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Virtual Private Servers | VPS

What?

In layman’s terms, a server is a powerful computer that stores all of the data and files that make up your website. When someone types your domain name into their web browser, that powerful computer “serves up” your website to the searcher’s screen.

Now for the virtual aspect, VPS uses virtualization technology to split that one powerful server we just talked about into multiple virtual servers. Think of it this way, it’s one piece of physical hardware that functions like several separate servers.

The word private means just what it implies. Your virtual server is reserved for you, so you won’t have to share RAM, CPU, or any data with other users.

How?

VPS Hosting simulates the experience of a dedicated server even though you’re still sharing the physical server with other users.

Your web hosting provider installs a virtual layer on top of the operating system (OS) of the server using virtualization technology. Separating the server into individual compartments with virtual walls, this layer allows each user to install their own OS and software.

Because a VPS separates your files from other users on the OS level, it truly is a private server. This means your website lives within a secure container with guaranteed server resources — think memory, disk space, CPU cores, etc. You don’t have to share any of it with others.

WHY?

When it comes to VPS hosting, there are a number of factors you can seek to evaluate. Combined, these areas will give you a better idea of how suitable the host is for your needs. These include;

Server Uptime

Uptime is the measurement of reliability for VPS hosting. It is normally presented or evaluated as a percentage. For example, if you read that a host offers 99% uptime, it means that over a period of one month, the web server on average is only down for a combined period of not more than 7 hours.

The higher the uptime offered by web hosting companies, the more reliable your website will perform. This is important for both your users and your search rankings as well. Make sure the web host you’re looking at offers an uptime guarantee as part of their Terms of Service.

Speed

Web server speed is not the same as web page speed. The former is a rating of how long your web hosting server takes to respond to a query. It is indicative of the quality of service that a web hosting service provides.

Speed is an important factor in search rankings, and while you can make tweaks to improve web page loading speed, doing so for web server speed is not really possible. This will rely on the web host itself.

Managed or Unmanaged

VPS hosting is a bit more technical in nature. Because of this, better web hosting providers will offer you a choice of Managed or Unmanaged VPS plans. For those who want to focus more on building and growing your websites, Managed VPS is a better solution.

With a Managed VPS plan, the web host takes over responsibility for technical upkeep of your VPS account. This means less housekeeping work for you and more time to dedicate to what you really need instead.

Not all VPS hosting providers will offer a choice of Managed and Unmanaged VPS plans. In some cases, hosting providers may be reluctant to offer Managed hosting plans for various reasons including technical challenges, cost of service, or more.

Cost

In general, costs have gone down where most technology is concerned. For web hosting though, you need to focus less on the actual cost of the service. Instead, a cost-benefit analysis will prove far more beneficial.

Even if you’re paying top dollar for the best in the business – do you really need everything that’s included in that plan? Remember though, too cheap a plan can be indicative of cost-cutting somewhere, so be cautious of dirt-cheap VPS hosting!

Customer Support

Perhaps the most vital area when it comes to VPS hosting is customer service. Nobody likes to have to wait for ages just to get a response. Where possible, get in touch with the support team a web host has in place before you sign up for the service.

Aside from that, it would also be a good idea to evaluate what channels exist for customer support. While a ticketing system is typical, some web hosts will make use of a variety of channels including live chat, phone support, knowledge base, or even host a community forum.

Backup

To increase the reliability of your site, having a solid backup in place is also generally a good idea. This is one area that you need to ensure your VPS host does have in place. While many hosting companies offer backups, they may differ in service range.

For example, how frequently backups are carried out, how long the data retention period is, how simple it is to restore data from a backup, is it automated, can customized scheduling be arranged, and more.

The broader the range of options, the better the plan will be. However, this is something which can also be implemented at the account level, so does not need to play too much of a focal point.

Security

While all VPS hosting is generally more secure than shared hosting, there are still some differences between VPS providers. Part of this is the type of VPS hosting that is available. For example, service providers with Cloud-based VPS solutions can offer better security.

This should be a major consideration when choosing any VPS plan since any issues with security can lead to not only financial loss, but serious reputational damage as well.

Special Features

This is one area that will indicate to you how serious a web host is about its business and customers. To be honest, most web hosting companies typically offer similar products and product ranges. The devil, as they say, is in the detail.

Does the VPN host you’re considering offer something that will help give you an edge over your competition? For example, does it offer special cost-saving features, performance optimizations, or something else not readily available in the market?

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