Every website owner wants their page to be secure and that their performance is optimal. However, when they start to grow and the demands for resources are greater, they encounter common problems.
Hosting services are usually limited and designed for smaller sites and soon limit the number of visits and services, but a dedicated server at this time is usually too expensive for the company.
For this type of websites the solution is a Virtual Private Server VPS.
When you choose a VPS hosting, you have access to a Virtual server that includes its own CPU, operating system, RAM, IPs etc.
In fact, it behaves exactly like a dedicated server, but everything is virtual, that is, it is through software that simulates the VPS in a section of a dedicated server.
This type of hosting is a good solution, they are more accessible for growing companies that are looking for a more complete and personalized service for their websites.
VPS Hosting gives you complete control over your server, so the necessary modifications and customizations are easier to make.
With a shared web hosting each client on a server shares the same resources of hard disk, RAM, bandwidth, CPU, etc.
In a VPS, as the dedicated server is divided by software into different virtual servers, each of these behaves as if it were a dedicated server, with its own CPU, RAM, etc. resources.
Although in theory the different VPS are not affected by the others, it can happen that a neighboring VPS affects another because it consumes all resources, receives an attack or causes some damage to the operating system.
To make it clearer the difference between shared hosting and a VPS you can see the following image:
However, due to the characteristics of the software that manages VPS, this is minimized and rarely occurs.
Unlike shared hosting where problems caused by a site usually affect others within the same server.
Differences between a VPS and dedicated server
A Dedicated Server is a standalone computer and a VPS is a part of a dedicated server. As a result, VPS are cheaper, but the resources available to them are lower.
In the picture I exemplify:
Who needs a VPS?
Those companies whose web pages or applications have surpassed basic hosting are the first to need this type of service.
There are other reasons why, in combination with capacity, they also affect the decision to hire a VPS:
The most commons are:
- Need for advanced customization. When advanced changes in the structure of the operating system are needed, for example. Access to the root directory.
- When it is necessary to have access to the root, for special configurations or installations.
- When you need to have the ability to restart the server. This is common when internal configuration changes are being made.
- Specific need for permits and access. This type of configuration is not possible in shared hostings.
- Updates or installations of specific applications such as PHP versions, mySQL, etc.
- Specific security settings
A VPS can provide all this without the high cost associated with dedicated servers.
Benefits of a VPS
Probably the greatest benefit of a VPS is the freedom it offers in configuration and availability of resources, the basic limitation is what you have contracted.
VPS are also much more accessible in price than dedicated servers. A VPS generally has a much lower cost, but at the same time good resources.
With a VPS you are practically separated from the other VPS within the same server. It is very unlikely that if a VPS is hacked, yours will be affected.
This security is very desirable, especially if you come from a shared hosting where such problems are common.
As each VPS has its own assigned resources of CPU, RAM and HDD assigned, your site will perform more consistently and securely.
If another site within the dedicated server suffers from performance problems, it is unlikely to affect you on your own VPS.
The only problem you might experience is if the dedicated server had a hardware or software problem that affected all installed VPS.
The VPS is the first step towards a dedicated server, but without the high cost associated with it. You can find VPS services from a few lots per month that will allow you to know the administration of a server.
Disadvantages of a VPS Hosting
Although the benefits of VPS are very attractive, there are still some potential problems to consider.
Administration (command errors)
The main risk you run is that by accessing the root directory and all server settings, you can also cause damage to the operating system or your website easily.
Unlike shared hosting, where users cannot affect the server, in this case you have access and can do so. A command error and you could delete your entire site!
Greater responsibility for security
When you are working within the VPS you are also responsible for a lot of security. You may have to configure all security, permissions and access for users and programs. If you do it incorrectly, it is your responsibility if you leave the website exposed to an attack.
Restrictions compared to a Dedicated Server
Although you have fewer restrictions than in a shared web hosting, you still don’t have all the resources available on a dedicated server.
If your site is likely to grow and soon exceed VPS resources, consider a dedicated server so you don’t have to make a change again in the near future.
What should you look for in a VPS?
Operating System Selection
The first option you should consider is the operating system of your VPS. You already know that Linux is the most popular operating system because it offers a lot of freedom of action, price and flexibility.
However, if your applications require windows, be sure to choose the version that allows you to install the applications and versions you need.
Remember also that Windows VPS are more expensive, and additional applications such as databases have an additional cost.
Fully Managed or Unmanaged VPS
On a fully managed Virtual server, updates, patches, and security are generally covered.
This is the best option for users who do not have so much experience in this type of administration
However, the managed VPS is also recommended even if you are an experienced user. The advantage is that your provider will assign you technicians who will be constantly aware of the updates and security of the VPS. As a rule, this is much cheaper than having staff handle this.
However, in some cases it is better to have an unmanaged VPS. It may be the case that your changes and customizations require constant and specific work and you don’t want other people to make changes that you made with a lot of time and care.
It may also be that your security requirements are so high that you prefer that no technician has access to your information.
Ability to grow
If you are looking to hire a VPS because your hosting service is no longer enough, keep in mind that it is likely that in the future you will also saturate this new service.
Talk to your provider to see what options you have when this happens.
Nowadays it is relatively easy to add resources to a VPS through the virtualization system configuration, but make sure your provider does offer this option.
When looking for VPS hosting plans, keep in mind that the cheapest is not necessarily the best.
What you really need to do is review the different plans of the provider in terms of functionality and features. First, dedicate what features you really need before looking at prices.
It also reviews the plans well for hidden costs. It may be that a provider has a very attractive price but charges other services separately as support, software installation or security services.
It is very common that there are additional products and services, and some suppliers will include them in the package and others will not. You have to check what each one has according to what you really need.
Reliability should be your number one priority when considering different VPS providers.
Reliability can be measured in different ways, so you should not consider just one element to make the decision.
These are some of the most important points in a VPS service:
The first thing to consider is the online hosting time. The vast majority will offer you above 99%. There are some systems that allow you to check if they really meet this performance.
A reliable VPS provider will offer redundant services for your backbone connections, and electrical power, as well as hardware replacements. Ask if they offer this before making a decision.
You must ensure that your provider selection really offers adequate support and customer service. See what kind of communication they offer, such as email, chat and phone.
The more contact points, the better. Also review testimonials from other clients about your experience with them.
Checklist to choose a VPS
This is our list of points that you should check before hiring.
It is essential that you identify if your VPS provider offers updated hardware and that it matches the market trend.
A simple way to do this is to see what type of processors it offers and see what Intel and AMD are currently offering. You should also check the type of RAM and hard drives they are offering to see if they are products that are up to date.
Parts replacement / reconfiguration
This is something few providers mention, but it is very important. VPS are, after all, adapted computers, but like any machine, they can fail at any time. Your supplier must have policies to replace and update the equipment in case of an eventuality.
Be sure to ask how they solve these hardware problems, as it could affect you in the future.
As we have seen, bandwidth is one of the elements that can become more expensive if you exceed the contracted, either because your site is out of the air, or because of the costs associated with hiring additional bandwidth.
First, hire what you really need and a little more. Second, ask for prices for additional bandwidth packages and keep them in mind if you ever need them.
Remember, there really is no unlimited bandwidth in VPS providers.
Managed vs. Unmanaged
Only use an unmanaged service if you have a good team that can handle your VPS. If not, always choose a managed VPS.
Even in the case of having your own equipment, I recommend you to hire the fully managed service, because for the additional cost, which is usually small, you get many services and security.
Check what are the security policies they offer. Any technician or account executive should be able to tell you if they do vulnerability studies, and security audits. If they don’t know how to answer this, they probably don’t have good security.
Customer Service / Technical Support
Always check comments on forums and specialized sites. There is no provider that has 100% positive feedback, but you can tell if there are more negatives than positive to make your decision.
You can also ask to speak with a technician to ask specific questions. With this you will realize the attention they will give you when you have hired.
A VPS is between a hosting service and a Dedicated Server, with greater flexibility than hosting, without the cost of a dedicated server.
As more attention and knowledge is required to administer a VPS, keep in mind that you will need to know more about the control panel and related services.
This is why a VPS provider that has excellent technical support and a reasonable price is important.