If you’re shopping around for a virtual private server (VPS), your first decision is between Windows and Linux. The two are very different, both have potential upsides and downsides depending on your needs, and this is a big decision that requires talking to a techie to dismantle. However, if you have a website running with ASP.net or ASP, Windows has to be your default choice. Next up is deciding if you want to go managed or unmanaged—for many people, this is a no-brainer. If you know how to manage a server and want to take on this task, you might go unmanaged to save some cash and sustain more control. If you have no idea what any of that means, you need a managed VPS.
Unmanaged hosting is a big deal that requires monitoring, maintenance, and knowing how to handle security problems if there’s a crash. As the sole administrator of the VPS, that can be a full-time job in its own right. Server management should be second nature to you if you’re interested in unmanaged. However, managed VPS can vary greatly in terms of service quality and what’s offered. Compare VPS plans to make sure you get the most bang for your buck. (Note: Most VPS hosting options are managed by default).
Factors to Consider
You also need to think about scalability and redundancy when shopping around. You don’t really know if your site/business will grow or shrink, and scalability is often forgotten until it’s too late! Like storage, there’s no such thing as too much redundancy. Ensure both of these factors are there in abundance, and that they are flexible.
Knowing the configuration of the server is critical, whether you’re a tech geek or not. For example, how much RAM will you get? How big is your share of the disk and what processor capacity is on deck? Ask questions about RAM (since you need at least 1GB plus 20GB storage for average websites), options for VPS operating systems, what backup is available, and how many IP addresses you’ll get. Finally, there’s the trifecta to know: How much will this cost, the quality of the customer service, and details of the trial period.
Making the Switch
For the vast majority of website owners, it all began with a basic shared hosting plan. It was affordable, you didn’t need technical know-how, and it was fast to get started. In some cases, shared hosting plans can work indefinitely. In others, your growth is so high that you need to upgrade, but is VPS the right choice? Most people switch to VPS when they need better security, more flexibility, and have been experiencing high incoming traffic on a regular basis.
VPS also helps with branding your site since you have private nameservers and IP addresses just for you. You’ll also enjoy server root access to install custom software, or you might be hosting your own client’s websites on your accounts and need user control. So, when should you switch? When and if basic shared hosting is no longer working for you.