With the events of 2020 pushing the whole world into the digital age, more and more companies, organizations, and even people are setting up their own websites. These might be online stores, pages that provide resources, or portfolio and professional websites for individuals.
Of course, it’s never as easy as just picking a web host and calling it a day, and the world of website building and hosting is full of interesting and complex options.
Nearly all Internet users have heard of WordPress, and considering that WordPress powers 455 million websites (around 35% of all websites) , you’re probably considering using it for your own website as well. To that end, we’d love to help you figure out how to get started with your WordPress hosting, and in this case, VPS hosting!
VPS hosting can be incredibly powerful, so much so that it can even give a competitive edge to industries as unforgiving as Forex trading, Healthcare, Advertising, Life Sciences and more. Today, though, we’ll be covering the benefits that VPS hosting can provide in the context of WordPress VPS hosting.
What is VPS Hosting
So what exactly is a VPS? Essentially, it’s a type of cloud hosting that doesn’t put you in a position where a bad neighbor can potentially cause you an issue.
With traditional shared hosting, there may be dozens or hundreds of people on the same server, and the technology that oversees that server isn’t always very strict. That means that if a shared server has 32GB of RAM and there are a few hundred people on it, then that 32GB of ram gets torn back and forth between users in a virtual tug-of-war. For most personal use cases, that’s not necessarily a problem, but if you’re trying to host a website on an overutilized shared server, you might find the website crashing often.
VPS is a nice alternative to such unrestricted shared hosting wherein the host limits the number of users per server and strictly cordones off each user’s environment (or VPS). To continue using our example above – a server that has 32GB of RAM – the number of users may be limited to 16, so each user can get 2GB of RAM. No matter what happens, you are guaranteed the 2GB RAM resources. Servers are not overprovisioned; instead, the load is balanced to another host.
Of course, this equal split applies to all the hardware on the server, whether that’s RAM, the CPU, storage, or maybe even the connection the server runs on.
Since the resources of virtual private servers are allocated to fewer people, that means that VPS hosting is generally more expensive than shared hosting. While you may find monthly prices in the $5-$10 ballpark at the lower end, you might expect a relatively good entry-tier VPS hosting service starts from $10 monthly, although that can go up to hundreds or thousands of dollars depending on the server and your needs.
There are also specific VPS hosting services that come with a slew of additional features such as server management, additional IP addresses, 100% Service Level Agreements, Onsite and Offsite backups, replication, and so forth. Going with such an option is perfect if you aren’t necessarily familiar with the website development and hosting or if you just don’t feel comfortable setting up and maintaining a WordPress website on your own.
What to Look For
One of the most important things you’ll want to focus on when choosing a host is the uptime of the service. There’s no point putting so much effort into building a site if the host it’s on is constantly going down and your users can’t access it.
As such, you’ll want to look for hosts that guarantee 100% uptime if possible. These types of providers have high-performing and highly available infrastructure services that should never go down unexpectedly.
WordPress Management Suite
Since we’re talking about WordPress hosting, it’s important to find a site that has WordPress management tools that you’re comfortable with. These considerations can range from how your WordPress site is installed (such as with a one-click installation) to the control panel that you’re going to be dealing with day-to-day (such as cPanel).
More importantly, you need to gauge your own level of comfort when it comes to managing WordPress and knowing how much help you’re going to need. If you are a novice at administering a website, then choosing a VPS host that does most of the stuff for you is a good idea. On the other hand, if you have some experience, then a bit less hand-holding is OK.
Related to the point above, you’ll certainly want a host that has excellent customer support. Customer support can come in various forms, from email support to phone support. Ultimately the best choice here comes down to your preference and the way you’re most comfortable communicating. Either way, you’ll want a host that has 24/7 customer support.
We’ll even go so far as to say that if the host you’re looking at doesn’t offer 24/7 support, then you should just move on to the next one. We can’t stress how important it is to have timely access to help in a situation where your website has a problem. Similarly, check out reviews for the customer support of the host you want to join and make sure the customer service representatives are actually helpful.
What to Avoid
While we’ve flagged this as a potential issue with a host, it may not be if you have experience in managing servers. On the other hand, if you’re reading this article, it’s likely you are entering the world of servers and hosting for the first time and therefore might possibly not be comfortable with server management.
As such, we’d generally suggest getting a managed service, either as a plain VPS or managed WordPress VPS. Setting up a website can be frustrating if you don’t have experience with it, and knowing how to handle working and managed server can certainly help build experience with websites in the long run.
Another option is to select a VPS hosting provider that also provides professional services so if you ever hit a tough spot, you can engage with the hosting parnter as a consultant to get you over that hurdle you are facing. That said, if you feel comfortable with an unmanaged server, go for it!
VPS vs Dedicated Hosting
While most people will probably start out with relatively cheap VPS hosting, at some point they almost always need to scale up in both hardware and cost. As such, you may want to consider whether dedicated hosting works better for you than VPS hosting. You can certainly find both at similar price points, even in the hundreds or thousands of dollars, and so it’s important to make sure you’re purchasing the right service.
Far be it from us to tell you how you should spend your money, but the truth of the matter is that you get what you pay for.
If you find a VPS hosting service in the free to $5 a month range, it’s likely not going to be great and you’re more than likely to run into problems. Not only that, but you’re probably giving up something important to get to that price point, such as 24/7 customer support.
As such, we’d advise against any VPS service that costs less than $10 or so, since that’s really the lower bound of what we’d consider good entry-level VPS hosting.
While VPS hosting may seem complicated when you first start exploring hosting, don’t let it scare you off. It’s incredibly versatile, and when you add WordPress management into the mix, it can be an empowering tool for those who are just starting out with hosting their own website. More importantly, keep in mind that WordPress VPS hosting is a very flexible service and you can tier up and down in terms of cost depending on your budget and your needs.
Hopefully, after reading this you have a better idea of what to look for when it comes to a good WordPress VPS host!