Most of us tend to start out with shared hosting for our websites. It’s often dirt cheap, supremely easy to use, and takes very little time to maintain.
Yet there’s a limit to what shared hosting can manage and when those limits get hit, it’s time to consider an upgrade.
Why You Need a Smoothly Loading Website
Website owners love it when their baby is serving up pages quickly and efficiently. No matter what site you’re running, the need for speed is real, unless you’re willing to forego good search rankings (see how website speed affects Ad pages) and see visitor count drop.
Website performance also directly affects user experience. This is something that can influence repeat visits or even affect sales figures for eCommerce websites. Poorly performing websites can quickly get a bad reputation.
When to Upgrade from Shared to VPS Hosting
The problem with all of this is that even the best-optimized websites will eventually hit a tipping point. If you notice that your website;
- Is getting a much larger number of visitors
- Isn’t converting sales as well as it used to
- Randomly serves error pages
Or is simply much more erratic or sluggish than before, you might want to consider upgrading your web hosting plan. Up till now, you’ve likely been on shared hosting.
While these plans are great for getting started, they are seldom feasible for the long run – unless you plan never to grow your website.
There are also other conditions that may require you to move to VPS hosting. For example, if you find your website needing specific environments to operate in, VPS might be the solution to your quandary.
Understanding Shared Hosting
Websites need access to resources like CPU time and memory to run. In shared hosting plans, hosting providers allocate the same server resources to hundreds of accounts.
These resources are put to use when needed, but since they are limited, websites often have to wait their turn to access them, affecting performance.
No matter how much resources are stated available as part of shared hosting plans, remember that those are maximum allowable usage figures only.
Shared hosting also isn’t really suitable for sites that need to handle visitor data or process payments. They offer the least assurance in terms of security, potentially putting both your website and customers’ data at risk.
How VPS Hosting Can Help
Virtual Private Server, or VPS hosting, is quite different from shared hosting. These plans do require a bit more technical knowledge to manage but offer far greater benefits in many areas; speed, security, reliability, and more.
VPS Plans are recommended for;
- More established websites
- Websites handling customer data
- eCommerce or online stores
- Websites with heavier volumes of traffic
To get a better idea of how powerful VPS plans can be, here are some areas they can help improve your website:
Dedicated Resources Means Better Speed
Unlike the common resource pool that shared hosting plans draw from, VPS plans all get dedicated resources. The resource allocation you choose with the plan will always be available for the use of your website. As a result, VPS-hosted websites are often much faster.
VPS plans are each sit in an isolated space on a server. This space essentially mimics an entire server on its own, allowing VPS users more flexibility. You get to choose the Operating System (OS), applications to run, and even the exact way they are configured.
The account isolation also means far greater security. No matter what happens to other hosting accounts on the server, your website will be unaffected. It also means the potential for much better data security.
To further improve security, you can choose to work with a dedicated security service provider to beef things up even further.
Lots of Room for Growth
Another important feature of VPS is scalability. Websites tend to grow over time. Even if your visitor count isn’t exploding you will be adding on new features, or using more advanced themes (see some examples here), which requires more resources.
With VPS you can control resource allocation more specifically, increasingly only the ones you need. The limits are also often higher than what’s available on shared hosting plans.
Before You Migrate…
That said, VPS plans do take more technical knowledge to manage properly. Still, if this is a challenge for you there is also the option to go for Managed VPS plans. These are VPS hosting plans that web hosting service providers administer on your behalf.
You won’t need to worry about installations, maintenance, security, or the like, everything gets done by the host. As such you’re free to focus on the things that are most important – growing your website content and audience.
While there are some concerns that VPS hosting is expensive this isn’t always the case. VPS plans come in many basic configurations but not all of them cost a bomb.
Some service providers try their best to make VPS more accessible and start their plans for less than what premium shared hosting plans might cost.
Some VPN service providers also include free migration in their packages so you won’t need to worry about moving your websites. All you need to do is sign up for a plan, provide your new host with a few details, then sit back and enjoy a cup of coffee.
They’ll roll back their sleeves and get to work. As soon as the migration is done, you just need to test the site to ensure everything’s working as it should.
Technically, most of these support teams are so good at their job that there won’t even be any downtime in website operation.
Moving to VPS might sound a little scary but it’s mainly just a different concept. Once you’ve been on shared hosting for some time, you should have enough familiarity with web hosting to consider making a move.
You will be surprised at the wonders it can do for website performance.