Choosing between Web Hosting and VPS

Choosing Between Web Hosting and VPS

When shared web hosting is not enough, a VPS is the next logical step.

This doesn’t apply to every website. Regular web hosting is perfectly suited for 90 percent of websites. That’s a bit of an arbitrary number but it’s got some credence. The 90% number is based on my 10+ years being involved in the web hosting industry.

Having to upgrade your web hosting because your website traffic is increasing, is a good thing. Although it may be a bit more expensive ultimately it’s good for the bottom line. It’s the wish (and goal) of every person running a website to have a busy website. That’s a very good thing. Who doesn’t want that?

When is Shared Web Hosting not Enough?

The short answer: if your website gets popular and starts to see a big increase in traffic and it may be time to upgrade your web hosting.

This holds true for most types of websites, whether a personal blog, a business website or an eCommerce website. So how do you know your website is getting an increase in traffic?

Google Analytics

This is where tools like Google Analytics become invaluable. Create a free account, add your website and you can see exactly how visitors interact with your website. Incidentally, slow websites from users perspectives is bad for business. And just as bad for search engines rankings.

Slow Websites are Bad

It’s now indisputable, users expect websites to load fast. Most indications are that website pages should load in 3 seconds or less. A Kissmetrics article makes a case that slow websites affect the bottom line. Another Kissmetrics article shows that fast websites or page load times actually increase conversions.

I agree with both Kissmetrics articles. I can bear this out in my personal experience, I often leave a page if it loads too slowly. Personally I may wait a bit longer than 3 seconds, but that’s me. Web pages need to load very fast to keep visitors engaged and on your website. Today’s website visitors will quickly bounce (leave the page to go elsewhere) if does not load fast enough.

What about search engines? Google as far back as 2010 was strongly encouraging fast websites and fast page load times.

On a side note: Yes, you can most definitely have fast load times with shared web hosting. I can’t speak for all shared web hosting but with Kryohost I most definitely can. I’ve done the tests with KryoHost web hosting and the numbers are excellent. I have personal websites with page load times that come in well under the 1 second mark. And with some good page caching e.g. a plugin it’s even faster. Some excellent plugins for WordPress I can recommend are W3 Total Cache (my favourite) and WP Super Cache. There are a few others I want to try, I’ll write about those once I’ve given them a try.

performance-testing-load-impact-web-hosting-vps

You may also notice your site responding sluggishly. I’m not talking about your site being dead slow, but it may not be as crisp as previously. You’ll notice web pages don’t instantly load. Or when doing work on the back-end like adding articles or editing your site it’s now as fast as previously.

If you notice any of these symptons, try measuring your website performance. There are some really useful tools available to do this. Try PingdomGTMetrix and Load Impact among many others.

If like me you’ll regularly keep an eye on your sites metrics and performance. I don’t wait for problems before I do some checking, I tent to be pro-active. If you do, you’ll quickly notice changes in your websites performance. Degraded performance due to an increase in traffic is a surefire indicator that it’s time to move from web hosting to a VPS.

From Web Hosting to VPS

If your website is on shared hosting and the performance is good, there is little reason to change to a VPS. Keep monitoring your website using some or all the tools mentioned previously. If you do find decreases in performance due to increased traffic it may be time to upgrade. You’ll need something more powerful. This is where a VPS (Virtual Private Server) or Dedicated Server comes in.

For an awesome in-depth guide on web hosting, our Web Hosting article is an excellent resource.

Most websites start off on shared web hosting and the vast majority stay there (forever). And that’s fine as shared web hosting does the job. Shared web hosting is affordable, stable and offers excellent performance. At least from reputable web hosting companies, buyer beware. For advice on the pitfalls of free web hosting, read this article.

From most perspectives a dedicated server is usually not necessary or even the best route. A VPS is most often the best course, both in terms of price and performance. A VPS definitely offers the best bang for buck.

What is a VPS?

A VPS or Virtual Private Server is a virtual server. It works like this: a dedicated server or servers are divided into smaller chunks using virtualisation software. These chunks are separate servers, each with their own resources. These resources are then available to that virtual server and ensure much better performance for all websites on the VPS.

This dividing of space carries a slight performance overhead on a VPS vs a dedicated server. But in real world terms this is negligible at worst. This means a VPS is a super fast affordable solution when upgrading from shared web hosting.

A VPS offers better resource management for your website, and thus much better performance. Other benefits include added security and flexibility. Your VPS is your very own private server. You can install almost any software you want, giving you full control. I highly recommend a VPS for busy websites. An added bonus, a VPS can accommodate multiple websites, saving you money while increasing performance.

For more information on VPS see this article on Wikipedia, or watch this short video below.

I wish you all the best with your website, may it be super busy. And when it’s time to move your website from web hosting to VPS, checkout our rock-solid, fast and super affordable VPS solutions.

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