The time has come to enter the world of VPS Hosting. I recently launched my 100th website and I have pretty much maxed out my shared hosting plan. I run a Python script to watch memory and my memory allocation is often running over 40MB all night long. That’s a lot! Most shared plans don’t even allow for over 32MB at one time so I’ve been fortunate to at least be the benefactor of a great shared hosting company that allows for 80MB of RAM.
For those not quite sure of the differences and trying to figure out what might hosting option might be best, here’s a quick run-down:
Shared Hosting: This is where most people start and probably all that most will ever need. I pay right at $5 a month at WebFaction and if you’re looking for shared hosting, I couldn’t recommend a better host for your website. The support is top notch and they maintain their servers well, so you’re websites rarely, if ever, go down.
The disadvantage of shared hosting is that your website is hosted on a server with hundreds of other websites. The worst of shared hosts (and I’ve had them in the past) will try to push the number of shared sites past 1000 on a single machine. With shared hosting, you share all the RAM and CPU with every website hosted on the same server.
If you feel that you’re website is growing quickly and getting a lot of traffic the next step is likely VPS Hosting.
VPS Hosting: This is a very scalable and flexible solution that is still very affordable, though a bit more pricey than shared hosting. With VPS hosting, the RAM is yours and yours alone as well as disk space. You do share the CPU with other sites, though a VPS is typically a very powerful server and processing capacity shouldn’t be a problem. As far as pricing goes, I’m currently paying for a VS3 package, which includes 1024 RAM, 60GB of disk space and 2500GB of bandwidth. If I can manage to outgrow this server, I’ll be making a pretty nice income.
Keep in mind that VPS hosting will require a lot more knowledge than a shared account. With a VPS, you login to your virtual server and you control everything. For a typical setup, you’ll use the Linux Operating System, as most online websites are Linux hosted, with a variation of a popular Linux distribution. I’m using CentOS. Ubuntu is probably the easiest of all to manage. Your VPS host will install the initial image and turn the machine over to you from there. There’s also “managed” and “unmanaged” VPS Hosting. If you’re not familiar with Linux, be sure that you buy into a Managed VPS solution.
A VPS is also typically sold with ‘Burstable RAM’ which can be used for a short period of time if needed. It’s a peak amount that can be used if needed. This is a great insurance policy for keeping your website running.
If you’ve outgrown a VPS, it’s time to look at Dedicated Hosting.
Dedicated Hosting: Your website is the only one on the server. All resources, including CPU, RAM and disk space, are yours and yours alone. A good dedicated server can cost from about $100 to $300 a month on average. If you’re ready to move up to a dedicated server, chances are that you already know a lot about this option.
And that’s the typical options available with hosting. I’ll be posting on how to manage the Linux CentOS VM in future posts.