On a very elementary level, hosting merely is the storage of data and files on a server, and while the server is different than your local PC, it does have many things in common, so don’t over complicates the thought of hosting. One of the primary differences is that most of the today’s servers, certainly those with reputable companies, reside in a data center, often very near one of the leading Internet routing centers.
With shared hosting, which is where most individuals or small businesses but again, your files reside in a folder, or directory on that server. The advantage is low costs; the disadvantages are shared resources often among thousands of other customers.
On the high-end of hosting, is a dedicated server; which simply means only you, and your files and or clients utilizing that particular server. With a dedicated server all resources are allocated to you, and your website, depending on configuration. A VPS, a.k.a. virtual private server falls somewhere between shared hosting, and a dedicated server.
Let’s break down the terminology, to give you a better understanding of what we are referring to
Virtual – This is not a physical server, but a server created by software.
Private – This type of server is used only by you and your clients.
Server – This is the actual location where your data and files reside.
Most people quickly understand the private part but are somewhat foggy when it comes to server and virtual. In essence, a virtual server is created by software, but for all practical purposes looks and feels like a dedicated server.
How VPS Hosting Works
The software generates a virtual server which resides on a physical server. Thus providing allocated space in the midst of other sites assigned to that server. Each virtual server works independently of the physical server, and can also be called partitioning.
With this thought, even though you are sharing the VPS with other clients, you obtain many of the advantages of a dedicated server, due to the VPS settings. In simplified terminology, you might think of shared hosting as occupying an apartment, in an apartment building with multiple other tenants. While VPS, would be akin to living in the same apartment building, but being completely isolated, with no other tenants nearby. You have more privacy, storage, and resources set aside exclusively for your needs. Your partition or room is a portion of the overall space on the server
How to Set up VPS Hosting
In this article we’re not discussing configuring a server, instead purchasing VPS hosting from a reputable hosting company. The first decision is whether to have unmanaged or SELF-managed hosting, which will depend on your skill set. If you’re knowledgeable with servers, self-managed is fine. If the thought of tweaking a server bewilders you, then managed, hosting would be the better solution. Often the hosting company will furnish choices of one or the other, and accordingly a difference in price. Once you’ve decided on managed or unmanaged, the rest of the process is simple, choose a hosting provider, check the necessary boxes, make payment, and your VPS will be set up without further interaction.
Within a short period, you should receive an email from the hosting company, notifying you of your account being set up, and listing any further instructions needed.
At that point, the server is ready to accept your files.
Choosing the Best VPS Hosting for Your Needs
If you’re considering upgrading to VPS hosting, take a few moments to read the following there are several common factors, which will help you make an informed decision.
What’s Best Windows or Linux?
Make sure you discuss with your hosting provider or an IT professional, what type of VPS you need. The choices are almost always Windows and Linux, and each has their strengths and weaknesses, some performing specific tasks better than the other. For instance, if you’re going to use WordPress, Lennix is suggested, conversely, if your site is ASP.net, Windows would be the preferred platform.
Do You Need a Managed or Unmanaged Plan?
On lower-level hosting, called shared hosting, you are not allowed direct access to the server. Thus, there is no need for server management
However, when moving to VPS hosting you are given a great deal more control, then the question arises do you have the necessary skill set for server management. Most reading this would not, and should choose managed hosting. For those with an IT department, or skilled in server setup, unmanaged would be preferable. Do realize, if you want an unmanaged server, you the end user is responsible for all settings and software installation, as well as keeping software updated.
FACTOID: With unmanaged hosting, it is the responsibility of the end user to supervise performance, perform maintenance, and keep tabs on necessary software upgrades. Additionally, it is also the end user’s responsibility to take care of security issues.
What About Redundancy and Scalability?
Redundancy mostly speaks to how your data and files are backed up, and how a data center manages their servers, and power needs. In the rare case of the first power breakdown, are there standby UPS (Uninterruptible power supply) or generators available? Most reputable hosting providers, will be housed in a secure data center, provide daily or weekly backups, and have other power possible, should the need arise. Additionally, in the case of server overload, having a provision for standby servers is an essential element, mainly when a business depends on their server being online.
When we speak to scalability, we were referring to the capacity of the server, and how it responds to traffic spikes and increased loads. With shared hosting, likely the server would quickly go off-line, or your account become limited. Depending on the hosting provider, with VPS or cloud hosting, server loads can be spread across multiple machines.
When you think of both of these properties, then combine them, you are later speaking of an optimal situation, higher uptimes, and a reputable hosting provider.
Features and Configuration
There are multiple ways to configure a server and build a website, both of which are beyond the scope of this article. However, performance and speed are very much dependent on server configuration. While capacity is based on the processor, allocated RAM, and percentage of the disc assigned to your account. All of these are serious considerations and should be discussed with your proposed hosting provider, before signing any contracts.
FACTOID: An additional factor of consideration is the quality of the machine. Make sure that your hosting provider is using a reputable brand, with large capacity.
Before choosing a hosting provider, make sure to find and read any and all reviews. No matter how sweet the sales page, you are looking for service after the sale, since no matter how high-tech the provider, there will always be unexpected issues. That is merely the way things operate; the question is how quickly and efficiently your provider responds to and fixes problems.
SUGGESTION: Any reputable VPS hosting provider should offer superior customer support, be available 24/7, and answer questions with integrity and courtesy.
In today’s world, hosting is a very competitive business, take the time to shop around, and find not only the best deal financially but a company that allows you to grow and scale as the need arises.