Virtual Private Servers – What the Beginner Needs to Know

Virtual Private Servers

Computing seems to be full of jargon, initials, and acronyms, so let’s demystify VPS or virtual private servers. What they are, and what you might need them for. If your shiny new beginner website is ready to be deployed, then dollars to donuts you’ve been diligently doing your research into the murky depths of web hosting. ‘Murky’ seems appropriate because all of that confusing language means that you can’t see very far; like is a kernel a new type of rank in the Armed Forces? And is VPS hosting something like AirBnB? No, not in the slightest, so we’d better get busy with explaining to you exactly what virtual private servers are and how they can help your website.

What Are Virtual Private Servers?

A virtual private server or VPS is a virtual machine sold as a service, but it’s one that packs in a lot of processing power and holds all of the files and information that go together to make up your website. If somebody taps your domain name into a web browser then virtual private servers can assemble all of those different parts into your website so they can see it on their screen.

But what about the ‘virtual’ bit? The answer is that there’s a technology at work that divides up that computer into more than one server. It’s the same physical box, but thanks to this virtualization technology it works like lots of separate servers.

The ‘private’ part means that you get a chunk of that virtual server space all to yourself for your website, so all of the resources that it uses, like memory, processing power, and hard drive space are yours and yours alone. That’s important because if somebody else’s website is using that same computer and it’s a memory hog, your website won’t slow down as a result. In fact, it won’t even notice.

How Do Virtual Private Servers Work?

Your web host will use virtualization technology to install a virtual layer over the server’s operating system (OS). The server has now been separated into distinct sections divided by virtual walls. The layer now allows every user to work with their own discrete software and operating system.

Since a VPS splits your files off from other users at the OS level, it actually is a private server, and as we mentioned, all of the resources like CPU cores and memory don’t get rationed at all. They’re yours.

How Virtual Private Servers Compare with Shared Hosting and Dedicated Hosting

It’s important to look at how other types of web hosting plan work so that you can see the difference and understand the advantages of virtual private servers.

  1. Shared Hosting

A lot of new website owners do fine with shared hosting which is probably the most commonly used type. When you buy a plan that’s called shared hosting, it’s because all of the resources that we previously mentioned don’t get partitioned. Instead, they are divvied up, so RAM, CPU and disk space all have to be shared with the other website owners using that server.

As a crude analogy, let’s compare it to living in an apartment block where everybody gets their own room to sleep in but if they all start using the shower at the same time then the pressure for that shared water starts to drop and everybody suffers. Of course, people put up with this kind of living arrangement because it’s cheaper than buying your own dedicated space, and it’s the same story with hosting too. Shared hosting is cheaper than dedicated hosting (which is hosting dedicated to you).

So, you can save money on shared hosting, but you have to be prepared to put up with occasional losses of performance for your website. If one of the other websites on the server you’re sharing gets a massive traffic spike, then your site might slow down. Of course, if you just try starting out then that might not be a problem. Plenty of folks put up with this kind of inconvenience when getting the new site off the ground and learning the ropes.

  1. Dedicated Hosting

As mentioned above, dedicated hosting is dedicated to your website and your website alone, so no sharing of resources and consequently no unexpected slowdowns because of somebody else’s website experiencing a traffic spike.

It sounds wonderful, and it is, but you have to be willing to pay for it. The upside is that you get total control over all of your resources, so if your website needs to accommodate large volumes of traffic each day, if you need your own OS or if you need to handle lots of financial transactions and you also need to install custom software, then dedicated hosting might be perfect for you.

  1. VPS Hosting

VPS hosting is a kind of halfway house between the two. With virtual private servers, your website sits in a shared physical server but with its own enclosed space, the only domain there, with all its own resources to utilize and no throttling when other websites experience increased demand.

Virtual private servers give you a lot of the benefits of dedicated servers for a much more affordable price. Overall, it’s going to offer much better value for money for the right kind of user.

Selecting Your VPS Plan

When’s the right time to move to VPS? You can work out when to move to virtual private servers by looking at these eight considerations. They’re a good barometer of when it’s time to up sticks.

  1. You Have Security Concerns

If you need greater security, better monitoring, extra space to back up in, a more reliable website, or you will be accepting online payment, then you may want to consider VPS, which can give you all of the above and consequently a better night’s sleep too!

  1. You’re Experiencing Increased Traffic Volume

Shared hosting is ideal when you’re starting out and your traffic volume is low, but when you start to gain traction and your audience grows then you’ll need more elbow room. If you carry on with a shared package then there’s a chance that the extra traffic will overwhelm the server, either slowing down or crashing your website. There’s a good chance that you will lose visitors if your website isn’t up to the task.

  1. Your Website Runs Slowly All the Time

If your website needs a lot of RAM then shared hosting isn’t for you. As it gets bigger and you start to add more content your page load times will slow down. When this happens and you’re bumping up against your limits then you know that it’s time to upgrade. Moving to virtual private servers will let you scale your website and still keep loading times fast.

  1. You’re Running an Online Store

Even a beginner should consider running an online store on virtual private servers because it’s essential to have a dedicated and secure home for your website. Doing so means you have a better chance of passing a PCI compliance test, which is important because The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard was put in place by leading credit card providers to reduce data theft. Your customers want to know that when they use their credit cards with your store they will be safe. VPS is inherently safer in this situation so it’s the one that you should choose.

  1. You Need to Install Custom Software

Content Management Systems like WordPress are great, but there comes a point when you need to install custom software and use a custom server configuration, and when that day comes you need hosting that gives you more control over what you’re doing. Not to mention the fact that many bookkeeping, tax, and billing programs need server availability and high-speed Internet connectivity 24/7. To keep these programs running properly you’re going to need virtual private servers or dedicated hosting on your side.

If you’re on a shared server, you’ll only encounter difficulties when trying to use advanced actions that are restricted, or apps that are unsupported. To avoid these potential difficulties, move to VPS hosting and you’ll get control of your programming actions once again.

  1. You Encounter Server Errors

“Service Unavailable”, 50X errors, and “Internal Server Error”(s) may be a pain in the neck but they are trying to tell you something. When they start to show up for you, then they’re probably going to be showing up for your website visitors as well, and these days those visitors won’t turn into customers if you keep them waiting for even a few seconds. They’ll just move on to your competitors. You can head off these sorts of problems before they happen by switching to VPS.

  1. You Have Budget Constraints

Although we’ve painted a picture of virtual private servers fixing all kinds of problems for you, you hopefully understand that the benefits do come at a cost. Having said that, we hope you’ll see them as an investment rather than a burden. You get the most bang for your buck with a VPS; much more than you would get from far pricier dedicated hosting.

  1. You’re Someone Who Builds Websites for People

A VPS lets you host more or less infinite domains but lets each one have plenty of RAM so that they always work properly. As a professional that’s one less thing for you to worry about.

Selecting the Best Hosting Plan for Virtual Private Servers

So we’ve established that VPS is great, and at some point, you’re going to want to entrust your website(s) to a host. What sort do you go for?

Self-Managed Versus Managed Services

Yes, there’s another layer of choices here, but bear with us, it’s pain-free! They are called self-managed and managed services. As the name suggests, self-managed means you would need to be happy with handling server administration, troubleshooting, and managing apps and services. If these things are new to you or you don’t have the admin skills then it’s best to go for a hosting company’s managed service.

All of our VPS plans are fully managed, which means you don’t need to worry about all the deeply complicated stuff that goes on inside a server. Instead, you’re free to focus on building a great website. If you do want root access, then consider our cloud hosting option for maximum flexibility.

Linux/Windows

Most customers prefer Linux, so we don’t offer Windows-based hosting. This may sound like a statement that’s been hit with the ‘obvious stick’ but it does bear repeating because it’s always best to check!

Reliability

Virtual private servers give you up-time of 99.5% and higher, which is crucial for any business. Just so that you know, ours are more like 99.98%. We are not bragging of course; we’re just highlighting how incredibly wonderfully fabulous we are.

Hardware

When you sign up for our VPS hosting package, check that your service provider is offering all of the best kit, such as solid-state drives (SSD), which are as fast as you can get—so fast that they make programs run like they’ve been greased up and pushed down a ski slope.

Round-the-Clock Customer Support

When all is said and done, you never know when your website might throw a fatal wobble and stop working. So, get yourself a VPS hosting package from a company that is always going to be there to pull you back from the brink of doom.

Backup Service

Imagine your site breaks and you forgot to back it up. It’s a wake-up screaming type of moment, but all too often it isn’t just a nightmare—it’s a waking nightmare that can cost you time, money and sanity. Make sure your provider makes backups blissfully simple.

Ready for a Virtual Private Server of Your Own?

Glad you made it to the end. Now you know that virtual private servers can offer you a lot of indispensable features that will happily accommodate your growing website—and all for less than the cost of dedicated hosting. They are the perfect compromise and more of an investment than an expense. After all, your website is the face of your business, the one that shows to the world, and who doesn’t want to have a face that is always looking its best?

The Truth about Managed vs Unmanaged WordPress Hosting

Unmanaged vs managed WordPress Hosting

Quick Quiz: What Type of WordPress Hosting do you need – Managed vs unmanaged hosting?

1. Are you more of a (a) Do-it-yourself (DIY) type or b) Plug-and-play kind of person?
2. Do you usually (a) go with the flow or (b) need a backup plan?
3. When traveling, do you prefer (a) shared accommodation or (b) space for yourself?
4. Looking at your lifestyle, do you (a) go for the basic stuff or (b) comfort and security

Unmanaged vs Managed WordPress Hosting Verdict

Well, based on the above criteria, Plesk can tell you which type of WordPress user you are – the managed vs unmanaged hosting type. If you mostly picked (a), then you are an unmanaged hosting type, whereas mostly (b) choices reveal your managed WordPress hosting preference.

Disclaimer: There is no right or wrong answer and you’re fine either way. However, having a full perspective can help you make the best business decisions later on. Keep reading for more info on your business needs, the core differences and benefits of the two different hosting types.

Managed Hosting: The Plug & Play Type

Your profile tells Plesk you are part of a managed hosting category for your WordPress. You trust and rely on someone else for your hosting solution, while you focus on your core business. Going deeper, you can choose from the following managed hosting types: a) Shared; b) Cloud; c) Virtual Private Hosting (VPS); d) Dedicated. 

Love Shared Hosting?

This hosting plan is typically the cheapest. Your site shares resources with other accounts on the same server. Shared hosting is a good option as long as website traffic and your end-user base don’t outgrow the server’s resources. The downside is that noisy/resource-hogging neighbors will affect your site as all websites have to share space on the same server.

Scale up to Cloud Hosting

Multiple physical servers work together and the network shares virtual resources. If you choose cloud hosting, it means you want flexibility, resilience, and redundancy. Also, you prefer a pay-as-you-go model. However, for cloud hosting, you need good planning abilities and management skills of this environment.

VPS Hosting Fan?

This means you prefer a virtual instance on a physical server with its copy of an operating system (OS). Plus, your own resources such as CPU, RAM or any other data. You can always add more resources on your plate without the need to migrate your website.

Moreover, you get a similar level of flexibility and benefits as with a dedicated server, but with a shared cost of services. This means almost full freedom. Because you have access to everything and can install any software you want and need. No dependency on traffic or audience.

Your Own Dedicated Hosting

Are you playing in the league of big numbers of visitors? Then dedicated hosting is for you. You probably have an online store with lots of rich media that need to max out on RAM. It’s also the most secure option and provides the highest level of system control.

Therefore, you can keep noisy neighbors out of the picture. However, know that dedicated servers usually come with monthly pricing or some kind of long-term commitment. So you need to think carefully in advance regarding how many resources you’re going to need.

Unmanaged Hosting (DIY) – The Good and The Bad

Based on Plesk analysis, you love being in the ‘techy weeds’. As a DIY type, you prefer to build, configure, maintain and secure your server. While also ensuring that your website is up and performing well. As basic needs’ fulfillment is enough for you, a server with only an Operating System (OS) installed will do. You need to install and configure any additional software such as WordPress, Apache, PHP or MySQL.

Why Unmanaged Hosting Can Be Tricky

If this tips you over between managed vs unmanaged hosting, then you’re dedicated to the tricky craft of managing your website(s) and server. You love it and it costs you almost nothing. However, this may take too much time and keep you away from other more important stuff for your business and growth. Also, you may be saving money now, but in the long run, this may not be as beneficial. Consider this: your site has always been a bit slow to load, but imagine it in two years’ time. When your business and website traffic grow.

Backup plans take too much time and energy for you, but if the worst happens you may pay for it in other ways. For example, after a few days off you find your site compromised and filled with spam links to random websites. Or when something goes wrong with your manual WordPress updated and the website goes down. Constantly having to monitor your site and implement performance and security optimizations may drain you. Thus, possibly crippling your business eventually.

Plesk and WordPress Hosting –  Plug, Play and More

You’ll see many options in the WordPress managed hosting candy shop. So it’s hard to choose. But for the ones who prefer a turnkey solution for their websites, Plesk WordPress Edition with WordPress Toolkit is the right combination.

Watch and see how quick you can activate your WordPress hosting solution with Plesk.

Top Plesk WordPress Hosting Benefits

Especially when compared to shared or VPS providers, this WordPress hosting provides better maintenance and data integrity. According to market benchmarks, data hosting providers offering the ability to change the version of PHP used for WordPress score higher.

24/7 customer support 

Managed WordPress Hosting is intuitive and requires a few clicks installation. But the house’ specialty, the sweet cherry on top of the Plesk’s WordPress Hosting is our customer support. From onboarding to finish, all clients get 24/7 attention from our side, including website support and tech support for non-developers.

Automated WordPress Security, Backups and Upgrades

Another advantage you’ll welcome with open arms is the free WordPress vulnerability scanner when you create a new site. Plesk’s WordPress Toolkit security scanner goes beyond the basics and implements the latest security recommendations and best practices from WP Codex and WP security experts.

Performance and Speed 

Get Plesk with your WordPress Hosting and you’ll have this included in WP-CLI. Thus helping clients import a database, create a new user, update themes and plugins in a flash using the WP-CLI. Speaking of plugins, for an enhanced customers’ WordPress experience, any caching plugin will significantly improve your WordPress performance.