Those who have just launched a website will often choose the lowest-hanging-fruit when it comes to their hosting provider—a basic shared web hosting plan. These plans are great for many purposes, but as a website [and the business behind it] grows, owners need a scalable server solution that can respond to increasing demands for performance. VPS hosting is one of the best ways to accomplish this in a cost-effective manner. Cheap VPS solutions exist and likely make up the web ecosystems that you use every day. They are very commonly offered by most hosting providers because VPS servers are a favorite among website admins. There are even free VPS servers, but as always, variety doesn’t make it any easier to find the best of the lot. The following concepts should be kept in mind when shopping for VPS hosting, if you want to identify that single solution where you’ll get ideal results.
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What is VPS Hosting?
Exactly what is VPS? This acronym means Virtual Private Server hosting. It’s a website hosting solution to help admins manage their domains, security settings, storage, bandwidth and more just like any other, but instead of sharing server space with many other customers, a VPS is labeled “private” because it guarantees the availability of crucial computing resources to your site. A VPS hosting service is still shared with a few other sites, but far less, meaning that your website will be faster and more responsive to traffic demands. So, what is a VPS server? Essentially, the “server” is a digital slice of physical hardware standing in the warehouses of your chosen provider. These semi-shared servers are much less crowded than shared plans but aren’t dedicated to single customers like the highest-tier web hosting plans either. In this grey area, providers are able to define how many virtual CPUs or cores each client is given, as well as their private memory, storage space, and bandwidth allowance.
When Should I Choose VPS Hosting?
Virtual private server hosting is primarily useful for websites that have growing traffic and are themselves expanding on the backend, to provide better content, and data-driven services to customers. With more users, assets, and data to handle, web administrators need the greater resources and features that VPS hosting offers them, and they can even find solutions that cater specifically to the software and applications they’ve already integrated and come to rely on, with either Linux or Windows VPS.
Difference Between VPS and Shared Hosting
If you’ve found that your old web hosting provider’s shared plan doesn’t cut it when traffic is high, a VPS plan is better. Shared hosting plans often advertise unlimited bandwidth and storage, but how is this realistic if multiple websites shared the same limited resources? If all sites on the server were to experience high traffic at the same time, the thinness of any promise to provide unlimited anything would quickly be revealed. When any one website in a shared plan suddenly needs much more power, the others are adversely affected.
Go with a VPS if you want your own bandwidth and storage needs to be the only variable in determining the hosting environment’s performance. These plans are technically VPS shared hosting, but the hardware is sliced into much larger pieces—large enough to measure and guarantee capacity to VPS buyers. It’s also easier to scale, since admins can adjust their resource allocation on the fly, and therefore come with more in-depth tools and accordingly, control.
Main Benefits of Using VPS Hosting
In general, VPS hosting solutions provide many tangible benefits to alternatives like shared hosting, and even dedicated hosting plans as well. To narrow it down to only the greatest and most characteristic advantages is difficult, but we’d likely end up with two major ideas: VPS servers’ flexibility for programmers and its sheer availability and price positioning.
Develop and script in the language you need for your website’s existing software and unique tools, without being handicapped by a hosting environment that limits you in this way. VPS servers offer a larger number of supported programming languages and also give more control to admins and developers, who want to configure server settings perfectly.
The World’s Biggest Data Center
A lot of space is virtual these days—held on the cloud ready to be rented to the first comer. With so much computing power available to host websites and store data, it’s no wonder that VPS has become so popular. It’s like virtual office space, just larger and nicer than the “cubicle” shared hosting plans. VPS plans are common enough to start at single digit prices as well, which is the best deal for most.
Main Things to Consider When Searching for VPS Hosting
If you know that you’re looking for a VPS hosting plan over the alternatives, then the hard part is done. It’s crucial to compare VPS plans then by fundamental concepts like security, reliability, and customer support. In these areas an excellent hosting service stands out.
While VPS sites are more secure by way of their segregated hosting, it’s important to look for root access, free and frequent backups, and SSL security on all websites at bare minimum. The best VPS hosting plans also make the providers responsible for doing regular security updates and patching.
Uptime and Load Time
The second part of cost-effective is “effective”, so any hosting provider’s hardware is measured by its speed as much as its price, because the ultimate goal is to make your website as fast as it can be. VPS hosting services which guarantee uptime at 99.90% or above should be preferred, and the rare provider that publishes [favorable] load times is also one to consider.
If you know web admins, and I do, then you’ll know they like to get deep into server configuration and really make the hosting environment theirs. This is a good thing, but easier for the IT team to accomplish when their hosting provider has a 24/7 support—ideally on-site. That means this criterion is two-part: providers with support but also those who maintain their own hardware.
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How to Choose the Best VPS Operating System
When determining the best VPS operating system, you’re really only going to have two choices, Windows or Linux. There are advantages to both, but ultimately the only wrong decision is choosing Linux when you need to host Windows-specific apps like Exchange or have developers using Silverlight or ASP.NET. Windows-based hosting is also managed via the simpler Plesk dashboard rather than cPanel, which can be better if you’re unfamiliar with Linux.
How to Install VPS Hosting
Even the cheap VPS hosting providers will supply ample guidance on how to get your virtual private server up and running and connected to your website. The steps are similar no matter which provider you end up with.
- After choosing your VPS hosting plan and paying, you’ll get an email with your login. Then, remotely connect with your VPS on the PC you use to host your website and its other local assets.
- This is done by copying and pasting your server IP, and then clicking connect. When you see the Use Another Account button, login using the name administrator and VPS password you received after paying.
- This new desktop you’re presented with is the entrance into your new virtual private server. From here, your administrators can configure server settings, import assets and setup the applications necessary for the services you provide.
Top 5 VPS Hosting Providers
A2 hosting offers VPS plans that are both of the managed and unmanaged varieties, for devs who want more or less control. The plans start at $25 per month for 75GB storage, 2TB transfer, 4 cores and 4GB RAM. All provide root access via cPanel, free migration, SSL and SSD memory, and an anytime moneyback guarantee.
Cloud VPS hosting plans from Fastcomet begin at $59.95 per month for a single 2.50GHz core, 2GB RAM, 2TB transfer, 50GB storage and lots of free extras. These include free site setup, migration, SSH access, Cloudflare CDN caching, and more. The largest VPS plan from Fastcomet offers 6 2.50GHz cores and 16GB RAM for $139.95 monthly.
Hostinger specializes in VPS plans and has some of the least expensive hosting packages around, though they also set aside less resources per user. Plans start at $3.95 per month for one vCPU (we understand this to mean one core), with 1GB RAM, 20GB storage, and 1000GB bandwidth (transfer). There are six VPS plans which go up to $29.95 per month.
VPS plans from Chemicloud are all managed and more heavily outfitted, so it’s for admins who want more robust hardware but control that doesn’t include more basic notions such as patching or updates. The VPS packages are more expensive but begin at 2 CPU cores for $79.95 per month, plus 80GB storage, 4GB RAM, 4TB bandwidth, guaranteed 99.99% uptime and 24/7 priority support.
VPS plans from Hostwinds are split into four categories, managed and unmanaged Windows and Linux, and then four further inside each for adjusted power and memory. Linux managed plans, for example, begin at $5.17 for 1 CPU core, 1GB RAM, 30GB SSD space, and 1TB of data bandwidth. For such a cheap plan, I was impressed to see that Hostwinds guarantees uptime to 99.9999%.
VPS Hosting for Free
VPS being one of the most abundant types of plans around means there are few obstacles to finding a free VPS provider. Some providers offer gimmicks such as GigaRocket, which gives 1 CPU core, 1GB RAM, and 25GB storage for free to those who post at least 15 times per month in its online forums. Others like x10 Hosting offer free VPS servers but significantly less resources and control, putting it into the same category as the lowest-tier shared plans. VPS free trials are provided for 1 month by AccuWebHosting, for example.
My Conclusions About VPS Hosting
Web admins flock to VPS hosting plans more than any other because they represent the grey area, and often the ideal compromise, between shared and dedicated server hosting plans. Far less limited in available resources yet without the most precise granular control, there are many reasons to love VPS and countless options available. This makes finding the best one a game of determining your own needs before being enticed by features you may never use, but ultimately, as long as you’re correct in assuming that VPS is suitable over shared or dedicated hosting it’s hard to go wrong.