It is known that VPS hosting is the best service to go with when having a more demanding web site, which requires root access to the server’s OS and demands for higher CPU usage limitation. However, it is also known that there are a lot of web hosting providers out there, that are offering VPS services and that not all of those providers have the ability, the resources or, in some cases, even the desire for offering a good, affordable and stable VPS server hosting service. Since there are quite a number of companies out there that are only after the signup money and neglect the service quality, one should be extremely careful when choosing which company to go with. Therefore, the question-
How to choose a VPS web hosting provider?
There are certain aspects of the Virtual server hosting service, which has to be taken into consideration when looking for a virtual server provider. Those are affordability and staff and server quality. Each of those things is equally important and should not be ignored, since if any of them is not on the level, then you risk your website to suffer downtime and poor performance.
The first thing that a user sees when visiting a web hosting web store, is the pricing for the different services. And since the pricing forms the first impression, it’s important for a serious web hosting provider to arrange their prices in a realistic and then again appealing fashion. It’s important for the user to remember that if a price is too low, then there must be a solid reason for that. Usually, that reason is low plan specifications, inadequate support staff, server instability, or even worse- an online scam. Therefore, it is not advisable to go with the cheapest service that you can find, since you will most probably regret it afterward. On the other hand, you should also avoid paying for the highest possible service as well, since in most cases it is simply a rip-off, or, again- a scam. Therefore, when looking for a web hosting company, and this implies for all web hosting services types, it is important not to go with any of the two extremes, but to choose the company that has the most well-balanced and realistic prices. A serious web hosting provider, will not set a price which is too high, otherwise, they won’t be able to properly compete on the market, but then again, they cannot afford to set a price that is too low as well, since the service quality will suffer, resulting in losing clients. So, consider all that, when looking at the company’s pricing list.
When you find a company whose services fit into your pricing range, it is important to see what the service itself has to offer, in terms of server stability and support staff reliability.
Unlike shared hosting and semi-dedicated servers, VPS hosting falls under a different category of server stability. Since, when using a VPS account, the user will be in charge of managing the server’s OS and settings, the hosting provider cannot prevent any server downtimes, caused by setting alterations. What they can and should, however, is securing a safe and stable environment for the user to work on. That includes network uptime, or in other words, the uptime of the physical server, an up to date, complete, stable and in the same time, fast set up of the VPS. What this means, is that when creating the VPS for the user the hosting company should install the latest, stable and complete versions of: the selected operating system, php, HTML, Perl, MySQL, PostGreSQL, SQL Server (if using Windows OS) and all other parts of a web server’s standard set up. At the same time, the VPS itself should not take more than 1 hour to set up, since taking more than that will simply mean that their back end is poorly organized and lacking functionality. Note that some additional, and usually optional, software installations, such as the cPanel control panel, take several hours to be installed and this is caused by the software itself and not by sloppy technical support staff. Therefore, bare that in mind, when ordering additional services with your VPS package.
It is only natural to expect only the highest level of support when ordering any kind of service, especially a web hosting service. However, there since there are different types of web hosting services out there, there different things that are to be expected from the company’s tech support, depending on the type of service that you sign up for. The same level of support cannot be expected for both a shared hosting service and a VPS hosting service, simply because the two services are very different, thus different factors play role in managing the account itself. When ordering a virtual private server, the user should be aware that his responsibilities will be far greater than when going with a shared hosting package. For instance, no serious company will allow their support staff to take hours of their time, in order to manually fix something that the user messed up, while changing the configuration of the VPS’s operating system. Of course, a system restores, or re-installation of the whole VPS is always possible, however, do not expect that the technical support staff will administer the virtual server for you unless this is specifically mentioned in the plan description.
It is important to know that managing a private server can be quite difficult, when done without proper help and without a web hosting control panel. Let’s have a look at what those two aspects actually are
Managed VPS services
Most VPS hosting providers, do not offer any server administration help whatsoever. The reason for that, is mainly of the fact that administering a server is quite a time taking and will require dedicated support, or in other words, it will require an administrator, who will deal with only one server all the time. That’s why, VPS accounts usually come without any support for custom troubleshooting, updates, installations etc., by default. However, some providers offer that service, via an optional managed services package, for which the client has to pay in addition, if he decides to take advantage of its features.
VPS control panel
By default, every VPS comes with a control panel, through which the user is able to manage the VPS container. That control panel is usually the Virtuozzo panel. Note, however, that the Virtuozzo is not a web hosting control panel, meaning that you cannot manage the files for your websites, the e-mails for your account, the FTP login credentials, or any other web hosting service, except for the VPS container itself. Most providers do not include web hosting control panels in their plain VPS packages, therefore, be careful when ordering a private server, since without such control panel the VPS management will be established through an SSH console exclusively and that requires at least some knowledge in programming and system administration. Usually, web hosting control panels are offered as additional services which come at an additional price, simply because most companies use third-party control panels, such as cPanel and Plesk. Some companies have even developed their own custom-built control panel, which they offer for free with their VPS services, all in an attempt to make their private server offers more attractive to customers. Nevertheless, before ordering any control panel with your server, always make sure that you have at least checked the demo of that control panel, in order to see if it will suit your personal needs.