In a world where there are already 1.2 billion websites, getting online should be a no-brainer. Having an original idea is great for starters, but there are some steps to go through and things to consider - web hosting, domain name, and a website builder being the most essential.
Looking around for a hosting provider, you will quickly notice there are a plethora of plans to choose from. Shared hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated servers, application-based hosting - if you're not familiar with the industry, all this can make your head spin.
So, before you make a pick, let's first understand the service.
Why do you need web hosting?
Web hosting providers basically rent you some server space and system resources so you can build and run a website. But there is actually so much more to it. A good host gives you:
- Reliability - any second of downtime is crucial in the online world, putting off both visitors and search engine robots. A quality host knows how to configure their infrastructure so clients can enjoy perfect uptime and fast performance off the bat.
- Security - any good host will ensure their data center and server infrastructure is up to the security standards. The excellent provider will go one step further and include extra services like an SSL certificate, DDoS protection, email filtering, or a backup solution.
- Business Focus - building a new website, especially for the first time, takes time and effort. Great hosts give clients as much time to focus on their business as possible, sparing them all the technicalities related to server maintenance and updates.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Your host can be a trusted advisor, a loyal supplier, it can even allow you to resell its services as your own.
Through the years, numerous types of web hosting solutions have emerged, but one of them has evolved quite impressively - VPS hosting.
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What is VPS Hosting?
VPS hosting is the middle step between shared and dedicated services, often combining the best of both worlds. The provider utilizes a process called virtualization to split a physical server into separate virtual instances. Each of the accounts gets its own set of system resources (CPU, RAM, disk space, etc.) and is completely isolated from all other clients on the same machine.
Today, you can find a well-equipped VPS machine for just a bit more than the standard shared hosting rates.
Looking at the service itself, you can easily split VPS services into two main categories - managed and unmanaged hosting solutions.
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Managed and unmanaged VPS hosting
Picking your first virtual server, you'd have to consider how much control and extra assistance you would need. That's the main distinction between managed and unmanaged VPS hosting.
Self-managed services give you a bare-metal machine with basic OS setup and initial configuration. The key here is freedom for customization as the provider allows you to install and run whatever you wish on the server...as long as you can do it yourself, of course. Unmanaged services come with no additional support, so the success of your project depends entirely on your own skills. Often preferred by developers and enterprises with more specific needs.
Managed VPS hosting offers a more hands-on approach from the provider. Your host takes on the responsibilities of hardware maintenance, software installation, updates, technical help. Sure, this takes a bit from the full control you have on a self-managed server but compensates with professional help from industry experts. Well-suited for startups and SMBs.
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Benefits of managed VPS hosting
Many beginners resort to shared hosting as it seems like the easiest solution for beginners. While that may be true to some extent, the benefits that managed VPS solutions bring to the table are undeniable:
- Full control - similar to a dedicated server, your VPS account acts completely independently from the rest on the same physical machine. This allows the provider to give you much more rights when it comes to server management. Managed VPS users are able to customize their environment as per their project's exact needs and requirements.
- Scalable resources - more often than not, the poor performance of your server is caused by your account reaching one of its limits. In a shared environment, this would mean it is time to upgrade to another package. The VPS host, however, allows you to add a certain amount of RAM, CPU, or space without moving your account to another server. Oftentimes this goes both ways, helping you scale down if you don't need as much resources as you have at present.
- Performance-optimized - websites in a shared environment often suffer from a lack of resources, especially when a few clients start hogging the majority of RAM and processing power. More than often, there are 100+ users on the same server, all trying to take a piece of the pie before it's gone. VPS hosting solves all those problems, allowing just a few clients on the same machine and isolating their accounts with a dedicated amount of server power and operating memory.
- Enhanced security - putting your website in an isolated container means no vulnerability from a neighboring account can affect yours, which is one of the biggest problems with shared hosting. Additionally, being a managed VPS user, you can rely on your provider to ensure a setup that complies with the latest security standards. With cybercrime on a constant rise, you need all the help you can get.
- Professional support - this is an aspect you should never overlook, especially on a managed VPS service. Too many things rely on the professionalism and knowledgeability of your host's support team to just rely on anyone. A reliable provider should be there for you 24/7, through multiple channels, and swift enough with issue resolution. A reliable managed VPS provider should be there for you 24/7, through multiple channels, and swift enough with issue resolution.
- Cost-effective - in the modern-day era, VPS prices have gone down significantly, sometimes reaching the likes of $10-20/mo. Additionally, a managed virtual server plan saves you the additional fees involved in hiring and training additional IT staff. All this makes it a very cost-effective service, fitting even in the tightest budgets.
You can easily see how a VPS platform can make your online life easier. Don't worry, even if you are a complete beginner - a managed VPS plan might have just what you need for a smooth online experience. From the lightning-fast performance to the enhanced security - virtual servers are surely worth considering.
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Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.