VPS hosting is one of the more advanced hosting services out there. Why, you ask? It is the hosting service that offers resources akin to dedicated servers at a much lower cost.
If your website has outgrown shared hosting and you have thought of moving to a bigger and better hosting service, VPS is the only logical choice. The upgrade to VPS costs more than shared hosting but, you get guaranteed dedicated resources. That alone justifies the price of VPS hosting, considering the performance you can milk out of it.
What is VPS(Virtual Private Server)?
The provider virtually creates a miniature server out of a server section that acts as an independent server machine.
Too hard to understand? I’ll simplify it for you.
Consider a server machine that a provider deploys to host the websites of its numerous clients. To devise VPS on this machine, the provider will divide it into partitions and isolate them on a virtual level.
It will give birth to multiple virtual servers on a single physical machine. If you consider the performance, it is obvious for a VPS to be inferior to its parent server. However, in terms of features and technical characteristics, it will act as a virtually independent server.
It is also the reason it is cheaper as the provider can build many VPS on a single physical server to lease out. Conceptually not very different from shared hosting, VPS has a much better resource allocation and hosting environment than the former.
Let me explain!
Shared hosting is like buying a flat in a building. You get a property but, you also get the neighbors. There is a chance you may run into them from time to time which may not be a pleasant experience.
Following the same analogy, buying virtual private server would be like buying the entire floor of the building for yourself. The difference is overwhelmingly clear! Even if you are in the same building, you are completely isolated from others.
No interference, only peace!
That said, let’s move on to the main subject.
1. Virtualization Technology(Hypervisor)
Virtualization is the basic requirement for any VPS hosting. It revolves around hypervisor technology that adds a virtual layer enabling a provider to divide the physical server into many VPS machines. It also isolates these VPS and grants them an independent hosting environment.
The hypervisor you would get with the VPS will determine the work performance and capability of your hosting. Go with the provider that powers its VPS hosting with trusted and enterprise-grade hypervisors like VMware vSphere/ESXi, Hyper-V, Xen/Citrix XenServer, RHEV or KVM.
The most desirable attribute of any VPS hosting is the ability to scale the resources while adjusting performance. The scalability of the hosting depends largely on the service plan you will pick.
Make sure you gauge the limits before choosing a package so that it would accommodate your requirements.
3. System Components and Resources
As a website owner, you will need to fulfill the minimum system requirements like memory space, processing power, bandwidth, etc. for the sustenance of the website. It also enables you to decipher the optimum performance potential for your website.
Check the VPS service plans for the resources and judge if the investment you are about to make will help your website’s performance or not. Go for decent SSD disk storage, bandwidth and better processing components.
As you will be upgrading to a better hosting service, you will also be looking for an upgrade in everything. That includes the system hardware and software for your hosting.
4. Control Panel
VPS will require more of your attention than shared hosting as things operate on the next level for this hosting. It is advisable to get a control panel that has a user-friendly interface to help you navigate smoothly. It will also be helpful if it offers simple options to allow you to configure and customize settings for your server hosting.
cPanel and Plesk are the most popular control panels that perfectly fit the above description. You will have a much easier time managing your VPS hosting with either of the two applications.
5. Operating System
Usually, people are very clear about their choice of OS for their hosting platform. It is natural that Linux VPS hosting is the only way to go for websites built with PHP, Python, Java, Ruby, PERL, etc. Despite its flexibility, Linux hosting does not provide support for ASP.Net websites.
Windows is the best and only operating system compatible with the ASP.Net framework. To run these sites on Windows VPS hosting, you should consider the cost of the license copy of the Windows server.
Linux or Windows? It is wise if you take some time out to consult your developer and choose a compatible option for your website.
6. Root Access
The whole point of getting a hosting where you will have an independent VPS server is for you to control its every aspect. You can be the administrator of your hosting. It will allow you to fine-tune any configurations to suit your website.
You can customize the hosting to your liking and get much more out of it than just using it to host your website. You can resell hosting, create and run web applications and, do so much more to maximize its productivity.
7. Managed or Unmanaged
Would you manage your VPS hosting by yourself or opt for a managed VPS service? It is an important question you need to think over thoroughly.
Why? Because it will have a direct effect on how your website does on your new VPS hosting.
The only difference between managed and unmanaged VPS hosting is the level of assistance you get from your provider.
If you go with managed VPS hosting, the provider will offer you maximum support and do most of the hosting configurations on your behalf.
On the other hand, if you choose unmanaged VPS hosting, you will have to take care of all the settings and customizations by yourself. The customer support you will get will be limited to only server-side issues.
The nature of all the attributes you will read from here onwards will mostly depend on whether your VPS is a managed or unmanaged service.
8. Tech Support
Perhaps the most vital thing to consider while getting a new hosting service is tech support. It is a factor that will decide whether your provider is worthy of hosting your website or not.
There are three things you need to consider:
- Availability: The support should be available 24/7 to resolve any unpredicted problems. No matter how big or small, any hosting issue will cause problems for your website if left unattended.
- Effective: The support should offer precise and helpful troubleshooting solutions.
- Customer-friendly: A live support is more direct and understanding to ascertain your issues. It should be easy and comfortable to interact with the customer executives on the other end.
You will surely get better tech support with managed VPS hosting than its unmanaged counterpart.
It is not like you were thinking any different. The reason you are looking for VPS hosting is that it is cheaper than cloud or dedicated hosting. So, it is natural to choose a provider that offers satisfactory service at an affordable price.
Also, you have to be careful while choosing your service plans. Make sure it has everything you require for sustaining your website without shooting over budget.
Managed VPS costs more than unmanaged service as the provider has to deploy people and engineers to handle the hosting. However, you can go with unmanaged VPS hosting if you have the knowledge and skills to customize the VPS for your website.
10. Security Features
Check with your VPS provider for the security measures in place. Your VPS must be ready to defend against threats like malware and hacker attacks.
Managed VPS users will have standard security components like firewalls, security patches, etc. preinstalled and updated. Some providers even carry regular malware scans to detect and remove malicious components.
Unmanaged VPS users have to look out for themselves. They have to do security updates and malware scans on their own. Usually, it takes a lot of work. But, if you have chosen a trustworthy provider, you may manage it with less effort.
VPS is a perfect upgrade for users of shared hosting. It is affordable and offers so much with respect to hosting high-resource websites.
Choosing a provider for VPS hosting requires you to be aware of so many aspects that are way different from when you had chosen shared hosting. Still, it is a type of web hosting service. So, you have to consider a trustworthy provider that offers advanced technology, system control, satisfactory customer service and security at affordable prices.
The rest I leave up to your judgment.