Choosing Virtual Private Web Hosting

Many popular business websites struggle with shared hosting, or worse inadequate in-house hosting. With all the different plans available choosing a virtual private server (VPS) can be difficult unless you know how. Here's a guide for selecting the right virtual private hosting for you.

First, VPS hosting is like living in a town house. It's much nicer than an apartment, you get your own parking space, maybe even a garage. However, it isn't a single family home where you can do anything you want.
VPS provides better performance, more user sessions, the ability to customize hosting features, and most everything you can do with a dedicated server in a lower priced, less crowed, shared environment. Instead of sharing hardware with thousands of websites, you are in a smaller more controlled community of 25 to 40 websites.
Before you choose VPS, do your homework:

  1. Decide if you need to upgrade. If you have fewer than 250 unique visitors daily, or a website that is primarily static, then shared hosting can be improved for less than migrating.
  2. Document what will be moved. Determine how much disk space, how many databases, amount of memory, and other characteristics of your business website.
  3. How much bandwidth does your website use? Because you are getting reserved services, often priority traffic handling, VPS accounts have bandwidth limitations.
  4. Identify any scripts you are using. Often shared hosting provides bundled scripts they manage for you, moving to VPS may increase your need for webmaster services.
  5. What operating system are you on currently? Most virtual private servers come in two flavors, Linux and Windows, it may not matter to you but might matter to your website.
  6. What domains are associated with your site? If you have more than one domain name you'll want to know how and where it is configured. This helps you determine the new servers configuration.
  7. Are you familiar with any particular control panel? You may be able to choose the same control panel, or none if you like. This is important for managing your site in the future.
  8. Do you have multiple shared accounts? Virtual private servers are ideal for consolidating multiple shared servers. You often get better performance and a lower monthly hosting cots.

You'll need all this capacity information before looking at a VPS hosting plan. This is because plans vary from provider to provider, without this information in hand it is real easy to waste time comparing features that don't matter to you.
Most companies who provide webmaster services will work with you to choose a hosting provider. If they represent a hosting provider you don't necessarily need to choose them.
Reasons you may want to move to VPS hosting include (1) more easily support future capacity, and (2) increase visitor experience and responsiveness. You can more easily cluster several VPS accounts together to serve static content, or to fail over as part of your website disaster recovery plan.
Do you need VPS, dedicated hosting, or can you stay where you are? If you have a 50 MB static website with no traffic then the cheapest VPS account you can find would be more than enough, and so would even cheaper shared hosting.
However, if you get 1,500 unique visitors a day and the revenue from your site pays your bills, then you'll want to look at value over price in choosing VPS servers. Any more traffic than this, or if you have a high load database requirement then you may want to consider dedicated hosting.
Finally, investigate your providers. Some of these cheap VPS accounts are two guys with a closet of overloaded white box towers. Only trust your business website to proven data centers with high performance equipment, after all, your business website done right is money in the bank.
© 2009 B2B Website Profits, All rights reserved.

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Justin Hitt
A business analyst who specializing in sales generating marketing copy. Author, copywriter, and publisher of newsletters that help clients transform business relationships into profits guaranteed. More than 20 years of experience with technical writing, sales copy, and lead generation. Reach him by Fax at +1 (276) 254-8747