will come with additional apps to support you – for example, a Linux VPS might come with Ruby on Rails or LAMP per-installed, whereas a Windows VPS may come with Silverlight or ASP.NET.
VPS – Making it Work
Of course, a reasonable cost, high uptime and a great selection of programming does you no good if you can’t use it, and this is where many small businesses become concerned. Without a robust IT staff, there is a fear that the learning curve to use a new technology option will be too steep. But here too providers are picking up the slack, and will often bundle their VPS options with control panels like cPanel or Plesk VPS, which provide intuitive graphical command centers that allow you to quickly manage your server slice. Providers will have a large list of useful apps to choose from, allowing you to easily install and manage what you need in concert with your control panel. And if anything goes wrong, your VPS provider will be there to provide technical support. While moving up from a shared server can be fraught with potential pitfalls, a VPS control panel combination helps smooth your path.