Imagine you operate a dating website advertised to be void of bots or shady characters. Registration requires facial recognition, media upload, and video chat to confirm authenticity. In addition to anticipated traffic, this will require lots of Bandwidth to facilitate and maintain.

Now your mind is racing with questions, but not to worry. We will help you understand the terminology and how you can take advantage of the VPS Hosting Unlimited Bandwith service for your business.

What is VPS Hosting?

Virtual Private Server (VPS) is defined as a high capacity server made up of many virtual servers. It is available for use 24hours a day over the internet via on-demand or monthly subscription fee models.

Each VPS has its operating system and its resources, which are customizable, allowing for a scale of RAM, CPU, and disk space. VPS hosting is ideal for web applications and websites that get a high volume of daily traffic.

Tell me about Bandwidth.

Bandwidth can be described as the amount of data packets a server can simultaneously deliver to its users. Bandwidth is computed in bits per second (bps).

An illustration is when a local branch of a microfinance bank has three cash tellers on any given day; however, today, two tellers call in sick. Only one cash teller has to hold the fort until help arrives from a sister branch. Now, the queue of customers has grown sizeably and morphed into two other queues. The cash teller is compelled to attend to each queue at regular time intervals to quell a small riot.

The analogy is simple. The capacity at which the cash teller can resolve customers' requests is similar to the Bandwidth of a VPS Hosting solution. In this scenario, it's likely to be inadequate.

What specifically is website Bandwidth?

Website bandwidth is Bandwidth typically expressed as Megabytes or Gigabytes each second (Mbps or Gbps). It's the maximum possible data that can be transmitted and received at the same time. VPS.NET offers basic 100Mbps Bandwidth while HostGator claims theirs is unmetered (though I suspect it's about 1Gbps).

Website bandwidth has to be optimal to ensure that existing and intending visitors enjoy fast, reliable connection and engagement with your content.

Fact or Fiction; Unlimited Bandwidth?

Technically, no. It’s all relative to the kind of services your website is intending to offer. For example, a lite website with static content will more than benefit from a 100Mbps bandwidth offered. Is that “unlimited”? No. How about 1Gbps Bandwidth? That is technically "Unlimited," but not if you're interpreting the term literally.

For a streaming website, 1Gbps is just the first rung of the bandwidth ladder. Certainly, a website like Netflix would not be able to run optimally on that Bandwidth because of the size of its content and traffic.

How do I gauge my bandwidth needs?

For starters, a website bandwidth needs are met by most VPS hosting plans, especially when starting because site visitors will be few. If you eventually reach your hosting plan limit, your VPS provider does include options to upgrade on your dashboard.

In cases when you notice a dip in capacity at peak periods and your VPS Hosting Provider is being cagey about your bandwidth usage, you may use the following factors to calculate it:

  • Site Visitors – You are encouraged to collate the number of daily and monthly site visitors via google analytics or WordPress
  • Page Size – A smart step to take is to confirm how heavy your webpages are, to estimate how long it would take to load. A site that requires video upload or streaming will certainly be heavier than a static site. You may utilize the services of smallseotools.com, Pingdom, GTMetrix for this. It’s in your best interest to check as many pages as you can to gauge this accurately.
  • Page Views – It is proactive to calculate how many pages it would take your user to complete a common task on your site. This information tells you how long they are like to spend on your site at the current Bandwidth.
  • Peak period – This certainly impacts your Bandwidth. It's a known fact that commercial shopping sites will receive the most visitors during the holidays. It is therefore reasonable that special attention is paid to this period and adequate preparation made.
  • Promotions - You can expect an increase in site traffic when you run promos. This surge will use up Bandwidth. You may use the tools mentioned earlier to glean useful data.
  • External API Calls - If your website has to rely on making external calls for a critical in-app process, this can impact your Bandwidth.
  • Local Storage - If the frontend of your website has local storage implemented for things like "Cart" when shopping or session cookies, that will contribute to page size asides from the static components.
  • Adverts - Pesty, intrusive, pop-up advertorials, while valuable, can impact time spent navigating your site, not to talk of the added size to the page.
  • Exceptional circumstances - The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated social distancing and ambulatory restriction. The seclusion has translated to increased online activity for just about every facet of human interaction. Your bandwidth usage has likely increased, which is why it's important to know it.

A rough estimate of website bandwidth needs is the multiplication of site visitors, average page views, and average web page size.See the expression below:

bandwidth needs = (Site visitors) X (avg. pageviews) X (avg. web page size)

An astute move would be to select a hosting plan that offers a minimum of 50% increase in Bandwidth should you decide to upgrade. It allows for content added to your website, handles surges in traffic in realtime, and factors in the customer base's anticipated growth.

Oh no, out of VPS hosting memory?

OOM - Out of Memory - is a common in-server occurrence where the RAM - Random Access Memory- cannot handle a heavy task like file upload or a flurry of time-sensitive tasks.

A rule of thumb is to select bigger-sized RAMs as a minimum, e.g., 2GB for tasks that require switching very fast between a flurry of tasks or 4GB for upload and other media-related activities. For a static website like a startup company website, 1GB RAM will likely be enough to service clients.

Suppose API calls have to be made, or website architecture is staggered – frontend and backend on separate repositories or framework. In that case, more work will have to be done by the RAM in fractions of second to consummate tasks. This demand is further exacerbated at peak periods.

How do I manage VPS RAM?

RAM is easily managed at setup by selecting bigger-sized RAM if your website is designed to perform intensive tasks and smaller-sized RAM for static content. Some VPS hosting providers will make available a dashboard where Customers can view RAM usage.

However, for Linux VPS instances, that may not be available; but this is easily fixed with the command below:

ps aux| awk '{print $6/1024 " MB\t\t" $11}'| sort -n

It is common knowledge that Linux systems use fewer system resources compared to other OS. However, one needs to be strategic with software installation, which can take huge RAM chunks to work effectively. It is advised to install the only necessary software and perform a flurry of tasks – killing two birds with a stone.

For example, on a 1GB RAM Linux (Ubuntu) VPS, software like Nginx webserver, certbot for SSL Certs, any of the frameworks, e.g., php-laravel+composer or Nodejs+pm2 and databases like PostgreSQL, MySQL will take up much RAM, so it makes no sense to install Redis, or heavy Docker images, e.g., ubuntu. You can opt for an architecture that splits all these services instead of having them all on one server. Although, that caters more to security and redundancy than conservation of RAM.

In any case, if you do run out of RAM, you can take the following actions:

  • Kill the offending system process – You can do this in Linux VPS host by using the kill command, while on Windows Systems, you can use your task manager to end the system process.
  • Reboot – You can do this in Linux VPS host by using the sudo reboot command on your dashboard in the "services" tab for providers like LetsHost; for Microsoft Azure systems, a reboot can be automatic or planned via configuration settings. A reboot typically destroys cached data; however, you may have to go a step further for some Systems like Linux, as seen below.
  • Delete cached data – You can attempt this on your VPS host via the dashboard or Technical Support assistance from your provider. You get the added advantage of freeing up RAM and disk space. For the Linux VPS host, you can attempt this via a series of commands and a script.
  • Upgrade – For a fee, request your VPS provider to execute a migration to a host with better RAM. It's a complicated process; however, it is easily achieved by competent VPS hosting providers. It's why it is important to get it right the first time.

What is Disk Space on VPS Hosting?

VPS hosting Disk space is for storing files, pages, and media that are key to keeping your site functional. Typically, you can choose any size from 8GB to 100GB or more on your VPS host with a commensurate increase in fees.

It is astute to be frugal and strategic with installing software on your VPS host, as mentioned earlier. One wouldn't want a ton of bloatware that barely does any heavy lifting yet consumes disk space.

How do I manage my Disk Space on VPS Hosting?

A typical static site isn't likely to exceed 8GB of disk space; however, a dynamic site with upload features, streaming, or downloadable content would do well to start with 32GB disk size. If you do run out of disk space, you can take the following actions:

  • Delete non-essential files – You can delete non-essential files, old versions of installation files and archives, old kernels, and thumbnails. If you would prefer not to delete, please opt for any of the next steps below.
  • Delete cached data – You can attempt this on your VPS host via the dashboard, CPANEL, or provide tech support. The result is a freed up RAM and disk space. For a Linux VPS host, you can attempt this via a series of commands and scripts.
  • Backup Storage – You can make use of third-party software such as iDrive, Acronis True image, Backblaze for backup of storage or liaise with your VPS hosting provide for viable in-house solutions. A successful back will leave space on your VPS host more content.
  • Upgrade – You may put in for a fee, a request with your VPS provider requesting migration to a host with larger disk space. It's a complicated process; however, it is easily achieved by competent VPS hosting providers. It's why it is important to get it right the first time.

Tell me about CPU on VPS Hosting.

CPU stands for Central Processing Unit. It is how much work your VPS host can do in a time cycle (seconds) – CPU Core - and how often – CPU clock speed.Higher indices on these parameters translate to better VPS host performance.

Do I opt for Shared CPU on VPS Hosting?

A shared CPU on VPS hosting will mean that what's been advertised will, in reality, be lesser as other clients will use the same resources. If your website's content is static, you won't worry much. If dynamic, you will need to opt for higher CPU specs or a dedicated tenancy agreement with your VPS hosting provider.

Conclusion

This article has aimed to demystify industry terminology to aid better selection choices of Bandwidth, RAM, Disk Space, and CPU offered by your VPS hosting provider. You can get it right the first time. Good luck!

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