If you’re looking to host a customizable server, there’s no need to break the bank. Dedicated servers offer a ton of useful features, but Virtual Private Servers (VPS) offer a more affordable alternative that still lets you reap many of the benefits. So, step one to saving money may simply be moving to a VPS, but beyond that, there are several ways to save money without sacrificing quality.
Before we dive into the different things to lower your VPS price, we should ask ‘why VPS’ in the first place. And to do that we need a better understanding of what different kinds of hosting plans look like.
On one end of the spectrum, you have shared hosting. Shared hosting can be great if you’re just getting started and looking for a cheap way to jump into things. It means that you pay a small amount and share your server resources with many other users/sites in the same boat. It’s cheap and easy to get started, but this price comes with a tradeoff. If another site sharing your resources begins to grow it can affect the level of resources available for you to use. This is known as overshadowing and can potentially hurt your user experience due to slow load times. Additionally, there is very little customization you can do since the resources aren’t solely yours.
Then on the other end, we have dedicated hosting. Dedicated means that the server is hosted exclusively for you and you can modify it as you see fit. If you want to change the OS or apps on your server you have that right, and you also don’t have to worry about other sites sapping your resources. The downside to this of course is it can be expensive.
VPS offers a middle ground between the two. The physical hardware you use is shared, but it is used to spin up multiple virtual servers that are completely isolated from one another. The result being you get a server that is customizable and entirely yours, but you also get a lower price point since others are helping crowdsource the root physical hardware. VPS can give you the best of both worlds, but how can we make VPS even better?
Scale Up, Scale Down:
Whether it’s servers or any other product you’re shopping for, it never makes sense to pay for something you’re not using. For this reason, knowing when to scale up or scale down your server can drastically improve your savings. You want to keep service at a level that will ensure smooth experiences for all users, but beyond that, anything you host is a wasted expense. Likewise, if you cut your costs too much and users begin to migrate away due to poor response times you could end up losing potential revenue. Either way, know your demand.
For example, if the site you’re looking to host has a large number of sales during a holiday season, you know the rush is coming and should prep accordingly. Make sure that your plan is scalable so that you can adjust the number of resources available to match expected upticks in traffic. Likewise, if there are dead periods in your schedule you should be freeing up your resources (and thereby your wallet).
Managed vs Unmanaged:
Having things taken care of for you can be nice, but oftentimes it means paying a larger bill as well. If you know your stuff and want to drop your price point a bit, taking things into your own hands might pay off. Unmanaged plans require you to be more knowledgeable on things like networking and server maintenance, but with the right education, they can all be done on your own.
With an unmanaged plan comes a higher level of responsibility for things, so if you’re not comfortable with it this may be a route you want to avoid. This will be different from person to person, but all the same, something to consider.
Proactive vs Reactive Planning:
Things break. They just do. The less the better, but it is much more beneficial to plan ahead and have disaster recovery preparation done. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself scrambling when something does go wrong, and that can be a much bigger headache and cost than if you had a plan ready in the first place. Make sure that your hosting provider offers things such as Anti-DDoS monitoring and protections.
Distributed Denial of Service attacks are malicious cyber-attacks where a black hat hacker overloads your server with thousands of false requests that limit your ability to respond to real user requests. If these attacks are successful, they can either slow down real experiences or cut them off entirely. Without users using your site…well, the damage here somewhat speaks for itself. That’s why monitoring for and protecting against these kinds of dangers is a must when it comes to server planning.
All of these items are useful to consider when trying to get a cheap VPS without sacrificing quality, but you still need to buy a quality product. Simply choosing the cheapest option sometimes does not pay off, so be sure that you are getting a good deal from a company that you know can actually deliver on what is promised. If you don’t see a 99.9% uptime guarantee, then that’s one red flag. Another is protection from DDoS and other malicious attacks. There are some things you simply can’t afford to not pay for. Think of them as insurance to help ensure things don’t go terribly wrong and cost you even more money.
ABC (Always Be Cleaning):
Take fresh evaluations of your site’s performance and efficiency. Are there apps on your server that are no longer being used? What areas are you lacking in? Having a sound understanding of what things you are paying for and what can be swept out of the house is crucial to sound financial planning. This goes somewhat hand in hand with scalability, but it’s more a general rule of thumb to be educated on what you are paying for. That’s truly the best way to get your full dollar’s value.
See What Works for You:
You need to plan, but sometimes things can be learned just by diving in. It can be more affordable to go for a long-term plan instead of a month to month, but if you need to feel out what your plan needs to look like there is no harm in doing so. Just make sure you are staying on top of things and you don’t let your budget run out of control. As long as you consider all of the above factors and shop around, you should be set up to maximize your VPS experience without sacrificing quality.