Virtual Private Server (VPS) vs Shared web hosting
Virtual Private Server (VPS)
high level of control, root access, has it’s own IP(s) and system libraries
faster than the counterpart shared host (same price category)
install and configure any software and service (as long as you respect the seller’s terms of service)
guaranteed and configurable hardware resources, upgrades are possible
unlimited number of domains, sql databases, services, etc
resell hosting services
cheap unmanaged VPS providers are available (2)
several operating system to choose from
simplicity and easy to use, suitable for small sites
control panels availables, easy to setup domains, emails, user and ftp accounts, mysql databases
some hosts offer automatic backups, a necessity for the web businesses
usually the number of domains allowed is limited, number of sql databases restricted
if purchasing an unique IP is not possible, your sites will be found on the same IP as many more others which might affect SEO if you are in a ‘bad neighborhood’
often hacker attacks, daily port scans
requires more time and energy from you
you are responsible for the server administration and security, installing security updates, upgrading your software
usually bad support,
overselling happen often, which means too many hosts sharing the same CPU power, too many using the same connection, etc
less resources available even if the hosting have ‘unlimited resources’ advertised (1)
low level of control, pre-configured services
usually no ssh access which prevents you from using softare versioning systems, install custom libraries, etc
difficult to secure completely because multiple users access the same system
quite a few bits of downtime
(1) Unlimited bandwidth is actually limited to the type of connection you have. On a 10baseT port, if you sustained 10 mbps for 30 days you would move 3200 GB’s of data. Shared hosts will probably limit you to a much lower port speed.
Unlimited disk space has it’s own limitations. Most hosts won’t let you store files which have nothing to do with your sites, like backup files, your private photos, etc.
Your CPU access is limited, speed and processes CPU usage and time is also limited. For example, Dreamhost sometimes doesn’t let me zip some larger directories because the zip process use too much CPU.
(2) My recommendation is www.dmehosting.com I have tried agnihost.com (which seems to be a virpus.com reseller) and burst.net before.
(3) I have been a Dreamhost client for 3 years. It stands out by allowing ssh access and python/django + ruby/rails support along with Php and Mysql.
Good to know when buying a VPS
- Xen virtualization is better than OpenVz
- test the server’s IP from the area where you get the most traffic on your sites
- get as much RAM as your budget allows
- 10Mbps unmetered or 3200GB bandwidth? Choose the 3200GB package if it’s on a 100baseT port. If it’s a 10baseT port either way, 10Mbps allows a maximum of 3200GB transfered in a month.
- search for special offers on forums, www.webhostingtalk.com is very good
- there are free alternatives to control panels like CPanel and Plesk. I am using webmin.com
- find some reviews on the service/company you are interested in. Stay away from those who generally made a bad impression to users.
- don’t go with the cheapest VPS, i learned that from experience A well established company will offer higher uptime, better support, more services.
- i like HyperVM better than SolusVM
- see if you can find out details about the CPU power offered with the package, unamanged VPS sellers usually advertise only ‘equally shared CPU’
My first VPS had an AMD Opteron 270 which gave low benchmark scores. Currently, dmehosting is offering me i7 CPU 920 @ 2.67GHz, 4 cores
- 32 bit operating system consumes less memory than the 64 bit equivalent.
- I went with dmehosting.com after trying a virpus.com reseller and burst.net
- my hardware setup is similar to VPS 3, with the few customizations.
- the operating systems selection is large, I went with Ubuntu Lucid 10.04 32 bit because I use Ubuntu for both my desktop and laptop computer, 32 bit consumes less memory and Ubuntu Lucid is Long Term Support (LTS)
- webmin.com control panel, allows you to control most aspects of the VPS (apache, mysql, postfix, logs, etc)
- http://webmin.com/virtualmin.html for managing the domains and users
- http://www.configserver.com/cp/csf.html was my chosen firewall because of the integration with webmin and easy to use interface
- zend server community edition (Php 5.2) because some of my sites don’t work with Php 5.3 (which comes default with Ubuntu Lucid 10.04)
- server hardening operations.
Find good server hardening here:
Why dmehosting worked fine for me
- affordable prices
- use their own DNS servers
- choose from several server locations
- great CPU power, uptime, connection speed for the price you pay
- good customer support so far (only used twice, other people complain about the support)
- hardware configuration flexibility
- good presence on the webhostingtalk forum
Cheap unmanaged VPS services
- http://www.dmehosting.com/budget-linux-vps.php – I am happy customer there
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