A Virtual Private Server is a perfect central-point solution if you want more independence and dominance than primary shared hosting but don't want to pay higher for a Dedicated Server. It is an isolated information space that works similarly to a dedicated server, without a physical system's high overhead cost. Thus, the VPS is an option that is quite affordable.
Using a VPS allows you to access the primary operating system and install applications at a reduced cost compared to dedicated server hosting. Hence, a Virtual Private Server is a perfect interface linking dedicated hosting and shared hosting, making a ground choice for a range of applications.
So if you run a resource-intensive site on a budget and want to up your web hosting performance without investing in a Dedicated Server, a Virtual Private Server is a solid choice for you. Some common indicators that your website needs an upgrade include:
a. Increase in website traffic - Primarily, shared hosting is meant for websites that do not get many visits. However, with the increase in traffic to your website, there is even higher server resource consumption, leading to more frequent congestion, downtime, and crashes. With these signs and occurrences, it becomes the wiser decision to upgrade to VPS hosting!
b. Security concerns - Growing security concerns can be a complicated issue for every website owner. With more sites run on the same shared hosting server, your website becomes more vulnerable if another is attacked. As shared hosting offers the barest minimum security, it is only right to consider VPS hosting plans. These virtual private systems provide relatively high-level protection to your website. The VPS level security offers you website backups alongside dedicated malware scans and improved firewalls.
c. Slowly loading website - A slowly loading website is another significant indicator that your website might need an upgrade soon. Upon upgrading to VPS, your website would offer support for higher traffic and significantly more storage to store your website's files.
d. More websites on the same server – Another critical sign that you should consider VPS hosting is when your shared hosting provider sets up way too many websites on the same server. This factor can directly lead to more problems for you if you continue using their services.
e. When you want to run applications, your shared hosting plan does not offer.
More so, upgrading your website to VPS hosting comes with significant advantages such as:
- Better control and flexibility - With VPS hosting comes excellent customization options and server control perks. When compared with shared hosting, VPS readily provides you with many options and control over your server as you get to choose things like; the operating system and software to run on your servers. Other sites would never resolve the functionality of your website. Therefore, utilizing a Virtual Private Server would allow your business to implement any vital software changes in the server smoothly.
- Affordability - VPS offers similar benefits you can get from dedicated servers without actually paying much as required for these dedicated servers. As the internet has advanced, web hosting expenses have drastically decreased, making a Virtual Private Server a good option for all businesses.
- More server resource access - VPS hosting comes with greater access to server resources, which translates to higher bandwidth, storage, RAM, and more.
- Scalability - Depending on your hosting provider, most VPS hosting providers offer resource upgrades as your site continues to grow. These resources include more RAM, bandwidth, CPU power, and more. A Virtual Private Server offers easy to upgrade operations without interfering with the functionality of the server.
- Security - VPS hosting offers better security than shared hosting where the shared time, resource usage, and scripts of others can affect your website.
- Privacy - VPS hosting offers better privacy as your database is isolated from other server users.
However, there are some disadvantages to VPS hosting when compared to reseller/shared hosting. Such disadvantages include;
- Cost - Compared to shared hosting, VPS hosting is relatively costly to set up and maintain. The best way to find a budget-friendly VPS hosting plan that gives considerable protection and performance is to relate VPS hosting plans to several hosting providers. Performance and hosting expenses must be assessed together because you need to secure your establishment's net income while looking for a high-profile Virtual Private Server hosting solution.
- Technical expertise - While VPS hosting might not be the most technically advanced, it still requires more technical skills than shared hosting. With shared hosting topically made for beginners, VPS hosting is built with the basic assumption that the user has some existing specialized experience. While this may not always be the case, users without such knowledge or skills to manage their VPS hosting servers might have to hire appropriate technical help.
- Website management - Unlike VPS hosting, reseller hosting allows you to manage all your websites from a single control panel. This feature can make work easier and faster for the user.
Identifying the right VPS hosting for you
Suppose you're the website owner who would benefit from VPS hosting. In that case, choosing the right VPS hosting plan is a crucial decision on its own, as you need to ensure you choose the suitable VPS hosting that offers the excellent quality and features you need. Here are the primary considerations to make in picking a VPS hosting service:
Price - With most hosting providers offering different bandwidth ranges, data transfer speed, RAM, storage space, and more. It would be best to compare the prices for all their different packages to ensure you secure the right price for your desired hosting specifications.
Server security - Because VPS hosting should come with high-level security, when looking for the right hosting for you, ensure that they come with protection from DDoS attacks, regular offsite backups, and multiple firewalls.
Reliability - Reliability has to do with how often your website is online.A reliable VPS hosting service is essential for your website. With the right reliable hosting service, your website's downtime should ideally be non-existent. Look for a hosting service with a downtime greater than 99%.
Customer services support - Picking a VPS hosting service with an excellent support team is the best thing for any website owner as there'd come times when you would need swift responses, knowledgeable support to guide you through server issues, and more. Ensure to choose to host providers that offer 24/7 customer service support.
Server management services - As a website owner who has neither the relevant technical expertise nor IT staff to manage the VPS server, then you should strongly consider a managed hosting provider where server management is included in the service.
Cloud or conventional hosting - Choosing how you want your data to be hosted is equally essential. With cloud hosting being more flexible and scalable, traditional hosting, on the other hand, has higher limitations and security.
How to set up VPS hosting for your website
Because your hosting provider might not set up the necessary server software and interface, setting up VPS hosting can seem confusing and tricky, especially for those unfamiliar with it.
In setting up your VPS hosting, there are specific prerequisites, which include;
- Deciding when to switch to VPS hosting
- Learning to connect to VPS hosting and issuing commands
- Learning the installation process of new software and how to perform system updates
- Getting started with a new user account configuration
However, there are necessary steps to guide you through setting up VPS hosting for your website. They include:
1. Logging in using the SSH access
While there are multiple connections in reaching a website beyond the use of a web browser, file transfer protocol, popularly known as FTP, is one of them. FTP readily enables users to upload files and download files on their server, editing them when they please.
However, FTP does not allow a user to issue commands to their server. Therefore, individuals need secure shell access, which works with a varying protocol in accessing remote servers. Upon connection to a server through SSH, one can comfortably issue commands within their workspace.
This feature, alongside SSH's strong encryption and security, makes it highly desirable.
Upon successfully setting up a VPS plan, you would get from your web host credentials such as;
- A username (usually a root account)
- A password
- Server IP address
After setting up your VPS, you get started using a "single root account" and a password, with which you would make your initial connection. Depending on your operating system, you can either get connected directly to the server.
Connecting directly to the server can occur via the command line or through an SSH client. For those using a Windows-based operating system, finding and downloading an appropriate SSH client is a prerequisite. After that, a quick google search would guide you through setting it up.
2. Updating your server
Just like most tech gadgets and devices do, you'll periodically see prompts on the available package or security updates whenever you log in. Updates are essential not only because of the new features but also because, if you're not on the latest software updates, you expose your server and websites to huge vulnerabilities and attacks.
To update your server, input the right command and press enter. Subsequently, you would notice your server checking for the packages that need updating. The update process usually takes some time (depending on the number of updates your server needs to install).
Once all packages have been successfully updated, use the reboot command to restart your server. If everything went accordingly, there shouldn't be any available prompt for updates.
3. Creating and modifying new user privileges
We stated earlier how you typically start with a root user whenever you set up a VPS. Nevertheless, it is highly advised to set up a different account with superuser privileges. Suppose you are not careful enough. Since a root account can access all settings on the server, everything can go bad with the wrong command.
On the other hand, a new user account with superuser privileges requires adding the prefix "Sudo" to commands that would run with administrative privileges.
4. Enabling the authentication of the public key
Interestingly, the authentication of the public key is a more secure way of protecting your account than regulating passwords. This process involves the generation of a set of keys called the public key and the private keys.
Your public key is usually stored on the server and used to authenticate the private keys, which can only be accessed as a file on your computer. The security is increased once the public key authentication has been set up, as the user would then need both the private key and specific paraphrase to login.
5. Setting up a firewall
One of the final and yet essential steps to take in setting up your secure server's VPS is setting up a firewall for adequate protection. You can do this through the iptables program's aid, which allows users to set up traffic restriction rules to the server and from the server.
This step can be a bit complex, so a quick google search would help the user set up and get started with the configuration of the iptables. While this step might seem far-fetched, with iptables the user can set up a restriction on the ports that allow traffic accessing their server.