What Is a VPS?

Building a website is a complex multi-stage process that requires a lot of planning, dedication, and careful thinking.

It all starts with the choice of a hosting account.

One of the options is to go for a Virtual Private Server (or VPS). It’s more expensive than a shared plan, but it gives you more power. At the same time, it’s nowhere near as pricey as a dedicated server, making it a rather appealing proposition.

Unfortunately, VPS hosting as a concept is still relatively new, and many people don’t know what to expect from it.

Today, we’ll try to fix this. We’ll take a deep look into how a VPS works, we’ll show you what you need to look out for when choosing a virtual server for your project, and we’ll give you some tips on what to do to get your server and website up and running as quickly as possible.

Let’s get started.

Chapter 1

VPS vs. Other Types of Hosting?

Our first port of call is to familiarize ourselves with some of the main web hosting principles.

If this is your very first project, you may want to get to know the types of hosting and the differences between them. These differences often determine whether or not a particular service is suitable for you.

You obviously need to be aware of your project’s requirements, and you have to make sure the service you pick satisfies all of them.

By nature, a virtual private server is highly versatile. It’s suitable for projects of all shapes and sizes, and it can be used for a lot more than just website hosting.

Check out our guides below to learn more about VPS hosting’s incredible range of applications, the many different types of websites you can host, and its benefits compared to shared and dedicated accounts.

Chapter 2

Hardware Resources & Technology

One of the main advantages of a virtual private server is its flexibility. You can add and remove CPU cores, RAM, and storage space as much as you want in order to optimize your site’s performance.

Ensuring your website is provided with enough hardware resources at all times is absolutely critical not only for its loading speeds but also for the budget. However, there are other important factors you shouldn’t underestimate.

For example, the virtualization technology your provider uses to isolate the virtual machine from the host can significantly affect the VPS’s performance and price. The underlying hardware and the infrastructure are also important for speed and reliability.

Through the links below, you’ll see what you need to look into when considering the available VPS options.

Chapter 3

Operating Systems

Choosing the operating system of your VPS is just as important as picking the OS of your personal computer. It determines what you can and can’t do with the machine.

You first need to know what technology you’ll need to run your project. For example, if you use your VPS for Forex trading, you’ll likely need a Windows machine. On the other hand, Linux will probably be your best choice if you want to host a website.

If you go for Linux, you’ll have quite a few distributions to choose from, and this is a decision you shouldn’t take lightly, either. Some distros support the tools your project needs out of the box, while others require additional steps to set up the hosting environment for your site.

That’s why it’s essential to research the subject in a bit more detail before committing to a purchase. You can start with the links below.

Chapter 4

Features

Every hosting account comes with its own set of features. Some of them are just extras that you may or may not have a use for. Others, however, are essential for building your project and achieving the performance and security levels you’re after.

For example, if you don’t plan on entering the reseller business, you’re unlikely to care whether you can use private nameservers. On the other hand, if the development framework you want to use is not supported, your progress could be hampered.

That’s why checking the feature lists of all available VPS solutions is important. Make sure everything you need is there. If it isn’t, contact your host’s sales team to see if there’s anything they can do about it.

Via the links below, you can learn more about some of the common tools offered by VPS providers. You’ll see how they work and how they can help you develop your website.

Chapter 5

Security

Awareness is key when it comes to maintaining proper levels of security.

Get to know the challenges you’re facing, and crucially, make sure you’re aware of how they evolve. If you want to keep your website safe, you need to be able to adapt to the changes and alter your strategy whenever you need to.

The default setup of a virtual server is more secure than a shared plan, but you can often take additional steps to ensure further protection. Usually, these involve simple things like a proper firewall configuration and a stronger password and access control policy.

Far too many security incidents happen either because of a lack of information or the site owner’s inability to act upon it. The guides below will show you some of the most common challenges and will help you improve your server’s security.

Chapter 6

Control Panel

A web hosting control panel is a browser-based management platform for anything from setting up new projects to managing files and FTP access.

It’s the server management interface you’ll use the most, so it’s crucial to ensure it’s intuitive enough. You want to get your project going as quickly as possible, so you don’t want a control panel that takes months to master.

Ease of use is crucial when choosing the control panel for your host account, but it’s far from the only thing to consider.

The temptation is to choose the most popular platform. However, the truth is, if you take the time to research some of the available alternatives, you may see that they are sometimes even more powerful than the established names. While doing your due diligence, check whether the control panels you’re considering have all the tools you need to launch your project, and don’t forget to look into how they affect the price of the entire account.

Take a look at the articles below to learn more about the importance of your hosting account’s control panel.

Chapter 7

Managing Your VPS

With a VPS plan, you’re in control of an entire virtual machine. To make the most of it, you need to know how to manage it.

You can start by getting to know the interfaces you’ll use to connect to the server. Learn how to install additional software, and crucially, familiarize yourself with the steps for restoring data from a backup.

With a managed virtual server, the mechanisms are usually pretty simple. However, you need to know which buttons to click to ensure maximum uptime and excellent performance.

On the other hand, if you own a self-managed VPS, you may need to work with a broad range of complex tools, so it’s even more important to know what you’re in for before you start work.

The links below should give you an idea of the challenges you may face while running your own virtual private server.

Chapter 8

Choosing and Installing a Website Building Application

Few people build their websites from scratch nowadays. Projects of all shapes and sizes are developed with applications that set up the site and database while giving you a GUI-based backend for managing it.

These apps are often open-source and free to use, and there are dozens of them, all suitable for different types of projects. Choosing the right one can literally make or break your website, so this is not a decision you can rush.

Have a good look around and try to figure out which one is the most suitable for your particular project. See what resources you have at your disposal and make sure you can get used to the platform quickly. You wouldn’t want to waste too much time learning the application.

Below are a few guides dedicated to some of the world’s most popular website-building platforms. You’ll see how they compare against each other, and you’ll be able to make an informed decision.

Chapter 9

Website Optimization

You can’t let your website sit still. You should be striving to attract more users and provide them with the best possible experience, so work can never stop.

No matter how great your project is, you can always improve various aspects. In fact, the number of techniques for boosting search engine rankings, optimizing performance, reducing server load, etc., is higher than you think.

There’s no way to cover them all, not least because as your site evolves, your focus will shift and incorporate different aspects of its functionality. Nevertheless, the articles below should show you some of the things you can do to steer your project in the right direction.

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