when-to-move-from-vps-to-dedicated-hostingIs your site hosted on VPS? While it wasn’t that long ago that most people knew little about VPS, things have changed: Millions of great sites are hosted on VPS and more join every year. The secret to the success of VPS is in the way good VPS hosts are configured.

Shared hosting is a bit like the Wild West. You set up your homestead, but there are others using the same “land”. If those others need more storage space, bandwidth or RAM, your own parcel could be squeezed out — in effect, you get less resources when others use too much. Resources used by you and others can crowd together or overlap.

Physically, the servers used by a shared host and those used by a VPS are similar. When it comes to software and configuration, however, they’re completely different. While you can think of a shared host as a wide open plain, a VPS is more like a row of apartment buildings, each owned by a different customer. No matter how “tall” one gets — what assets it uses — different buildings remain secure and separate.

A VPS is limited, though, in that it can only grow so high.

By comparison, a dedicated server is your personal skyscraper.

Generally speaking, a dedicated server is:

  • Much faster than VPS, with better file loading times and much less latency.
  • Able to provide you with more RAM and storage space than even top VPS hosts.
  • Both more efficient and more cost-effective in using your precious bandwidth.

Is It Time to Move to Dedicated Hosting Yet?

Not all sites are going to need dedicated hosting. However, your goal should be to have a site so big and popular that “going dedicated” is a good strategy for you. The most profitable and powerful sites out on the World Wide Web tend to use dedicated hosting, so getting there is a good ambition to have.

However, it’s important not to move too quickly!

Let’s look at the key signs that it’s time to upgrade to dedicated hosting:

1) Your VPS Service Level Agreement Isn’t Enough or Isn’t “Coming Through”
Many VPS hosts have a Service Level Agreement (SLA) that defines how much time your sites will spend accessible to the public. The industry “gold standard” for this metric is 99.999 percent. VPS hosts should be forthcoming about how they’ve performed to these standards, since the SLA is a legally binding part of your service contract.

However, there comes a time when even the best SLA is not sufficient. If you want to feel fully confident your site will run smoothly as much as technologically possible, you should think carefully about dedicated hosting. Having a dedicated host means you can act fast when your site goes down and prioritize your own mission goals.

2) You Have a Global Presence With Multiple Regional “Silos”
When thinking about hosting, most people think about the needs of one “big” site. That said, many large enterprises have multiple sites they need to look after — and it doesn’t always make sense for multiple sites to be on the same hosting hardware. This is one scenario where dedicated hosting comes in handy.

If you have multiple sites with several top-level domains (TLDs), you might be in need of a dedicated server. A dedicated server can be valuable for your biggest and most resource-intensive site, while new sites freshly launched in other territories could begin on VPS. This way, geography won’t contribute (much) to slowing your sites down.

3) You Need the Absolute Best Encryption and Other Security
Having a dedicated server is the best way to protect your data and profitability, bar none. Not only can you restore your site more quickly in an emergency, as mentioned above, but you can also make it much harder to compromise your data from outside. A dedicated server gives you full control over applications and processes. You can monitor your network as you see fit!

Of course, this raises questions about when it’s time to “get tough” with security. This is something best discussed with experts who are familiar with your site and its needs, but you can look at several different milestones that give you a good idea.

You might want to update your security procedures and protocols if:

  • You are running an intranet that includes users logging in from around the world.
  • You are collecting large volumes of privileged medical or financial information.
  • You are doing development on software or intellectual property with high value.
  • You have a user community and your internal team logging into just one host.

4) You Have Technical Knowledge to Analyze Your Traffic and Increase Your ROI
Although VPS gives you the power to analyze data six ways from Sunday, nothing can beat the level of detail you can get from your own dedicated server. This provides you with “grist for the mill” for constantly growing the value your website provides, including developing the best understanding of how your visitors use your site.

If you are the kind of person who keeps up with the latest software, understands root access and is always looking for ways to improve, a dedicated server is best. Likewise, if you have a trusted server administrator who can do it all for you, you can really unleash his or her power with a dedicated server. Small tweaks on your server could result in leaps in profitability.

Some Final Words on Dedicated Hosting
Naturally, there are some complexities to dedicated hosting. Be sure that your host offers the managed services you want to keep your site in good order or that you can handle it all manually.

Likewise, go through the same “due diligence” you would with other forms of hosting:

  • Check out review sites and customer forums.
  • Compare services offered by multiple hosts.
  • Look for coupons to reduce your monthly fees.

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