Virtual Private Servers (VPS), also known as cloud hosting or cloud computing, is a type of hosting solution that is ideal for growing websites and businesses. VPS are basically a hybrid between dedicated servers and shared hosting.
Shared Servers vs. VPS
With shared hosting, many users share a single server. When it comes to basic websites such as small blogs, single landing pages, this is a suitable option. However, if your site expands and grows or if you keep data that you would prefer to keep private, using a shared server will slow down your experience and, depending on the individual users, can absolutely ruin you experience. With VPS hosting, your data is private and hidden from other customers. It also provides you with User Interface options that simply aren’t available with shared hosting services.
With VPS hosting, you pay for what you use. Also known as “bursting,” you can pay for plans that fit the exact needs of your business. No more and no less. While there are cheap dedicated servers, they use old or outdated equipment that will slow down your user experience considerable. With VPS, you enjoy the use up-to-date equipment at all times. Over time you can easily add resources and upgrades such as more disk space, faster performance at a much lower cost than a dedicated server.
Managed vs. Unmanaged VPS
This a question of skills and knowledge. If you know very little about the technical aspects of VPS, then you will do best with a managed VPS. With a managed VPS, you place complete trust in the web hosting provider to keep the server running smoothly. If, on the other hand, you are knowledgeable and experienced with servers and you wish to customize your experience, then an unmanaged VPS is the more ideal option. With this option, you are responsible for your server’s performance and speed.
If you search around, you can find really cheap or even free VPS hosting providers. Before you make a purchase decision, you must check the reliability and reputation of the company offering the VPS.
Popular ones, such as Hostgator and BlueHost, have a good reputation because of their overall reliability even though their prices are not the lowest. Ask people in your network or search in your favorite/most trusted forums for information about reliable and affordable VPS providers. In the end, you will have to pay a little more for a good service but it is worth it.
When to Switch to a Dedicated Server
Let’s assume that you website has grown more than you anticipated. If you are at a point where your site is getting lots of traffic and you have exhausted the features of your VPS, then it is time to use a dedicated server. It is the most powerful option, but it requires your attention just like an unmanaged VPS. The good news is that your site might never need to expand to a dedicated server as relizble VPS providers are really fast and powerful.