As your online business continues to grow, at some point you may need to consider upgrading your web hosting account. The majority of entrepreneurs will start with shared hosting then move to VPS hosting and, assuming the success continues, maybe consider a dedicated server further down the line. In this article we will look at VPS hosting where there are managed and unmanaged plans available.
How would you describe VPS hosting?
The term VPS stands for virtual private server which gives you an idea of what it is all about. To put a VPS hosting account into perspective it might be useful to compare and contrast against a shared hosting package. A shared hosting account is just one of many on one server sharing resources such as disk space, CPU and RAM.
There is no allocation of resources for specific accounts, so if some sites were to experience a spike in traffic they may draw in resources which may normally have been used by other websites on the same server. As a consequence, there is every chance that all accounts on the shared hosting server will experience a slower processing/response time.
When looking at VPS hosting the situation is very different. In common with shared hosting services, there are numerous VPS accounts on one server. The difference is that each VPS account has a designated amount of resources allocated which cannot be used by other VPS accounts on the same server. There is also the fact that each individual VPS account has the ability to run under a different operating system to other VPS accounts on the same server.
If we flip the coin, shared hosting accounts on the same server will need to use the same operating system and same security software. VPS hosting accounts can be customized around the requirements of the client while many elements of a shared hosting package are already set in stone.
Managed web hosting
The best way to describe managed web hosting is the option of hiring an expert to look after your web server 24/7. Some of the advantages of managed VPS hosting include: –
1. Round-the-clock monitoring
Let’s not forget we live in a world where hackers are literally lurking just around the corner and can pounce at any moment. Therefore, going to bed at night in the knowledge that there is somebody monitoring your websites and web server account should allow you to sleep peacefully.
2. Setup and configuration of VPS hosting
When initially setting up your VPS hosting account it can be difficult if you have never done it before. Even when you have your website up and running there may be various tweaks you can make to the setup to improve website functionality and processing times. In the majority of cases the managed element of VPS hosting accounts will literally pay for itself.
As a VPS hosting account revolves around a “virtual server” it is extremely easy to change the parameters and increase/decrease resources. When you have a managed account, you can advise the hosting company of your requirements and they will make the necessary adjustments. In the early days scalability may be something which you totally ignore but hopefully, as your business grows, it will become an issue to think about.
4. Enjoy server tweaks and upgrades
If you have a managed VPS hosting account the chances are that you will enjoy all of the hosting company server tweaks and upgrades going forward. This is the whole point of having a managed account; you have experts looking after your hosting/website interests while you concentrate on building your business. Many people are also unaware that relatively small tweaks to the configuration of your VPS hosting account can have a significant impact on processing times/speed.
The cost-effective element of any managed VPS hosting account will vary from customer to customer. The main fact is that allowing experts to look after server maintenance/monitoring gives business entrepreneurs the chance to concentrate on growing their business. There is absolutely no point in learning VPS hosting from the ground upwards while neglecting your online business. If your business does not grow then eventually you will begin to struggle!
6. Unmanaged web hosting
One thing to remember when considering managed or unmanaged VPS hosting accounts is simply value for money. If you have knowledge and experience with regards to server setup and maintenance then you may well be able to save yourself a few dollars each month. However, do not fall into the trap of saving a few dollars on your hosting fees while losing out on much more in potential sales. When looking at unmanaged VPS hosting you need to consider the following issues: –
VPS accounts tend to be for more tech savvy customers.
Does your skill and experience qualify you to manage your own VPS account? While there is no doubt it is good to save money on a monthly basis, this needs to be compared and contrasted against potential issues in other areas of your business. If you would need to Google every change in the server setup then you have to wonder whether an unmanaged account is for you. On the flipside of the coin, if you are tech savvy and have experience with VPS hosting, you can set up your own account and make the relevant changes as and when required.
Adhoc help may be expensive
If you take on an unmanaged hosting account and there are various issues which you fail to understand or have never come across before, what do you do?
While managed VPS hosting accounts are relatively cheap compared to the services provided, ad hoc assistance can be expensive. Even though there are very few issues you cannot research on the Internet, often the solutions can be technical and they are not always fool proof. If you are stuck, or make a mistake, it can be fairly costly to put things right!
More often than not, a reliable hosting provider will always offer guidance and assistance in the event of emergencies or time critical issues. The reality is that web hosting companies live and die by their reputations so they need to do as much as they can for all customers.
Concentrating on business
In the world of business everything is relative. What is the relative cost of managing your own VPS account if this gives you less time to spend on your online business?
Perhaps the best way to compare and contrast the benefits of managed/unmanaged VPS hosting is to look at potential savings and sales.
Let us assume for example that you were to save $50 a month by managing your own VPS account. This all sounds good, but what if that time used to manage your VPS account was better used expanding sales with your business? Let’s assume that the same time spent on your server would have created additional monthly sales of $10,000. If we assume a margin of 20% then this equates to a $2000 profit per month. If the time used to manage your server was to save you $50 a month, you begin to see the picture.
Reseller hosting accounts
You can use your VPS hosting to reseller hosting accounts. It can be very lucrative if you have the experience, time and clientele to service. In effect you are buying a large space on a server for yourself with the idea of selling shared accounts to 3rd parties. If you have your own business, aside from a reseller account, you have to weigh up whether it is worthwhile. On the flipside, if your business is reselling web hosting space or perhaps you operate a business which is complementary then this is a whole different scenario.
Finding a reliable hosting provider is essential whether setting yourself up as a reseller or simply looking for web hosting services for your own online business. Responsible hosting provider will offer you help and assistance along the way because at the end of the day they live and die by their reputation. The happier customers they have, the more customers this will attract going forward, and so the self-fulfilling prophecy begins.
Read more about VPS and Reseller hosting in this article on our blog.
While there are many technical aspects to take into consideration when looking at a managed or unmanaged VPS hosting account, much of the argument comes down to cost savings versus lost sales and time spent. If your real expertise is in building and operating an online business then surely it makes more sense to spend time increasing sales than shaving a few dollars from your monthly hosting fees?
Even if you initially decide to go via the unmanaged hosting route you can always change to managed web hosting further down the line. In many ways it is the flexibility and availability of web hosting services which makes the industry so accommodating. Make full use of the advice and the services available to you on Monsterhost.