Mission Statement for VPS Hosting Reviews
The goal of VPS Hosting Reviews is to provide you with the information you need to choose the best hosting provider. Choosing your hosting provider is tricky with so many to choose from and we make sense of what actually matters. It is crucial to choose your provider wisely, whether your business is internet based or offline. Before you decide on a hosting provider, you need to decide which type of hosting best suites your company’s needs. The most common types of hosting are; shared web hosting, dedicated server hosting and the middle ground between those two, is the most common, VPS (Virtual Private Server) Hosting. In fact, VPS Hosting is almost edging out shared hosting because the price point has come down so much, that there is little sense or benefit to operating in a shared hosting environment anymore.
Benefits and Features of VPS Hosting
VPS Servers are popular because they offer similar features and performance to a physical dedicated server, with the one draw-back of shared hosting is that you are still sharing physical resources with other users on the same node. For most it is a better trade-off than shared hosting and it also means you don’t have the security concerns of shared hosting (where often if one site is hacked the rest of the clients are hacked too).
The best thing about a VPS is that you have full control so you can customize it to fit your needs perfectly. Most VPS plans have the option to live migrate to another server whether in the same facility or half-way across the world.
As you should now know, a VPS is an excellent value and is literally the middle ground between shared web hosting and a physical dedicated server.
In the next section we’ll explain the common features and specifications of VPS Servers to help you understand what they mean and what you’re really getting.
Disk Space (storage usually measured in GB or gigabyte)
This is how much space your VPS has to install the OS (Operating System) and for other files whether your website, database, images etc.. It is crucial to never run out of disk space for any reason because most services will stop working and you won’t receive e-mails etc…it’s crucial to constantly monitor your server for adequate disk space. Note that even less than high volume sites or servers can fill up their disk space unexpectedly for many reasons, including large log files etc..
If you are going for a non-OpenVZ VPS it is important to choose wisely, as there is no way to resize your disk online, which means downtime will result if you want to upgrade your hard disk size, there is also the possibility for dataloss during the process especially if the hostnode crashes or looses power during the process.
The space is all yours and is not shared at all with other users, making it impossible for a security breach with another website or server to affect your VPS.
Measured in GB usually.
Bandwidth, or the amount of data you are allowed to transfer each month is usually not an issue for the majority of people and businesses, unless you are in the business of sharing downloads, photos and videos to a large audience (in that case we don’t recommend a VPS and would only suggest a dedicated server).
The other factor is port speed, it usually anywhere from 10M to 1000M/1gbit. The key factor is really the actual speed you get to the outside world, an overloaded service will result in unreliable connectivity and poor speeds.
Regardless of how much bandwidth you have, beware that virtually all providers have a clause that essentially says “your usage cannot cause a slowdown to other clients”, or translated if you think you can use your full-port speed all the time it is not going to happen and is not allowed. If you want to do this you will definitely need a Dedicated Server instead which also tend to have more reliable bandwidth.
The final issue with bandwidth is the question of “who are their providers” and are they “redundant”? Everyone claims to have high quality bandwidth, but especially with the cheaper companies, most actually have cheap, budget bandwidth. Budget bandwidth is often a problem because it tends to be less reliable, less fast and have higher latency, which means higher loading times and less overall reliability.
RAM (Random Access Memory)
Having lots of RAM is never a bad thing but just make it is guaranteed and not “burst RAM”. The one problem is that VPS Services still often allocate more memory than they have available to the hots node server, hoping no one uses all of what was given to them. This is another sign of overselling and is still an endemic problem in the industry. There is really no way to know if this is the case behind the scenes but expect that if you found a great deal that it is more like to be the case than not. It’s a big problem because if everyone uses all of the RAM they were allocated, the host node will crash which means your VPS will go down.
The more RAM you have makes your server less susceptible to crashing by a DOS attack or high traffic/usage, but be warned that even unlimited RAM is not enough to stop largescale attacks but it will buy you time. In general the more users and more things you have running on your server the more you will need.
It is not uncommon for people to wonder “why do I need more RAM suddenly”, most hosts are honest with this and more RAM is commonly needed just simply because of growing database sizes and more e-mails even if the overall usage and traffic remains the same.
RAM can be easily upgraded with any VPS service but with KVM/Xen based services you will need a restart to apply it. OpenVZ can apply the extra RAM on the fly without any downtime.
Which Operating System Should I Choose – Windows or Linux Based
It depends if you are managing the server yourself and what your comfort and skill level is at. However we stress that success can be had with Linux even if you are unfamiliar especially if you have a Control Pane like cPanel, Plesk or Directadmin etc.. If your application can run in a Linux environment we strongly recommend doing so because in general Linux tends to be cheaper, more efficient, more reliable, more stable and most importantly, more secure than Windows on average.
Basically unless you are using .NET there is little to no reason to run a Windows based server. Both Windows and Linux can be accessed graphically, however there really is simplicity and power in a raw-barebones Linux server.
According to Wikipedia, over 98% of the top websites in the world are using Linux meaning that less than 2% are on Windows. The answer is quite simple because it is proof that Linux is the superior server OS and should be used unless you are running Windows only applications or services.
VPS Control Panel Options
Control Panels take a lot of the management and guesswork out of using a VPS Server and make your life easier. The most popular Control Panel by far is cPanel, with Plesk being second, and notably Directadmin. Plesk runs on Windows so it is usually the only choice for Windows users. Control Panels also make it easy to migrate data from other servers or hosting accounts (but note and beware that we have seen several migrations go wrong or with missing/data and other problems).
Some providers include a Control Panel (built into the price) or charge extra and usually this is clearly advertised.
However, one drawback that is rarely mentioned is the fact that Control Panels themselves are vulnerability to hacking and do represent an added security risk. cPanel is the most commonly hacked and attacked Control Panel. In addition, they also consume more resources, so you will need a more expensive VPS just to run it because they take a fair amount of RAM and can actually slow down your server. If you are an advanced user it may make sense not avoid a Control Panel.
The cost of a VPS is all over the map, some services are very cheap (budget) and some are very expensive (high-end, established, reliable providers). At the end of the day all that matters is reliability of the server, network and power, and believe it or not, this is still an issue even to do this day with many providers.
Keep in mind that free features or gimmicks are not going to mean much if your provider goes out of business (this does happen) or if your site goes offline because of poor equipment. To make things worse, some of the cheaper providers often do not have the resources or know-how to run their operation smoothly, let alone recover from or prevent disasters.
Paying a little bit more usually gets you a better service, and we’ve heard from many users just how hard they learned that lesson, just to save a tiny amount of money. If the server is not at all important and you don’t mind downtime, frequent migrations or data loss then it may be OK if it is just a hobby or test server, but for anything else we strongly do not recommend the cheap, budget providers.
What is a typical price point?
This is hard to say as it depends on the location, servers in Asia are typically much more expensive to run than servers in the US for example. We’d say to look at the best names in the business and not just the most popular, and go from there. There are many widely known and popular hosting companies that actually offer a horrible service but they survive based on price point.
Managed or Unmanaged Service
Managed means that your hosting provider takes care of many of the server tasks, such as security, maintenance, updates and troubleshooting. However, be very careful to read the fine print, many providers only offer basic help from the control panel and nothing outside. Also understand that most providers will not help you troubleshoot your applications or development as it would fall into consulting.
Choosing Managed means a premium, an extra monthly fee or per case basis but is a wise thing to do if you are not very familiar with running and troubleshooting a server. It gives you the peace of mind that you always have help.