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What is VPS Hosting? A Beginner’s Guide to Virtual Private Servers

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The VPS acronym stands for a virtual private server. You might not need this type of hosting when you launch a simple web resource. But when your site begins to scale or you want to expand its functionality, you might consider switching to VPS. From this article, you’ll get to know what VPS is and how you can benefit from it.

What Is VPS?

First, let’s start with the definition of a server. It’s a powerful computer that stores all of the data and files that your site consists of. When a user enters the name of your site in the address bar of their browser, that computer “serves up” your site to their screen.

A virtual server emulates the functions of its physical counterpart. One physical server can split itself into multiple virtual machines. Several companies can use isolated instances on the same host or parent server.

The term “private” means that your business will be the only one to use your virtual server. You won’t need to share your CPU, RAM or any data with anyone else.

Reasons to Switch to VPS

You might want to switch to VPS hosting to achieve the following goals.

  • Improve your security. You’ll get access to enhanced security features, advanced monitoring capabilities and more backup space. Your website reliability will improve and you’ll feel safer when making and accepting online payments.
  • Cope with increasing traffic. As your audience grows, your site might start to run slow. Moreover, your server might crash because it won’t be able to handle the traffic. VPS will help you to avoid these troubles.
  • Add more content. Shared hosting offers just minimum amounts of RAM. The more content you add, the slower your site will load. Thanks to VPS, you’ll get more RAM and will be able to forget about delays.
  • Prevent server errors. These might be Internal Server Error, 50X or Service Unavailable. If you come across these errors, everyone who visits your site will be likely to face them too — until you switch to VPS.
  • Install custom software. If your online business needs advanced programming, a custom server configuration or custom-built tools, you won’t be able to rely on shared hosting. VPS will give you more control. Also, you’ll be able to use tax, billing, bookkeeping and other integrative programs that require high-speed Internet and around-the-clock server availability.
  • Build websites for your clients. If your job involves this type of activity, you’ll be able to host an unlimited number of domains with a VPS. Each site you build will be functioning properly because you have enough RAM.
  • Run an online store. For e-commerce, VPS is a must. You’ll get a secure and dedicated virtual server where you’ll be more likely to pass a PCI compliance test. This test will confirm that customers can carry out financial transactions on your site being sure that you protect them against cardholder data theft.

VPS is not the only possible solution that you might consider. A dedicated hosting package can also help you to improve your bandwidth, enhance your security and get more RAM. But when you compare the prices, you’ll see that VPS is a much more budget-friendly option.

Tips on Choosing a VPS Hosting Plan

You can choose between two types of plans: managed or unmanaged. The latter is also known as self-managed. To use it, you should be familiar with server administration and troubleshooting. VPS provides root access to the server. You should be able to manage the applications, software and services installed on your VPS without third-party help. If you lack skills, it would be wiser to opt for a managed plan and let the hosting company take care of your VPS. This option might be a bit more expensive than the unmanaged package.

Also, you should pay attention to the following factors.

  • Reliability. The minimum acceptable uptime rating of a VPS hosting service is 99.5%. Every minute of downtime might lead to considerable financial and reputational losses for your business.
  • Compatibility with operating systems. Hosting packages might be compatible only with Linux, or only with Windows, or with both.
  • Hardware. Your service provider should offer new and powerful hardware, including solid-state drives (SSD, which is the fastest storage technology).
  • Backup. Thanks to this service, you won’t lose any information and won’t destroy anything accidentally when revamping your site.

Last but not least, try to find a VPS hosting package with 24/7 customer support. This might seem like obvious advice — but not all companies are ready to process their clients’ queries at night and on Sundays.

Reasons to Avoid VPS

There are three main reasons why you might not want to consider VPS hosting.

  • Your budget is too tight. This issue is typical of startups and small companies. To cut down expenses, you might want to start with shared hosting — but only if you’re ready to put up with security and performance tradeoffs. Also, you shouldn’t rely on shared hosting if your business falls under PCI regulations.
  • Your enterprise is too large and needs an entire dedicated server. Such servers are optimal for streaming, database-driven and other bandwidth-intensive sites.
  • Your staff members lack technical skills to cope with unmanaged (or self-managed) hosting. But in this case, you might opt for a managed hosting provider, as was described in the previous passages of this article.

Apart from these three, there are hardly any arguments against VPS hosting.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this article came in handy and now you understand what VPS hosting is. If you have an online shop, you might want to choose this type of hosting from the onset. Otherwise, you might consider switching to it when your site begins to scale or becomes more complex. VPS might be costlier than shared hosting — but you won’t need to share the server with anyone else, which means your site will load quicker and will be better protected from hacking attacks.

 

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