One common problem novice webmasters often face is a dilemma between upgrading their shared hosting plan to a VPS (Virtual Private Servers) plan. The worst thing that can happen is your account will get suspended for using too much bandwidth, RAM, CPU, etc. Don’t worry, a respectable hosting provider will send out notifications when you are beyond or drawing near to the limits. Usually you can find these limits in their TOS or by talking to their customer service reps. For many, a dedicated hosting plan doesn’t fit their budgets, but a better alternative would be to go with a VPS plan.
Here are some reasons in which you might want to switch from Shared to VPS:
▪ Unique Visitors – This can vary from host to host and there is no black and white number that will require you to upgrade to a VPS plan that can withstand more bandwidth. But, as a “general” rule of thumb I would recommend considering switching to a VPS when you are getting 1,000 unique visitors per day.
▪ Bandwidth Usage – Most shared hosting plans will allow you to get away with using 20-30GB of bandwidth per month, with no problem at all. Bear in mind, if you have a lot of videos or audio on your site your bandwidth can be used up very quickly. Again, there is no set number of the amount of bandwidth per month you can use, but you might want to consider using VPS if you are using 50+ GB per month.
▪ Complications – This could be anything from frequent periods of an extended amount of downtime, or frequent hacks that mark your site as “suspicious” by Google. For instance, if another site on your shared plan has a number of third party scripts that are frequently crashing the entire server, your site would go down along with them. Along with this, server side hacks can be a good indication that you need to upgrade to VPS. One user on your server might leave your site vulnerable to malware and hacks.
▪ Email Errors – Chances are when you signed up with your shared hosting plan they promised you all kinds of “unlimited” emails. However, most shared plans limit you to the number of emails you can send out per hour. Not to mention if you have several domains hosted on a single shared plan with hundreds of email accounts, it could get congested very quickly.
In order to keep your site out of harm’s way it is vital that you monitor your disk IO usage and CPU usage. Furthermore, webmasters usually don’t have a problem with disk space as the typical site will be well under 300 MB. With the switch over from shared to VPS you will then have to decide if you would like your VPS to be managed or unmanaged. VPS will be much more forgiving for the amount of resources that are allotted to you as well as processes running at one time. Bear in mind that it might take a couple days to install your control panel and switch your DNS over to your new VPS. Once everything is running smoothly you can close out your shared plan.