The question of when should somebody switch from a Shared Hosting account to a Virtual Private Server (VPS) is one that is asked time and time again. As a result, we have decided to write an article to explain some of the benefits and true differences between a shared hosting environment, and a managed VPS environment.
In the beginning, most website owners and small businesses find themselves comfortable and content with a shared hosting account. If a website or small business has only basic needs then a shared environment is the perfect solution for these types of sites and for sites with smaller budgets. However, often there comes a point when the website or small business outgrows their shared web hosting environment and needs to look to a VPS as a solution. A Virtual Private Server can easily provide the upgrade most small and medium sized websites need.
We will now discuss some of the main issues and indicators that it may be time for an upgrade, and how a managed VPS can solve these issues.
Dedicated IP and Private Email Server
Typically, in a shared hosting environment all websites share the same web server, as well as the same email server. When a shared hosting environment is handling hundreds and thousands of domains it is also having to manage thousands of emails being sent and received. This can result in email being less reliable, causing problems sending and receiving. In a VPS environment a company will have its own unique IP address and email will be more reliable all around. This is just one of the many benefits to having your own dedicated IP and email server. As many businesses rely heavily on email for daily operations, it makes sense to have your own email server with its own unique IP.
With a VPS you are allocated a certain amount of resources that are dedicated solely to your needs. Others on the same server with VPS are given their own share of resources and a minimum per VPS is always maintained. A benefit of this is that if others are not using their resources your website is able to tap into them and utilize them. With burstable resources your server is able to maintain a minimum, and utilize more power when needed and if it is available.
Separate OS and Software
A shared hosting plan uses the same operating system and software across hundreds, and even thousands of websites on the same server. The result is the possibility for many things to go wrong when a server is trying to please that many websites. With a VPS, you have a completely separated operating system that caters to your websites needs only. The benefit is more reliability, and less possible downtime.
With a VPS you are able to customize the system to your websites requirements. If there is a program or script that needs to run a certain way, you are able to make those changes. There are often limitations when a website in a shared hosting environment requires a customization that a server tech is simply not willing to make noting that it will affect all other websites on that server. With a VPS, it can be adjusted and customized any way a website owner requires for success.
Security is a concern of anyone who values their website, email, and other important data kept on a website or server. With a VPS platform, a website owner is able to customize security policies, and firewall rules to cater to their website only. This is especially important when a business needs to allow employees access to email through a secure connection. Having the ability to customize security ensures that a website owner can do what is needed to keep hackers out.
Growth Path - Adding more resources easily
The problem with a shared hosting environment is that a website can quickly outgrow the available resources forcing them to upgrade to a VPS or a Dedicated Server. With a VPS, a user can purchase a VPS configured with the amount of resources they need. If the website outgrows its originally configured resource allocations, additional resources can typically be added from the host without making any changes to the server. As a result upgrading is seamless requiring no downtime at all. A VPS is also configured like a Dedicated Server, if there is a need to upgrade to a dedicated server the upgrade process will require minimal adjusting and some hosts will provide zero downtime during this process.
Upgrading from a shared environment to a managed VPS is something that many website owners and small businesses will experience during their business lifetime at which time they will appreciate the benefits a VPS offers.