While shared servers are cost-effective solutions for most website hosting, many webmasters have experienced their disadvantages. Page load speeds can be slow and may vary at random, while the back-office performance of many sites, WordPress ones, in particular, is so poor that end-user response is very poor.
Some webmasters have been told their preferred CMS or bespoke application is “incompatible with the server”. Security incidents are another concern. With a shared server you are competing with other websites for resources and these are the consequences.
Alternatively, you could lease a server exclusively for your own use, but dedicated servers come at a high price. It also comes with the responsibility to familiarise yourself with server management. It may be preferable to choose a solution that combines the best of both options, such as VPS hosting.
What is VPS hosting?
VPS stands for “virtual private server”. This means your website is still hosted on a computer shared with a limited number of other similar (VPS) websites. However, each virtual server is allocated and guaranteed exclusive access to specific amounts of resources such as storage space, RAM, processor access and bandwidth. Virtual servers never have to compete to access those resources, so their performance is always guaranteed no matter what may be happening on a neighbouring website.
Each of these virtual servers has access to its own server settings. In effect, although they operate within the same physical hardware, each account behaves as an independent server. This gives you a great deal of control over the operating system, server configuration, installed software and security solutions. Most importantly, your RAM and bandwidth are always there when you, or your customers, need them. Often you can choose to upscale them if your traffic increases.
Different hosting providers offer varying levels of support for VPS, but generally speaking there is still good advice and assistance available when you need it. With a professional hosting provider, you should have no problem operating a VPS account and you should not need experienced in-house server and network management staff. However, there are still sound reasons for choosing a managed account.
A few people still approach the idea of owning a website as if it were a one-off purchase. Buy the site, sit back and wait for orders to roll in. Sadly, it is not so simple. Websites need two key factors to succeed: promotion and maintenance. Both can be time-consuming, so it is difficult for one person to manage them at the same time. Exactly what management is included in a managed VPS hosting package varies between providers, but generally speaking, there are two main tasks where you will appreciate another pair of hands: security and backing-up.
Businesses nowadays understand the consequences of failing to back-up systems and data. A website is a major investment in time and money, but it is still nothing more than a fragile collection of software that can be easily broken; losing a website is a disaster for an online business.
System and data files can be corrupted by a range of events, such as software updates, coding errors, plugin conflicts, power surges, hardware failures, hackers and even solar flares. Even if you don’t lose the site, you can lose vital customer information or stock records. However, most websites are enormous. Backing up the files takes time and transferring the images to a safe storage location is challenging and time-consuming. Your hosting company can perform these operations for you with far less inconvenience.
Security is another significant burden. Your website is built on an operating system, server software, programming environment, content management system, database framework, plugins and supporting applications. Every one of these building blocks needs to be kept up to date in order to be fully secure, so implementing patches and version changes needs to be carried out frequently. In addition, you need to stay abreast of emerging security threats across the Web, alongside maintaining your antivirus, spam filter and firewall precautions. Again, this is a routine task for your hosting provider, but a major distraction for you. It makes sense to use their skills and experience.
A professional VPS package also generally comes with more support for developers. If your bespoke plugin, mobile app or API refuses to work, you will need to depend on your provider’s support team to help you identify the problem.
The disadvantages of VPS hosting
VPS hosting costs a little more than a regular shared hosting package. However, if you are a developer, or you expect high traffic or have important security concerns, VPS is likely to be the better option. In addition, if you don’t have in-house server experience, managed VPS will allow you to concentrate on running the business. However, always check what is included in a managed package.
Managed VPS from names.co.uk
Our managed VPS plan offers a flexible, lightning-fast, hassle-free way to get VPS for your business, fully managed so you don’t have to worry about it. Get more information or call us on 0345 363 3635 to chat with a VPS expert.
Looking for more control?
No problem – names.co.uk have Unmanaged VPS plans offering just that… so you can configure your server to meet your needs!