What is VPS and how does it work?
A Virtual Private Server is the ultimate alternative to purchasing dedicated servers, and it is much more powerful than shared hosting plans. It is the most effective way to fully manage multiple websites without having to break the bank even though the average cost of a VPS is seven times the cost of a shared hosting plan. What could be better than having your own corner of a server where your sites’ performances are not affected as much as with shared hosting?
Each virtual server in VPS hosting functions very much like a dedicated server, except different VPS customers share the same hardware. For those who need more flexibility and increased stability for their websites, this intermediate step can provide some excellent benefits such as:
• Traffic and load of others have no effect on performance.
• There are no shared services or software.
• One VPS has no effect on the others.
• Each has their own IP address and network stack.
• You can install any applications you want and have full control.
• There are higher uptime percentages since you do not have to share resources.
• Websites are secure and you have performance security since you do not share disk space, RAM processes, TCP/IP stacks, or operating systems.
How do I know what to choose?
In order to figure out the best VPS provider, you need to figure out what you want now and what you will need in the future so you can establish a budget. Consider the kind of site you have. For instance, is it a blog, personal text-based website, online store, or small to mid-size forum? These would be low bandwidth sites. Remember that bandwidth is measured whenever someone views pages, videos, listens to MP3, and downloads.
If you have a social networking site, a video site, a Flash gaming site, large forum, or other high traffic site that might use a lot of bandwidth, there will be a higher monthly cost.
If you have a new site or a web developer has just created a site for you, look for the lowest bandwidth plan since your use will likely be very low (unless of course you are expecting to create an overnight sensation).
Next consider memory capacity or RAM. This is very important when choosing your VPS provider since RAM allocation can serve as a cost determiner for an entire hosting package. RAM influences the VPS’s efficiency, speed, and power consumption. The RAM requirement of VPS is higher because it runs on its own operating system. If you are moving from a shared server 512 MB RAM is sufficient, but if you are planning to host many websites and expect significant expansion, then 1GB or 1.5GB is recommended. Make sure your provider can also provide “burstable RAM” or backup RAM is case your VPS uses up its allocation, as long as it isn’t habitual.
Another essential element to look for when choosing a VPS provider is to make sure your host supplies dedicated IP addresses. Normally a total of four (one for each name server and two others for domains) should be included, but fewer IP addresses will work as well.
There are a number of control panel options that can be installed on a VPS as well. A control panel is used to edit files and control services on the server through a web interface rather than manually. Most control panels are designed to make web administration more user friendly and to make management easier so that you can add domains, debug, and set email accounts without having to have a lot of technical knowledge. If the VPS provider installs an operating system on your VPS, but doesn’t have another control included in the package or available to add to it, you will need to install the control panel yourself.
What should I look for when choosing a VPS provider?
Particular hosts specialize in VPS hosting. The first aspect you want to consider is how long they have been in business. Start out by searching the company’s name and read. Look for reviews. Be careful of choosing a start-up company even though they can be significantly less expensive; they may not be around in six months. New companies can have default server set-ups and unexpected network unavailability which can cost your business far more money than if you went with an established company at a higher cost.
You will need to know your needs in advance as well. How much memory will I need? How much CPU power will I need? How much hard disk space and bandwidth will I need? VPS providers can provide inexpensive upgrades, but make sure when you are choosing a provider that the company clearly publishes their VPS hosting plans and explains how you can upgrade in the future.
Equally as important in making the right decision is security. You will want 24/7 professional support with technical engineers available around the clock. If there is an unexpected outage and technical service only operates between 9 and 5, you will be waiting until the next business day or not be operating over the weekend if there is no technical support. Uptime should be guaranteed at 99.9%. Make sure customer service is available at all times, and check it out yourself before making the decision of which company to choose.
When deciding price after considering all else discussed here, also consider different “perks” and discounts. Many times you can find discounts if you pay ahead instead of month by month. Be an educated consumer, and read as much as you can. Look online for coupons and other discounts before signing up.
Look for recommendations, and pay special attention to compliments about customer support and the speed, response, and quality of a VPS hosting provider. Transparency, honesty, and responsibility can help you make the best decision.