The good choice of web hosting service provider largely depends on the type of website you are hosting. However, there are some general but very important factors to consider when choosing a VPS provider.
The differences between VPS hosting and cloud hosting, which is gaining popularity, are worth explaining in more detail. The VPS user gets a virtual environment with dedicated disk or SSD space and bandwidth, but host system computing resources and RAM are evenly distributed among all VPS.
Cloud hosting is virtual machines in the cloud. With such hosting (essentially IaaS, infrastructure as a service), physical servers are combined into a cluster, and storage systems are combined into a storage area network (SAN). As a result, cloud hosting uses a distributed server infrastructure. This makes the provisioning process more flexible and increases the fault tolerance of the service, but the freedom of users in choosing hosting options is more limited than in the case of VPS, and configuration may require certain knowledge.
So how do you choose a truly reliable and high-quality service? Which to pay attention to? Here are some tips.
Using servers with insufficient processing power and unstable network connections can often block access to your site. This not only leads to the inability to view web pages or stop sales in the e-commerce system, but also leads to a low ranking of the website in search engines such as Google. A guaranteed reliability level of 99.5% is usually sufficient, but sometimes 99.9% or higher is required. The performance of your website can be monitored using the appropriate tools.
For instance, hosting company-based financial transactions require choosing a provider with high uptime rates, preferably above 99.5%, is key to your site's success. Avoid companies that have an uptime rate below 99%.
High accessibility and fault tolerance of servers is guaranteed not only by the use of a Tier III level data center provider, but also by several high-speed communication channels and independent power supplies in conjunction with a reliable redundancy system and load balancers.
How efficiently and quickly are technical issues resolved? How does the support service work? VPS hosting is preferred, which offers constant support to its customers - 24/7. Also look out for those who provide support through chats and social media rather than just relying on emails. Priority is given to organizations that have their own customer support department and certified specialists. They better understand the essence of the client company and the specifics of its business in comparison with the outsourced support service.
Data protection and availability of website backups
The current wave of cyber threats has resulted in an increase in the number of sites targeted by various types of attacks and ransomware. Such actions often lead to irreparable losses, the inability to recover data encrypted by ransomware. Therefore, regular data backup becomes very essential.
You should choose a host that provides regular backups, which will allow you to restore your website if it does suffer from hаckers or other unpredictable events.
Registration and maintenance costs
Usually web hosting offers attractive hosting services for a certain period after registration or after the first payment or even a free trial period. However, subscription renewal fees are often more than triple that. To avoid surprises at the end of the discount period, check how much you will have to pay for the renewal of the selected package.
Ability to add domains
You can start with one website and domain name, but then you need multiple sites, domains, and subdomains. Therefore, before entering into an agreement with a particular service provider, analyze the different packages, paying close attention to whether they allow you to use multiple websites on one account.
Usually hosting providers allow unlimited subdomains. If this option does not suit you to create several sites, and you need top-level domains, then you will need an appropriate tariff plan.
Find out the price of a package with unlimited websites and subdomains. Choose a web host that provides plans that allow you to add new domains, scale over time.
E-commerce and mail
You will be able to get more reviews and increase the number of subscribers if there is an email associated with your domain name. Choose a web host that provides mail for your website's primary email address. If you want your hosting provider to handle email addresses, then you need to make sure that email support is included in their hosting plan. If so, then you need to find out how many email accounts you can have, is this enough for your tasks.
In addition to ensuring the accessibility of the site and data, you need to use a secure hosting solution. Any website requires security, but in some cases enhanced protection is needed. For instance, the site may store personal data of users or process bank card data. Pay attention to firewalls, malware detection tools, DDoS protection, whether servers are being monitored for unusual activity, etc.
Storage capacity and network
The storage capacity required by VPS depends on website traffic, size/number of files. The larger the size and number of files, the more storage capacity and network bandwidth required. For instance, if the website works with databases, it stores high-quality images or videos, then you will need a large storage capacity.
If the amount of data is large and you know that there will be a lot of traffic, then you need to find out how much bandwidth you have allocated and whether you will exceed it.
In the case of managed hosting, most of the tasks are performed by the provider. He is also responsible for optimizing the speed and performance of the VPS. This option may be helpful, for instance, in the case of the processing of personal and financial data. However, this hosting is more expensive and usually allows you to create fewer sites. It is usually offered for a specific type of site.
Each hosting company has a set of conditions, the violation of which leads to additional costs for the client, and even temporary or permanent termination of hosting service. For instance, some hosting providers prohibit excessive use of processor power for intensive computing and scripting.
Take the time to review all terms and conditions and discuss requirements. Most importantly, you should avoid hosting organizations without clear conditions for participation, when "limitation and suspension of the account are at the discretion of the management" of the hosting.
Your server configuration - especially if you're on a regular VPS hosting - plays an essential role in your site's performance.
How much processing power you get, how much RAM and disk capacity you get, it all matters. In addition, it is helpful to know what hardware platform your VPS is based on. To create a convenient and high-quality service, you need equipment from a well-known Entreprise class vendor and a Tier III data center.
RAM and Storage Capacity: How much RAM and storage space is offered and included in the plan? You will need at least 1 GB of RAM and 20 GB of disk space. Of course, the exact needs will vary depending on your website traffic, storage requirements, etc.
Data transfer (traffic): Are there any restrictions on data transfer? If yes, what are the options if you exceed these limits? Most VPS providers impose some restrictions. You need to know what they are and what will happen if you need to surpass them.
OS Distribution: Which is the choice in terms of VPS OS? Will your site run on a specific Linux distribution (or is dependent on the latest distribution) or does it require Windows? It is essential that the VPS provider updates the OS regularly.
Backup: Which are the backup options? How secure is your data and website architecture?
IP Addresses: How many IP addresses are included in your service? If there is a limit, what is the cost of additional addresses?
CPU Cores: Web servers tend to use little CPU power unless you're running a game server or mining crypto. But it's still better to know how many cores are allocated to a VPS account.
The speed of the storage system. If the requirements for the I / O subsystem are high, then you can use high-performance eMLC-class SSDs with speeds over 100k IOPS. Some hosting providers provide such features.
VPS is often used by small companies and is suitable for web hosting (including high-load sites) and application hosting, software testing and development, server consolidation, virtual desktop deployment (VDI). All this at an attractive price, without the purchase of physical servers and capital investments in infrastructure.
VPS services can use different types of virtualization, such as OpenVZ (at the operating system level) or KVM (hardware). In the first case, one common core of the system and the type of OS chosen by the provider are used. With full virtualization (based on Xen, KVM or Hyper-V), the OS core is physically separated, and each "tenant" can install the required OS. It is considered more reliable, because. virtual servers are completely isolated from each other, offering a wider choice of operating systems.
VPS based on Hyper-V is a complete analogue of a physical server in terms of administration and configuration. You can install any OS, Windows or Linux, install any additional software, configure it, adjust the capacity of RAM or disk space, IP addresses. Microsoft Hyper-V provides the ability to scale resources without stopping the service. Such a VPS can be used as a database server, terminal server, DNS, FTP or as a remote workplace. The VPS management process can be fully automated.
Virtual Data Center or Virtual Server?
The use of virtual servers allows you to solve a number of essential business problems. The service allows you to significantly save time due to the rapid deployment of an IT infrastructure with the necessary parameters and with the possibility of further expansion. No need to invest in your own IT infrastructure, which allows you to minimize CAPEX. And definitely, the current costs for the development and maintenance of the IT infrastructure are significantly reduced.
To create a complex IT infrastructure, you may need a virtual data center - a collection of virtual resources (servers, disks, networks), which is a set of elements for storing, processing and transferring data.
The answer to the question posed in the title is not as obvious as it seems at first glance. A virtual server and a virtual data center have quite a lot in common.
Choose a virtual server if you have a small project (a simple website or web page) that does not require a complex IT infrastructure, if you have previously worked only with a virtual server or shared hosting, have no experience in OS and network administration, you do not want to deal with NAT rules (you will have to configure them in a virtual data center in order to get access via RDP or SSH) and other settings.
A whole virtual data center (VDC) may be needed if you have a medium or complex project (online store, accounting or corporate information system) that requires the creation of seom VMs in one local network, you need settings for a load balancer, firewall, and others network services, if the capabilities of a typical VPS are not enough, and you want to create virtual machines with your own OS.
However, this requires an advanced level of OS and network administration, practice with VMware or OpenStack products, and a high level of knowledge of info security issues. VDC is a good choice when there is a need to use test environments, or when you need to activate several VMs during peak periods with the possibility of dynamic billing based on resource consumption.
If we proceed from the capabilities of these two services, then they are much wider for a virtual data center and include changing the configuration and quantity, connecting different types of drives to the VM (HDD, SSD), installing your own OS, creating your own VM templates, importing / export of own templates and VM ISO images, creation of a network infrastructure with a firewall, NAT, DHCP, load balancer, VPN (SSL, IPSec).
Using a virtual data center, the customer receives a wide range of functions, in particular, creating and configuring an unlimited number of VMs, setting up network parameters and creating the required network topology with full control of services placed in the cloud.
A virtual data center is a secure environment and the freedom to scale resources, but if you have a small budget, VPS hosting is recommended. In fact, a virtual server is similar to a dedicated one - you have full control over it, you can reboot it, and it costs much less. VPS hosting is preferred for personal use and SMB customers, while virtual data center is preferred for larger customers who require more customization and scalability. If you want high reliability and powerful features, then virtual data center is a good choice.
The VPS service is popular with small organizations that often cannot afford to buy or rent a server in a data center (physical equipment). You can create a virtual server in minutes, and the process itself can be automated. VPS is suitable for those who are just interested in website hosting.
However, it does not guarantee the uptime of your website in the event of heavy traffic or technical failure. You just need to remember about the limitations, because the resources of one dedicated server are distributed among several virtual ones, a common communication channel with virtual servers running on one dedicated server is used.
Typical examples of using a virtual server
If you need somewhere to host your website or several sites, then VPS will be the best solution. Installation and configuration is simple and understandable even for a beginner. In most cases, VPS are purchased specifically for hosting sites. This makes it possible to organize the workspace according to your needs (selection of CMS, database and control panels for the site). If you have a large number of sites, it is much easier to manage them using one control panel, as well as make payments with one service provider.
Another option is a VPN server. VPN is an encrypted channel between your device and a remote virtual server. The reasons for creating a VPN tunnel can vary. For instance, to transfer payment data or other information of a commercial nature that is of a strategic nature or is intended for internal use only.
On the basis of VPS, you can run your own secure telephone server, with the ability to create many internal numbers. Cloud PBX on VPS - replacement of a physical office PBX with its virtual counterpart. Which do virtual (or cloud) PBXs give businesses?
This is accessibility outside the workplace, the ability to use a single office number, flexibility of configuration and management, the use of additional functions that are difficult to implement on a classic mini-PBX, for instance, video communication or integration with a CRM system, information about calls is stored in a database in a digital form - more opportunities for analyzing activity and using information for marketing purposes.
A VPS-based proxy server allows you to guard the client's computer from some network attacks and helps maintain the anonymity of the client. Many providers provide IPV6 addresses, and proxies can be used to replace your address with the address of the provider, if such a task is required.
VPS can also act as a remote computer. This is a computer "that is always with you" and to which you have access from anywhere.
On a virtual server, you can install a mail server familiar to users (Outlook, The Bat, Thunderbird, and others). You get full control and extensive administration options. VPS can be used to organize work with applications to support teamwork.
It is great for applications that have a large number of employees working simultaneously, such as project management systems, accounting and CRM systems. With daily backups, you don't have to worry about losing your data.
On the basis of VPS it is convenient to make websites to order. In this case, you can right away place finished projects on your virtual server and subsequently charge customers a monthly fee for hosting and website maintenance. And, of course, an online store. Depending on the allocated resources, it can receive a large number of visitors and maintain a database of goods.
Definitely, stock trading. In the fоrex market, VPS are used for round-the-clock operation of Met trader terminals, on which fоrex trading advisors are launched. You can think of many other helpful examples.
Having studied and tried several VPS hosting providers, I came to that conclusion:
If you order hosting server from a company that does not specialize in hosting (for instance, a domain registrar), then there may be flaws in the hosting service. I came across a server that, firstly, was not cleared of the previous user (the system was not reinstalled), which is not a problem, but still not pleasant, and glitches appeared when running certain php networking functions.
I'm not a sysadmin, and after a some days of looking down on the docks and system settings, I just moved to another hosting company that specializes specifically in hosting and does not have such problems.