First things first: virtual private servers (VPS) come managed or unmanaged. If you don’t want to deal with setup at all, you can always opt for a managed package and let the pros handle it. However, if you’re up for managing it yourself, it’s not quite as tough to set up as some people think. Halfway between basic shared hosting and dedicated hosting, VPS gives you more independence and control (managed or not). When you have a shared hosting plan, you might share a server with up to 6,000 other sites—with VPS, you get the entire virtual server to yourself.
It’s important to note that not all VPS hosts offer managed hosting, and not all will set it up for you. You might have to set up your account yourself, even if you do opt for a managed account (which is why it’s critical to ask questions and read the fine print!). There are many helpful online tutorials about getting started with your VPS beyond setup, but make sure that you find a tutorial that’s geared towards bloggers and website owners (most are for hosting resellers).
Nailing the Right Environment
Well before you upgrade to VPS, you should also optimize databases, images, and plugins. This will ensure top speed and you’ll improve your site as much as possible. Next, choose the level of VPS you want. Maybe you want cPanel, which is familiar to a lot of people, or maybe you want the raw VPS with zero tech support (by far the cheapest option!). Others might want Plesk as a more affordable alternative to cPanel. It’s your call.
Now it’s time to create private nameservers. This can be a little technical, but fortunately there are great tutorials online to walk you through it. Next, make a Package in WHM—yes, even if your VPS is just for a personal site. You still need a package created, ideally with countless resources. It will help your WHM on any site. After that’s complete, make an Account in WHM by choosing the package you’ve selected in the drop down menu and clicking on “private nameservers.”
The Big Move
You’re armed and ready, so now you have the green light to transfer your existing site(s) to VPS. A quality web host will offer a free and easy transfer service, so all you have to do is sign in and complete the transfer form. Even if you have a totally unmanaged VPS, transfers are usually better handled by the host and it only takes a few minutes.
It’s challenging to say exactly how to upgrade without knowing which types of VPS a host offers and their services. However, do know that you’ll need at least a level 3 VPS if you want any amount of managed hosting, which is a good idea for anybody who’s not a self-proclaimed tech geek. Unless you want to spend chunks of time managing your server, today’s prices make it very appealing to “outsource” those duties to your hosting provider.