As you may know, a server is basically a device that stores the huge amounts of data and files that make up websites. But you might ask: A Virtual Private Server?, What the heck is that?
The answer is not as hard as it may seem. Think of VPS as a server that is split into multiple servers (virtual servers). This way, one physical server can operate as several different servers.
Now you may be thinking Why would you want a VPS? It´s just a piece of a server.
Well first of all, owning and maintaining a server is very expensive and complicated work. This makes VPS a very useful type of web hosting service.
Having a VPS means that you can have the performance and freedom of having your dedicated server (you don´t have to share RAM, CPU…) without the hassle of owning one.
How VPS works
As we´ve seen earlier, VPS replicates the experience of having a dedicated server with the only “inconvenience” of sharing the physical server. To achieve the “server splitting”, hosting companies add a virtual layer on the server´s operating system with help of a special type of software.
There are two types of software technology that help virtualize the physical server. Kernel and OS based.
Kernel based virtualization technologies (KVM) are tailored for Linux hardware and require hardware virtualization extensions. With KVM, you can run several virtual servers with unmodified Windows and Linux images. KVM is also an open software so downloading it won´t suppose extra cost.
OS based virtualization technology on the other hand, is a feature where kernel enables the existence of secluded space instances. It´s called OS based because you install it over your existing operating system.
The user installs de virtualization software in his OS (like any other program) and operates it to generate virtual machines. These different virtual machines are the VPS which from the point of view of the programs operating them, look like real computers.
These separations, allow clients to install the operating system and software of their choice, giving them full control and privacy of their virtual server.
How does it compare to shared and dedicated hosting?
Shared hosting is the most common web hosting and best suited for beginner sites.
The problem you have when having a shared hosting plan is that you have to share the server´s RAM and CPU with other sites. Which could slow down or crash your website if it suddenly receives more visitors than usual or upload more content.
On the other hand, with dedicated hosting, you have your own dedicated server for your site. The problem is it´s very expensive and needs a lot of work to mantain and keep running.
So in short, you can think of VPS hosting as a perfect balance between shared hosting and dedicated hosting:
You have your own (virtual) server but at less than half the price of a dedicated one.
When should i consider switching to VPS?
If you´re reading this article, chances are you´re thinking of changing your hosting service to a VPS or want to know if you should consider switching. For that reason, we´ve come up with 5 signs that indicate you should upgrade:
1. Your site starts getting high traffic
If you´re just starting out and have a small audience, then VPS isn´t worth it. But if you see your site is having an exponential increase in viewers, you should consider upgrading.
Other services like shared hosting will make your page run slowly and lose performance if there´s a sudden increase in traffic. The fact VPS is like a private server means that you don´t have to share the RAM or CPU of the VPS. For that reason, it can handle these increases in traffic and lets you adapt much easier compared to other hosting services.
2. Your site is slow on a regular basis
As you grow your site, you might experience it running slower and underperforming. This is because many basic hosting services like shared hosting don´t work well with sites that use large amounts of RAM.
This should be an indicative to upgrade your hosting plan to a VPS to not worry about page performance or site expansion.
3. You can´t afford a dedicated server
If you´re looking for the increase of your bandwidth, security, RAM… And the freedom of owning a dedicated server but can´t afford having one, then VPS is the best option you have.
With VPS you can have the same privileges of a dedicated server but for a cheaper price. VPS web hosting services usually start at 2 pounds a month which is a small price to pay for what you get.
4. You have an ecommerce business
If you have an ecommerce site, then you should immediately go for a VPS service.
The reason being a VPS server is more secure than other hosting services and your site will have better chances of passing the PCI test.
What is PCI you might ask? Well it stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard and is established by all major credit card brands to protect customers of card data theft.
So yeah, if you want your site to accept credit card payments, then get a VPS hosting service.
5. You need to store more data
Although shared hosting packages have decent storage offers, the fact you share server resources means that slowly increasing that storage can cause problems in your site´s performance.
VPS on the other hand are scalable and allow you to store more files and data. This way you ensure your storage needs as your website grows.
Types of VPS hosting
After settling to upgrade your hosting package to a VPS, now you should decide what type of VPS service you should get:
Managed or unmanaged VPS?
Hosting companies normally offer both types of services with VPS.
With the managed VPS the hosting company will take care of your private server, ensuring it´s performance and security so you can run your website hassle free. The bad part is that these types of managed services are usually pretty expensive.
Unmanaged VPS hosting on the other hand leaves you alone with the beast, meaning you´ll have to manage your VPS on your own. The downside of this is that you need to have some technical knowledge on how to run a server and it will be time consuming work. The upside of this type of VPS hosting is that it´s way cheaper than the managed one, so you´ll have to decide if it´s more worth it to learn how to manage it or pay extra.
Linux vs Windows VPS hosting
Now, the last thing you need to think about when upgrading to VPS is should you go with Windows or Linux? The answer isn´t straight forward and really depends on your preferences:
It´s main characteristic is that it´s more expensive than Linux. Windows at the end of the day is a commercial operating system that has licence fees to operate while Linux is open and free to use.
It also depends on what your business is running on. If it runs with ASP, ASP.NET or if you have a MS SQYL database then Windows is the way to go. At the end of the day, Windows VPS are tailored to run Microsoft programs and offer more support and updates so if your business uses Windows software you should consider this type of VPS.
This type of VPS is also easier to use because it can be managed much easier from the remote desktop it comes with.
Linux being an open source OS is free to use, so if you´re on a budget this might be the way to go. This OS can also integrate open source programs much easier, so if you use options like PHP or MySQL Linux is the best way to go.
The major downside of Linux is the ease of use. A Linux virtual server is managed via SSH, so you will need to have technical knowledge that everything is running correctly. If you do have the knowledge or an experienced team, then Linux is very effective to manage your virtual server. Also, many would say that it´s the easier to accomplish specific tasks and manage their server with a Linux operating system.
Where can I find a good VPS provider?
As you´ve seen, VPS is a great way to expand your site and online business by offering more consistency and options to your page. After reading the article, you may even be interested in upgrading. But Where can I find a good provider? You might be wondering.
Glad you asked! Lucky for you, you won´t need to search too far:
Here at Obambu we offer a wide range of VPS services to tailor your website´s needs. We ensure more than 99,99% uptime with instant activation, customer support the 7 days of the week and a money back guarantee if you´re having second thoughts.