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When is the Right Time to Switch to a Virtual Private Server

March 18th, 2012 in Resources

VPS, also known as a virtual private server, uses virtual software to separate physical servers into virtual servers. After the physical server is separated, each individual virtual server can run its own software and applications, including a separate operating system. While these types of servers aren’t for everyone, virtual server pricing has dropped significantly over the last several years and individuals such as developers who need access to the root server to install their own software can now afford to purchase them.

There are a variety of different reasons that an individual, company, developer or website owner might need to switch to a virtual private server from a regular shared server.

What is VPS: Understanding the Difference Between The Servers

The vast majority of websites use what is called a shared hosting plan. Shared hosting means that multiple websites share one server. This type of hosting is ideal for someone who doesn’t expect to receive a significant amount of traffic to their website and doesn’t have any significant security concerns to consider, such as customer or financial data, and account passwords or email addresses. Because shared hosting only costs a few dollars per month, smaller websites with smaller budgets won’t have to worry about paying for server space they don’t need.

Virtual private servers are primarily used by websites that expect a large amount of daily traffic. While there isn’t a standard daily limit on website traffic, if you anticipate web traffic in the tens of thousands per day, a virtual private server should be your next purchase.

How Do You Know It’s Time to Switch to a Virtual Private Server?

Startups and individuals who have completed a website and are expecting large amounts of traffic due to heavy advertising campaigns should immediately upgrade to virtual private servers. Those who fail to plan ahead for large traffic amounts often see their website crash almost immediately.

Websites on shared hosting plans are very restricted when it comes to the amount of bandwidth they can use on a daily and monthly basis. Once the maximum bandwidth levels have been reached, the website can be automatically shut down by the host until the owner upgrades to a VPS or until the beginning of the next bandwidth allocation cycle (the time frame that is set by the host when determining how much bandwidth is allocated to each website on a shared hosting plan).

It’s important to understand that a virtual private server is not the same as a dedicated server, but it provides much of the same benefits and essentially presents an illusion that it is one. VPS plans also normally come with up-time guarantees and around-the-clock support.

If you meet any of the following criteria, it might be time for you to switch to a virtual private server:

  • Multiple Websites – You currently have more than one website with high traffic. You can use a partitioned server provide by your web host to gain access to one virtual private server per website. Hosting multiple high traffic websites on a shared server will likely result in major problems.
  • Unlimited Growth – If you expect your website will enjoy large traffic growth periods in the near future, save yourself the stress and purchase a VPS in the beginning.
  • You Need Root Access – Developers and website owners often need root access to their server if they want to run a specific application that is essential to their business. Shared hosting does not allow this type of access while virtual private servers allow you to install server programs, delete programs, create user accounts and customize your servers altogether.
  • Database Management – Many websites and businesses need to create large accessible databases for their users. The information on the servers will take up a significant amount of room, all of the files must be secure at all times, and the data must be easily accessible immediately after an inquiry has been created. While dedicated servers are available, they come with a hefty price tag, and VPS is a very affordable alternative. Website owners cannot have this type of functionality at a scalable level on a shared server.

Switching to a Virtual Private Server: How to Do It

What is VPS” is such an important question to understand before making the commitment to switch to these types of servers. If you fully understand what a virtual private server is, how it functions differently and what type of business might need to use them, getting them set up is fairly simple if you have a cooperative and responsive web host.

First, if the prices aren’t listed on the page, contact the host’s sales department for more information. In general, virtual private servers can cost between $25 per month for 1 GB of RAM and bandwidth of 1 terabyte per month for traffic, and $100 or more for 8 GB of RAM and 8 terabytes per month for traffic.

Use your future estimated traffic numbers and any additional websites to determine which plan is best for you. It’s extremely difficult to determine how much bandwidth you’ll need for a precise amount of traffic, but if you plan on having more than 100,000 unique visitors per month combined for your websites on one VPS, you might need more than 1 terabyte of bandwidth.

When purchasing a virtual private server, always err on the side of caution and purchase more bandwidth than you think you’ll need.

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