How To Decide If You Really Need A VPS?

Should you upgrade to a VPS hosting?

Often-times you’d have wondered whether you should opt for a VPS (virtual private server) for your web-hosting requirements. There’s no denying the fact that there are benefits to a VPS hosting. But this is way different from what you’d have thought of.

Identify your requirements for a hosting upgrade

A VPS is not really what it’s typically made out to be. Most of the suspicion about your existing hosting plan arises after some duration of time when you feel as if you could improve your website speed with a VPS. But this is all smokes and mirrors. Shared-hosting are configured by professionals and optimized to drain the last drop of performance and squeeze as many customers as possible onto the same shared server. This ensures that the shared server performs well even under high-load situations.

In my experience I’ve found that the server configuration on VPS plans is really not up to the mark. That’s because there’s only one customer who is going to be affected — the stakes are low. Whereas on a shared hosting, the same server (exactly the same VPS) is configured optimally so that the hosting company can run a business.

A disaster of an upgrade

Olivia is an RDN and runs a membership site offering nutrition courses. Olivia was about to launch a new course and decided to opt for a VPS. Lately Olivia had been complaining about her site speed. Since she was happy with the services of the company, she decided to remain with them and just upgraded to a VPS.

The announcement for the new course was to be made on Sunday. And as we prepared for the launch on Friday, Olivia informed us of the upgrade.

And then hell broke loose. The VPS triggered an automatic backup and filled up her entire disk. The customer care and tech support just asked her to remove the backups. WHM’s and CPanel’s complexities made it next to impossible. Finally once we freed up the storage, Olivia realized that none of the sites would work. The VPS had multiple versions of PHP and the security permissions were incorrect. Olivia was becoming increasingly suspicious.

See the timing there? All the disaster was happening right on the weekend.

Olivia then disclosed that she was about to exceed her storage quota on her current hosting plan and thus decided for the upgrade. Well there wasn’t much else to do other than to fix up the botched up VPS and get her site up and running, reconfiguring backups, file permissions and PHP configuration. Finally the site survived through Monday.

Opt for upgrading your hosting plan when the current plan becomes a bottleneck. This typically wouldn’t happen unless you are running a successful membership or an ecommerce website (in which case it’s always advisable to start with a VPS). A myth-busters is in order.

Myth: VPS is faster

There’s no reason why a VPS will be faster unless your shared server is overloaded. Should you find speed and performance issues on your shared hosting, you should report them to your hosting provider.

Opt for a VPS when:

You need more control of the environment: Shared servers have limits when it comes to configuration flexibility. If you are not happy with your current hosting software stack configuration or control. When we opted for a VPS, it was because we wanted shell access, ability to automate with scripting and installation of custom software to optimize our page load times. All this is not a de facto benefit of a VPS. Most of it is because of the configuration and optimization that you do.

You need more resources like CPU & RAM: A VPS gives you a dedicated piece of RAM, CPU and Storage resources. Do not be mistaken. A VPS is still not a dedicated server. A VPS is an operating system with a software stack running inside a virtual machine. However with the advances in virtualisation technology, virtual servers almost match the capabilities and performances of dedicated server units.

Virtualization today has made cloud computing possible and available at very economical rates. However, if you are just starting out or you feel you need a VPS, it’s time to do some fact checking. In simple terms, it’s not everybody’s cup of tea.

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