In 2019, fast sites are no longer a luxury but a necessity. Nowadays, people don’t wait for longer than 3 seconds for a page to load. If you want your business to take off and your website to stand out from your competitors, then a high level of client’s satisfaction is a must. This is the reason why a Virtual Private Server (VPS) plays a major role in the growth of businesses today.
If you are wondering what is a VPS, you will be glad to know that you are not alone when it comes to the technicalities of web hosting.
So the simple overbearing question is - what is a VPS server?
Put simply, it’s a server virtualised privately and is the most practical business solution sold as an internet hosting service.
What is VPS Hosting actually?
A VPS is a virtual machine that uses its own operating system housed in an actual physical computer located in a data centre. Unlike shared hosting where multiple websites share a single server, VPS partitions a single physical server to form multiple isolated self-contained units within it which are independent of its neighbours.
How can I benefit from a VPS?
A VPS is the absolute secret weapon to many successful small or medium scale businesses. What is VPS going to do for your business? It’ll offer increased control over your digital properties by giving you the ability to perform more advanced functions which are commonly limited by shared hosting.
What is VPS going to do for your website? The advantage of using a VPS for your website means that your site will run on its own set of resources with dedicated RAM, CPU and bandwidth allocation. The inevitable result is a significant improvement in website performance and ease of application access to your consumers with the significant boost of speed and improvement of reliability.
One of the main features of VPS hosting is that it provides root access to the business owner. That means that you are given greater control like an administrator and the power to use it for almost anything including customising software, running various operating systems, hosting multiple websites and third-party software applications with complete privacy. This is especially suitable for those with strong IT technical skills. Don’t worry if you are not as you can always request that your Australian VPS service provider manage or semi-manage the server for you.
If you run an online store, then you will benefit greatly by using a VPS as it is more likely that your website will pass the Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance test. The PCI Data Security Standard is established by worldwide major credit and debit card brands such as Visa, Mastercard and American Express to protect against data theft and other kinds of fraud and to ensure that the data by online merchants is processed, stored and transmitted in a secure manner. processing, storage and transmission.
Many businesses decide to invest in a VPS due to minimal downtime i.e. constant availability and stability of the website. Don’t adopt the wait-and-see attitude until your website is suddenly running slow or crashing due to the high influx of visitors to take an action on improving your website because it may have already turned away your potential valuable customers by then. Minimal downtime is essential for programs or websites that require server availability 24/7 such as tax-related programs and forex trading.
One of the cost-saving features of VPS is that it can be accessed remotely. With that in mind, you no longer need to be bound to a physical machine and have the option to employ remote workers which saves you from travel allowance and office space. You can even customise the VPS so that all your sales employees can access it to provide a constant update on the details of your company’s products and services.
With so many benefits that come with it, it is no wonder that VPS is the next logical path for a business that is growing. Companies can now have peace of mind by redirecting their resources to other internal sectors such as growth and development of their business rather than worrying on the technicalities of the web server.
Are there any disadvantages to VPS?
All kinds of web hosting carry with them certain cons regardless of how efficient they are. From a financial standpoint, there is no doubt that a VPS is probably more expensive than shared hosting albeit much more affordable than a fully dedicated hosting service.
Despite the cost issue, many Australian VPS providers have competitive VPS hosting plans for around $10 a month which is not much more than the cost for most shared hosting plans. Many businesses find that the VPS cost is quickly outweighed by its pros due to the result of improving online business performance as a whole.
Other problems that may arise include issues with your VPS service provider should they fail to allocate the resources appropriately presumably due to overselling their packages. When there are not enough resources, it can adversely affect the particular website that uses the VPS during peak period. Fret not as this issue can be easily addressed by checking how many virtual accounts are active on the server. Ultimately, this disadvantage is more of a choice of VPS service provider rather than the service of a VPS itself.
What are the differences between a Linux VPS and a Windows VPS?
Those looking for a VPS are often forced to deliberate and make a choice as to which of the two seemingly, equally dominating operating systems – Linux VPS or Windows VPS to opt for.
In other words, what is Windows VPS offering that Linux VPS isn’t?
Let’s compare their main features and see which one is best suited for different kinds of business.
Let’s begin with cost. Linux VPS is an open source platform and its cost is significantly lower than Windows VPS which is owned by Microsoft where the users must pay a licensing fee. Don’t worry about there being hidden cost as Windows usually inform their users upfront and it is also included in the price of your VPS package.
Linux VPS is suitable for open source software such as PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby or MySQL whereas Windows is proprietary meaning it works well mainly with Windows specific applications.
Due to its open source system, Linux offers more flexibility in terms of control panels. Even though Plesk is available for both Windows VPS and Linux VPS, cPanel is only available on Linux VPS making it popular amongst software developers and IT businesses.
Windows VPS is particularly known for its web application framework, ASP.NET. Some applications such as Sharepoint (collaboration and document management platform) and Exchange (a messaging platform) that are exclusively available for Windows’ users only. Linux VPS offers several open source applications such as audio, graphic design, content management systems, Q&A forums, and ready-to-use applications.
Users of Linux VPS can use the sudo command to execute root level commands making it more secured apart from its default security system. On the other hand, Windows VPS, even though it is often targeted by more cyber attacks, have regular updates to encounter security-related errors protecting your business from digital threats. One could argue that the Windows VPS is prone to more cyber attacks due to its popularity when compared with the Linux VPS (similar to how you will find more virus attacks on Windows operating systems compared to Mac operating systems).
Linux is command line based which may take a while for some people to get the hang of it but the plus point is that it is distraction free interface as it displays only the necessary information whereas Windows uses Graphic User Interface which is easier for non-technical users but consumes a lot of memory and resources which takes the device longer time to complete the task.
So, is Windows VPS or Linux VPS the best for my business?
Generally, Windows VPS is preferred by large businesses without an IT background due to its already established strong core applications and the professional team constantly streamlining and updating the system which even though forms part of your business budget but gives you peace of mind.
Linux VPS, on the other hand, is the favourite for small businesses due to its versatility and the low costs but requires the user taking a more active DIY role in security strategy.
What is Managed VPS?
Managing a VPS involves rebooting, optimizing your data storage, performance monitoring, installation and configuration of software, updating VPS, providing a backup solution, improvement of cybersecurity, installing control panel etc.
Does these all sound alien to you? If you’re sitting there confused and baffled by the technicalities mentioned above, then a managed VPS is better suited for your business.
Once you have VPS hosting, you can administer it as though the entire virtual server is in your control. On a managed VPS hosting, normally done by your VPS provider, the user gets all the necessary support to maintain and run the website efficiently. As a result of subscribing to a managed VPS, you don’t normally get downtime as it is often guaranteed as part of the VPS package.
This may be surprising to hear but a good VPS manager is cost (and life) saving. But what is a VPS manager and why is it relevant to you? A good VPS manager helps you manage your VPS for you and saves you from the trouble of needing to hire an IT personnel. In the unfortunate event of any technical problem arising, your VPS manager is dedicated to resolving the issue as efficiently and effectively as possible allowing you to rest in ease knowing that your VPS is being handled by the professionals.
What is an Unmanaged VPS
An unmanaged VPS is only ideal for tech-savvy business owners such as an IT company, hosting company or businesses with strong IT department and tech-savvy personnel that specialised in hosting website.
If you select an unmanaged VPS package, you are responsible for managing the entire VPS including its technical part such as system administration, server maintenance, software configuration. It is cost-effective due to its DIY feature and you have full autonomy in terms of software installation, usage and customization.
As web hosting is due to its neediness of constant uptime, maintenance of reliability and server stability, it may be difficult for an “outsider” to manage. The only thing that your VPS provider will do is to keep the network connection open and the VPS running, and the rest is on you.
Remember, you get what you pay for! So, choose wisely when considering to purchase an unmanaged VPS package.
How to use a VPS?
One of the biggest selling points of VPS is that you can access it remotely. With that in mind, you no longer need to worry about not being able to run the programs related to your business when you are away on a beach holiday. It is without a doubt that VPS is popular for web hosting. However, there are many more ways on how to use a VPS to the advantage of your business.
The most common use of a VPS is to host a high traffic website. With now the freedom to install or remove the software for your website, and the added boost of CPU, RAM etc, your website will be more optimised and able to respond positively even to the most impatient visitor. One important point to note is that Google uses page speed as one of the search engine ranking factors, so the faster your website loads, the higher you are on the ranking. A highly ranked website gets maximised organic traffic from search engines with the majority of clicks. Another plus point is that you get to customise the content of your website.
Business travellers often ask “How to access my VPS remotely?”. If you want to operate remotely like your local device on tasks like checking and responding to emails, installing applications, storing work files, running programs then go for Windows VPS where all these can be done via Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). It also allows many users to connect simultaneously for data sharing purposes.
Have you ever encountered those few dreadful occasions where your corporate data was corrupted due to virus attack or other forms of system failures? With all the disk space and bandwidth that comes with your VPS package, you are able to backup your data and save them in secured data centres. In the unfortunate event of data loss, simply pluck them from the VPS and restore it back to where they belong.
VPS allows you to tweak the settings of online store and optimise it to make it as fast as possible for optimal user experience. You can use the latest versions of PHP, web server software and even install plugins which are all not possible in shared hosting due to prohibited root access.
Forex trading system
Since there is almost 100% uptime, it works amazingly well with forex trading that requires 24/7 running of the application. Even when disconnected from VPS, all the applications that you have started within remote desktop do not close as the VPS is always active and connected. If you are still worried, then choose a VPS service provider that offers self-healing failover where any problem is automatically corrected without any human interruption.
A VPS provides the ideal environment for software or application development. You can invite other developers or your clients to connect to the VPS to see the code you are developing. It is also more secure since you are no longer using a public server to run the codes. If you save it in advance in DropBox, then you don’t have to worry about rebuilding it in a new server if the worst happens.
Comparison between VPS vs Shared Hosting vs Dedicated Web Hosting
It is important to explore all your options before settling down with an option you think suits you best. Given how any ambiguities you may have had about what is a VPS and how to use a VPS should be clearer by now, you may wonder about the other types of web hosting available to you.
The most popular alternative options to a VPS for web hosting is shared hosting and dedicated web hosting.
Shared hosting allows many websites to share a single server with limited server resources allocated to each customer based on the hosting package. Imagine it like a unit in a big block of apartment with a shared corridor and common facilities.
On the other end of the spectrum is dedicated web hosting where the customer gets the whole server to itself, not shared with anyone else. Imagine it as if it were a house built on a self-sufficient island.
Now, your next question probably is “Which one of those will benefit me better”? Answer those questions yourself by looking at the comparison below!
Yes, the factor of cost is always of concern for businesses but to base your decision entirely on price can be catastrophic. Check out the fee table below.
Dedicated Web Hosting
$1 - $10
$10 - $55
At least $80
This is only an estimated average amount. Some cheap Windows VPS and Linux VPS can even cost just a few dollars. Sure, it may be extremely pocket-friendly, but beware of the basic low-quality features that often come with the budget pricing.
If you are looking to select a more sophisticated high-level package for dedicated web hosting, then be prepared to pay beyond the stated fee.
A website’s performance goes hand in hand in with business growth. If you want happy returning customers, then you have got to give them what they want - a fast loading and responsive website. It takes only a few seconds extra for your client to abandon your website and go “shopping” somewhere else.
If your website performs only a few basic standard functions such as acting as an informational page or a brochure type one that does not get a lot of traffic with the main intent of being non-profit, then shared hosting may be ideal for you. Despite the simple functions on your website, don’t expect it to sail smoothly all the way as you may experience a “Noisy Neighbour Effect” that happens sometimes due to the majority of the resources being used up by your ‘neighbour’ who is sharing the server with you. When that happens, your network performance and storage etc will be affected.
A VPS offers the best of both worlds and results in amazing speed boosts for your website along with a stronger sense of security, functionality and integrity. It is very unlikely to experience the nuisance from your ‘neighbour’ since you are effectively accessing to that specific compartment segregated by the SSD drive managed by your VPS service provider.
This is where you get to say bye-bye to those noisy neighbours, but at the cost of an arm and a leg. It is suitable for business that owns a resource-heavy website with hundreds of videos and extremely high-resolution images.
A website well-guarded with proper security sends out a loud signal to your client on how much they matter to you - and how seriously you take your business. You are guarding your business’ reputation when you take active steps to protect the websites from viruses and your customers’ data from being stolen.
The security of the website is handed over to the hosting provider where you do not have control over it. Yes, it puts your mind at ease not having to worry about the regular updates and maintenance, or does it really? Don’t forget that in a shared hosting environment with everyone sharing the same IP address, what your neighbour does affect your sites too. That is when you run the risks of malware and other types of unwanted intrusion.
One of the top reasons why businesses upgrade to VPS is that it provides excellent robust security since all users are isolated with independent IP addresses. You have the freedom to build multiple layers of security by installing a security plugin, spam filtering and securing your SSH configuration to maintain constant vigilance. If you collect data from your customer via your websites (such as online stores and newsletter) then VPS is highly recommended for data protection purpose.
Since you are all alone in the server, the risk of attack is also minimal.
Many businesses prefer the freedom to upgrade their server as and when required as determined by the volume of website traffic received.
Shared hosting is designed for low volume website traffic and ideally statically designed websites. With no root access, flexibility is strictly limited. Whether or not you get to install custom software or application such as specific PHP module on your website depends wholly on the discretion of the host. A simple update may take months to reach you as you have to wait for your turn due to many websites sharing the same server and resources.
One of the highlights of a VPS is that it offers the user to scale up and down resources on the go without downtime. You are allowed to scale up your RAM or CPU capabilities only when required such as high traffic and downscale it when demands are low. This scalability function is not available to both shared hosting and dedicated hosting at the speed of a snap of a finger. VPS also gives you the flexibility to fully customise your website the way you want it to be.
You may think that dedicated service offers the most flexibility. In truth, it does not. Strictly speaking, since you get the whole computer all on your own, you are able to customise it extensively to your liking. You may choose to run several operating systems, maximise the amount of storage and build an armour of hardware elements. Even though there are managed dedicated hosting services available, you will still need to do a lot of monitoring and the technical side on your own. If your loyal hardware fails, then your site is out completely without your “neighbour” helping you out by taking over in case of failure.
Shared hosting is the cheapest of all but it comes with many limitation and risks such as limited bandwidth, no root access etc. Dedicated hosting, normally preferred by large organisations, has an abundance of storage with an extremely powerful processor. However, is it worth budgeting tens of thousands of dollars every year if all you need is just a slice of an optimised private server that meets all your needs? VPS, a well-balanced option between affordability and performance may very well be just what you are looking for.
How to Choose the Best VPS provider?
Choosing a poorly run VPS service provider is a recipe for disaster. How do you select the one that will really help you to boost your business? To make VPS a worthy investment for your business, take time to think and conduct proper research into your list of good VPS service providers. Be sure to look out for the following five key points.
a) Self-healing failover
When choosing a good VPS host, remember to look out for this feature. It means that if the physical computer goes offline for any reason, your VPS is automatically and immediately mounted on another computer until the issue is fixed. VPS provider that adopts the traditional method requires many hours to physically move the drive to another computer and reconfigure. This also means that you will not experience any downtime during the maintenance by the VPS service provider.
b) Data Centres
Location matters. Where your information is stored should not be taken lightly. The close proximity plays a role in minimising response time and latency. That also shows that the company prioritises on quality rather than comprising its product by outsourcing the data centres that keep all your important data in another country to save on costs. So, when choosing the ideal VPS Australia has to offer, you should opt for a provider with a data centre based in Australia.
c) Customer support
A VPS service provider in need is the VPS service provider indeed. They guide you from basic questions such as “how to access my VPS” to serious alarming situations. The customer support team is like an emergency hotline that is supposed to save you from any potential or existing problem. If you are based in Australia, then an Australian VPS hosting company is always preferred. Make sure their way of communication fits yours. Some Aus VPS service providers allow only communications made via email or a contact form from the website whereas others allow more engaging method such as a chat window on the website or direct phone call access. Choose an Aus VPS provider that offers you to speak directly with level 3 VPS support technicians. Level 3 technicians have the most expertise in the company and have the ability to deploy solutions to even the rarest problems.
If you are not tech savvy, simply look at the customer’s reviews. Look out for points on reliability, security and efficiency. All these will point towards whether the company has adequate resources and values to handle your server. Certainly, look at both good and bad reviews. Are they defensive and ignorant or responsive and helpful? How long is their turnaround time?
There is no point upgrading to a VPS only to experience downtime all the time. A reliable VPS provider keeps your website up and running round the clock. Check out how much uptime does your VPS provider guarantee which should be at least 99.5% and ideally 99.9%.
These criteria, if satisfied, directly affect your website’s loading speed, bandwidth, storage, access, technology and security. Pick the conscientious VPS service provider that offers a VPS package that has the best value for money and most importantly fits for your business purpose. It takes only one mistake to show how important your VPS service provider is to your business - and it’s a mistake you do not want to test.
Should you use a Free VPS host?
If it is too good to be true, then it most probably is. Yes, there are free VPS servers available but they come with many risks and limitations.
Some people choose a free VPS server in order to have a taste of VPS before purchasing a valuable package. However, in the course of doing so, they may end up giving away a substantial amount of important data (including customer data) to the companies that provide free VPS service. In fact, most of the free VPS hosts provide only basic features that are suitable for students.
We would strongly advise against engaging with a free VPS host due to the general trend of countless negative reviews from businesses who fell prey to them. The typical complaints include:
- Low specification that is not fit for even the most general purpose
- No customer support even though the provider claims there is
- Poor website experience or insufficient information making the customer confused on the right plan to select
- Referrals or credits are required before the customer can use the VPS
- The customer must continuously submit many forum posts to get a free VPS and the VPS is gone once the posting is stopped too
- Scam to collect your data
- Clickbait to the advertisement where they earn actual money
Since it is an investment which has a direct effect on your business, go for the best value for money. Paid VPS comes with a cost, but it isn’t that costly. With VPS options as low as $10 a month, you can get a VPS from a reputable company such as VPSBlocks. If you are doing business, then the cost is marginal. Don’t overlook how this small amount of spending can contribute to the success of your business by improving your web features.
Difference between a VPS and a VPN
Did you in the course of your research on the VPS topic accidentally venture into VPN and got really confused by the two? Aside from the words “virtual” and “private”, there is little or almost no similarity between the two when it comes to their purpose.
Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a paid service that keeps your web browsing activity secure, anonymous and private via a virtual tunnel that is encrypted between you and a remote server operated by the service provider. By doing so, all your internet traffic is routed through the tunnel which makes your computer appear to have the IP address of the VPN server. With masked identity and location, the user can access blocked websites, bypassing internet filters and keep their connections safe from being hacked. While VPS is mainly for business purpose, many people choose to use VPN to surf internets when they are at public wifi spot.
Why VPSBlocks is Probably the Best VPS Australia has to Offer
Save your time and stop doing guesswork in deciding who is the best VPS Australia has to offer. Proudly 100% Australian, VPSBlocks is one of the leading VPS service providers for businesses in the country. We know that’s a bold statement to make but given how we tick all the boxes of what makes a good and reliable VPS service provider, a service with VPSBlocks is a service carried out exceptionally.
Abundance of Choice
Firstly, you will be spoilt with choices when it comes to the operating system. We offer more than ten operating systems including the popular CentOS, cPanel, Ubuntu, Plesk Windows etc. You can also choose one of the many cheap Windows VPS and Linux VPS to begin with. If you have a preferred operating system, simply email us and our friendly team will do their best to add it in for you too.
Many VPS service providers have readymade VPS packages that may not have all the specifications that suit your needs. VPSBlocks gives you the option to pick and choose the specifications of your VPS and get it tailored just for your business. With the customisation option, you get to choose the operating system, a number of CPU cores, dedicated RAM size, SSD disk capacity, SATA disk capacity, size of the bandwidth and even payment option (monthly, semi-annually or annually).
You don’t have to worry about any hidden cost as all costs are estimated and provided to you as a quote immediately. Don’t worry about missing out on certain enhanced features that may contribute greatly to the success of your business as the quote will also state the details such as the function and costs of any extra features.
At $10 a month for the introductory lowest plan, VPSBlocks offers a very reasonable package for cheap Windows and Linux VPS hosting services that can hardly be matched by other competitors. Optional add-on features start as low as $5.
You can opt-in for managed server backup, offsite server backups, SPAM filtering, server management etc. Despite the extra costs, the optional features will prove their worth in the long run as a result of convenience and added advantages.
Afraid of website collapsing and downtime? Then VPSBlocks has the special feature of RAID SSD storage to save you from it. RAID storage means that when a disc fails, it is replaced with the data being rebuilt into it without affecting your VPS. It can withstand up to multiple disk failures (which is highly unlikely in the first instance) before the whole system shut down. RAID storage is over 100x faster than SAS or SATA.
VPSBlocks does not purchase to send or receive traffic from any other network and peers with other Tier 1 networks to maintain global reachability. With that, we have the widest internet coverage geographically.
True Australian based company
You will be glad to know that all VPSBlocks support staff are based in Melbourne and offer live phone support during business hours with quick turnaround email or ticket support outside of that.
Managed Hardware Firewall
Another free service that is included in all packages provided by VPSBlocks is that they provide comprehensive network protection from viruses, spyware, Trojans, malware and any unwanted traffic at the hardware level even before it reaches your VPS. You may of course, build your own security setup to allow your own firewall rules using the control panel to block all other ports.
24/7 service monitoring
You can set up HTTP or URL monitoring to notify you of any failures via email or SMS alerts. This is useful to proactively identify website problems before they escalate to become a substantial problem such as downtime. This features 1-minute continuous monitoring and even automatic rebooting of your VPS.
Being a conscious and conscientious company, we do not skimp on maintenance. With the self-healing failover, they offer limit scheduled maintenance that allows your VPS to be mounted to another physical server system or ensure that repairs are done smoothly without affecting your service.
A Round-up on VPS Hosting in Australia
A VPS hosting plan would be the best solution for you if:
- Your website is growing and you need it to run smoothly but the cost is a major concern for you (even the lowest tier VPS packages that start as low as $10 a month are often better than any shared hosting solution)
- You are not highly proficient in the technicalities of IT and web hosting (in this case, a managed VPS is your way to go)
We hope that our comprehensive guide to VPS hosting has helped put you in a position to understand exactly what is a VPS server and how to apply on to your business. The next step now is to find the right VPS hosting provider within your budget that gives you first class customer service, reliability, server performance and overall good user-friendly experience. By carefully choosing your VPS hosting provider to act as a good business partner to improve your website’s performance, you unleash the full potential of your business growth. VPSBlocks is proud to be the ideal Aus VPS provider that offers excellent Australian VPS hosting solutions for businesses of all sizes.