VPS stands for virtual private server. A VPS hosting option is one step up from shared hosting. With VPS, a physical server is subdivided into smaller virtual servers – each with its own set of isolated hardware and software features. A virtual server is private and dedicated, but it does share actual physical server space with other VPS accounts.
The Advantage of VPS over Shared Hosting
A VPS account will allow a user root access via remote Desktop Access on a Windows hosting service, or through SSH on a Linux server. Having root access means VPS users can install their own chosen programs, applications, and scripts. A VPS option offers greater flexibility and overall control compared to a shared hosting account.
In terms of resources, a VPS will have certain limitations but nothing as restrictive as a shared hosting account. VPS resource allowance depends on the resources installed on the physical server it resides on. However, because each VPS is isolated it will have a dedicated amount of resources at its disposal. These resources won’t be affected by other VPS accounts.
With shared hosting, resources are unilaterally shared. So a sudden spike of traffic, or resource usage, from one or two websites may hamper the performance of other websites sharing the same server. Because a VPS is allocated its own dedicated share of resources, this problem will not occur.
A VPS is more secure than a shared hosting account. Unlike a shared hosting package, a VPS does not share memory-related resources with other accounts. It has its own dedicated allotment of RAM and disk space that cannot be accessed by other VPS accounts hosted on the same physical server.
The security advantage of possessing your own private disk space, RAM, and other resources is obvious. No one can maliciously tamper, other users cannot pry, and you have complete control over any applications or programs you install.
Managed and Unmanaged Versions
A managed version will be easier for anyone that has limited technical ability. With a managed option, the hosting company will lend a helping hand and provide and manage some aspects of your account, such as software installation and upgrades.
An unmanaged version is simply what it says. Users have full control over all aspects and are free to install and manage their own VPS application and programs. For the technically proficient, an unmanaged VPS account offers total control.
An unmanaged VPS package will be cheaper than a managed one because there are no additional administration costs to incorporate.
VPS Problems Created by Poor Hosting
Overselling and CPU Usage
CPU resources available to a VPS depend on the size of the CPU processor installed on the hosting physical server and the amount of VPS accounts sharing the same CPU.
- A low-powered CPU may struggle to efficiently manage the demands placed on it by too many VPS accounts, resulting in slower load speeds and downtime for websites.
- Poor-performance situations occur when a web host is guilty of overselling the server space. It is said ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’ and this rings true for VPS hosting. An excess of VPS users on one server can overload a CPU, resulting in decreased performance.
Look for reputable hosts who provide decent CPU resources and competently manage VPS-to-server ratios.
Restrictive RAM Issues
Some cheaper VPS hosting packages have low RAM allocation. It is important to check the amount of RAM included in a package. The amount of RAM a website needs depends on various factors: If a website intends to run large databases, numerous smaller databases, and/or resource-intensive CMS platforms, then restricted RAM will be an issue.
At Digital Pacific, we provide between 512MB of RAM up to 2GB of RAM depending on which plan you sign up with. A low-cost VPS hosting provider may only provide 124MB of dedicated RAM. Fine for the most basic of websites, but way too limited for the majority of blogs, CMS-managed websites, and sites with intensive graphical elements and databases.
In some cases, a decent shared hosting account may be superior to a cheap VPS hosting package with limited RAM. Never get swayed by low cost without first checking RAM availability.
Two Signs of a Quality VPS Web Host
A decent VPS hosting provider should offer a user the option to modify and apply only the specifications they require (disk space, RAM etc). The benefit of this over, say, a dedicated server account, is the user will only be paying for the resources they are realistically going to use.
A good VPS host will be able to quickly increase the level of allocated resources available to a user if required (monthly charge will increase).
A VPS package with burstable RAM offers an aspect of flexibility. Bursting allows a user to exceed allocated RAM limits when required. A website getting a sudden spike in traffic could suddenly require extra RAM. Even if this RAM was in excess of the user’s agreed allocation, burstable RAM would allow this.
Burstable RAM is not guaranteed and may not always be available. It is simply a potential back-up. If a website is constantly exceeding its basic RAM allocation, the account user should be looking to upgrade the hosting package to include a larger RAM allowance. At Digital Pacific, we offer our VPS customers between 1GB and 4GB of Burstable RAM.
Why Choose a VPS Package?
A VPS offers a secure, flexible hosting option. It is a way of obtaining a hosting service with dedicated resources without paying the higher costs of a dedicated server package. A VPS account provides more security than shared hosting, and users do not have to worry about incurring website downtime or drag caused by other websites sharing the same resources.
It is prudent to assess the amount of overall resources a website will need before choosing a VPS service. At Digital Pacific, we provide between 512MB of RAM up to 2GB of RAM depending on which plan you sign up with. However, it is important to note that a low-cost VPS hosting provider’s package with a tiny (124Mb) RAM allowance often proves to be inefficient compared to a higher-end shared hosting package.
VPS accounts are flexible and can be adapted to suit individual needs. They come in many sizes and with various resource allocations, additional support, and pricing policies. Decide on the type of VPS package you will need by researching what programs you want to install, the traffic you hope to achieve, and the disk space your resources may require.
Plan ahead if you can and choose a VPS package that will allow for expansion, but it is not necessary to go over budget and purchase a plan that is way beyond your needs. A good VPS hosting provider will be able to upgrade your package at an individual resource level, as and when you require.
If you would like further information on the VPS hosting plans offered at Digital Pacific visit our website or feel free to give us a call on 1300 MY HOST for a friendly chat.