A question that is frequently asked in web hosting forums concerns the change from a regularly shared hosting platform to a more expensive VPS hosting solution. For completeness, it should be noted that there is an intermediate step between the two, a Virtual Private Server (VPS). Although this solution is very similar in properties to the Linux VPS hosting solution, this article assumes that a VPS is not an acceptable solution for security or performance reasons. Below are some key areas to think about when considering moving. Hopefully, there is at least one of them that will make you think about a topic that you haven’t considered before and will lead to a more informed decision if you take the proverbial leap to a Linux VPS hosting.
Costing of Server –
It should be noted that obtaining exclusive rights to a physical server is usually associated with significant costs. Typically, a host can sell a server many times over to hundreds (or thousands) of clients. Selling the same specification server to a client is, therefore, becoming less and less profitable for the provider, so the costs in relation to the client are much higher. The size of this difference depends on the specification of the server, the environment in which it resides, and the additional resources contained therein such as Bandwidth, I.P. Addresses, and support.
There has been a relatively recent trend towards cheap, Linux VPS hosting. I think it is worth considering the saying “you get what you pay for”. You need to know where or if you will be charged for “extras” that other companies offer.
Performance of Hardware –
In certain companies, it is imperative that a response is generated within a certain period of time or that the system works even during peak times. If your website responds slowly, would your visitors be affected? Performance is the most common reason to switch to a Cheap VPS hosting, but people keep missing the important details.
What is the specification server that you actually get for your money? At press time (mid-2009), you should expect dual quad-core (8-core) 2.5 GHz CPUs or more with at least 4 GB RAM and SAS hard drives. Don’t buy old stocks! Old devices are a bad place to start, especially if you plan to spend a few years using your server.
When you switch to dedicated hardware, you want to eliminate as many individual sources of error as possible. Look for a Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID). Two power inputs from separate battery-backed UPS (uninterruptible power supplies) ensure continuity in the event of a power failure or peak in one phase.
Network Capacity –
The most common failing hardware component is the Network Interface Card (NIC).
Does your server have more than 1?
Are you single or multi-homed with the network and the internet?
How exaggerated is the bandwidth of the data center?
A word of warning here; a popular tactic, especially among the cheaper hosts, is to provide hardware that cannot fully realize it’s potential. For example, servers with unmeasured bandwidth of 100 Mbit / s are often delivered with a single SATA hard disk or a Weka CPU or small amounts of RAM that cannot really fill the connection!
Flexibility Option –
Being able to make your own decisions is probably the second most popular reason for choosing to get involved. Your own server gives you autonomy. If you have specific operating system requirements, kernel optimizations, custom libraries, customized software applications or plug-ins, a shared server environment is likely to slow down or prohibit the provision of these requirements. Ensure that you have full root access and can run the server as desired before committing it.
Privacy concerns are the third most common reason to buy Linux VPS hosting. How valuable is your data? If you have personal or business-related data that would harm your brand or reputation if it leaked, a Linux VPS hosting offers significant benefits. It’s very rare, but servers can be compromised using someone else’s account as root. In these cases, the hacker can retrieve all data from the computer. If it is your server and only your website is on it, you can shut down all but the essential parts of the computer, restrict access by IP and know that you are the only one on the server. Some vendors can provide you with a dedicated hardware firewall, often for an additional fee that gives you additional security.
Support Service –
Do not enter into a contract with a company that does not offer a full-service level agreement (SLA) to cover failures and problem-solving.
An example of an SLA could be:
- A technical support response that is often guaranteed within a specific time period.
- A hardware replacement policy; whose responsibility is it if something breaks and needs to be replaced? How long it will take?
- Remote restart, possibly with a time guarantee.
- Connectivity to both the network and the Internet is often guaranteed in% availability (99.99%). Don’t buy 100% availability if something is too good to be true.
Look for a company that is ready to be held accountable for the quality of service it provides. You need to know that it is serious to keep your server running.
Finally, you should carefully consider whether switching to a Cheap VPS hosting is justified for performance, flexibility, or security (or for some or all of these reasons). Of course, it also has to make financial sense, but if it does, you will most likely not look back, provided you pay close attention to the hardware and the company that you are committed to. Treat the process like choosing a partner and you and your server will have many happy days and long nights together!