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What web hosting plan is right for you?

There are a few types of web hosting. The basic one is known as shared hosting, VPS, cloud hosting and server also known as bare metal. Basically, two things affect your choice, the budget and what do use it for.

In my opinion, understand the different types of web hosting is important. This will help you with a realistic budget to a web hosting. What is a realistic budget?

I call it a realistic budget because the prices can differ a lot between plan A and plan B. For example, shared hosting is 200 a year bu a bare metal server is 200 a month. There is a huge difference in price. Here’s the question, do you need a dedicated server? Or do you just need a simple web hosting for you to publish a simple website and create a few mailboxes?

We do not anticipate a startup buying a server unless you are running a campaign and you are expecting huge traffic like an auction website or similar. These websites have greater returns and revenue generated from the website, hence the cost is justifiable.

Some choose to run their campaign with a smaller scale server like the VPS or the cloud hosting. VPS behaves like a server but with little resources. Because VPS and cloud hosting are scalable, it is good for those have an uncertain amount of traffic at the start.

I suggest base on your requirement to set your budget. It is not possible to buy a server at a shared hosting price. Don’t laugh, we have spoken to customers with such perception. Basically, they have a faint idea on web hosting. So, it is important to research and know the differences between different types of web hosting.

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Cloud server vs VPS

Both the Cloud server and a VPS are fundamentally the same. They are virtualized, but in terms of function, they cloud be different. Operating both the cloud server of the VPS are the same, you do need special skill on a cloud server or a VPS.

The major difference is the storage. When you are labelling your service as cloud means the guest machine will move to another host when the resided host has failed. VPS works directly with the local storage.

If the resources are spread to a few hosts like MySQL, Web Server, Tomcat, etc are known as cloud hosting. They could be confusing especially to a beginner. So Cloud server is better? In a certain way, yes if your instance has failed. The guest machine (Cloud server) will move to another host.

There are more points of failure for a cloud server set up. The setup requires more equipment, costs are higher and there are more interconnects. So it is quite a debatable question which is better. Most importantly, you have a backup and you can restore quickly.

However, I reckon a VPS might perform better at the same CPU class due to the shared storage. Even it is a fibre connection, it will definitely cost more. In the industry, many providers jump into the bandwagon using the word ‘cloud’ on their services to get more people to sign up.

As a consumer, we need to ask more pre-sales question if you are buying a ‘Cloud’ service, it could be misleading. Anyway, you can know more about the service what you are paying.

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Do you prefer a dedicated server or a high performance VPS?

This has been always in my head, should I deploy a dedicated server or a high-performance VPS? The tricky part is ‘high performance’, how high is high? Higher than? We ask this question ourselves. Yet today, I had have found the answer.

In my dictionary, high performance means better than its class and the enhancement should be speed, not quantity. If you ask me on what to choose between a dedicated server and a high-performance VPS, I will go for a VPS if my application runs well.

There are a few reasons why I go for a VPS. Basically, you can scale whenever you want. Today, I can choose a lower plan but I will scale up when my user’s base grows. The cost is definitely lower while you might see little utilisation on a server.

However, this is only a reason. The major reasons are the recovery time and possibility. It is possible to restore a VPS using a snapshot and the restoration is much quicker. If the snapshot is portable, high chance you can restore it at any host using the same type of virtualization. They are flexible and feasible.

I cannot deny that in some situations, a dedicated server is the only choice. But if the situation has allowed, I will choose to stick with a VPS. Given the advantages, probably you save more per Gb in hard Disk storage. However, if space is not an issue I do not mind paying more for restoration speed.

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If VPS are cheap why some are using shared hosting?

Actually, this question has bothered me, why people are using shared hosting while VPS are dirt cheap. Probably, you can get a VPS for just $5 a month and multiply by 12 months which is equal to $60. What $60? It is cheaper than a shared hosting plan.

virtualizationBut wait, we miss out a few things. There are a few reasons why they are still using and looking for shared hosting. If you look at a different angle or in their socks, VPS may not a good choice.

I have spoken to some, they have no idea what is a VPS, end of the day it is about price. In the past, VPS has a higher price than shared hosting, however, because of its popularity and server are cheaper nowadays, VPS’s price has fallen tremendously.

Price is probably the main factor. Secondly is the web panel like cPanel or Plesk, they are optional in a VPS. Unlike the shared hosting, basically, you do not have to think about it. Shared hosting is a web hosting ready to go. So it is simple, good for layman or people have little IT background.

Again, consumers must give themselves with choices and not limited to shared hosting. Hosting providers like us must be able to educate the consumers on the differences between VPS and shared hosting. Consumers will understand the pros and cons, and which types of web hosting are bettter.

Here are a few advantages of buying a VPS compares to shared hosting;

  • If you host more than one website, a VPS might save you more money.
  • Dedicated IP address comes default in a VPS. You never worry if your neighbour’s IP address is blacklisted in RBL.
  • You can update the kernel at your own schedule if it is a true VM.
  • Web service, mail service and others do not share with others. You have total control over these services.
  • You can root shell to your VPS.
  • You can modify the configuration of a VPS for the behaviour you wanted.
  • You can resell spare resources & more

However, there are cons like paying more for a control panel and it is likely you need to manage your web hosting if you faced any difficulty on a VPS. Only you have more time or you have the knowledge, it is worth considering buying a VPS for your website.

 

 

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Do you need a web control panel?

RELAXThis question is more for the VPS and the dedicated server users. A web control panel is likely an option when you order one of these web hostings.

The popular control panels are Plesk Onyx and cPanel with WHM. cPanel can hosts unlimited domains while Plesk Onyx comes in 3 variants support up to 10, 30 and unlimited domains. And if you are a reseller or managing a lot of users for a different domain, you should order Web Pro edition and above.

This has happened to be an option when you are ordering a VPS or dedicated server. You might be saving up to $20 every month if you are not installing a licensed control panel. There are free one but they have limited functions.

In my opinion, you can do most things without a control panel. But how soon? How fast? Who is or are using? Alright, we need to find out who are the users. If your users are business users and you are reselling, you need a control panel. If you are the administrator, you can do without in these conditions;

  • Do you have the knowledge to do it? Like to create a website, mailbox or an SSL certificate.
  • Do you have the resources? Like installing a mail server or an FTP server.
  • Do you have the time? If you need to repeatedly do the same task frequently,

 

To save the money without a control panel might require you t spend more time managing websites. Unless you are confident to do it quickly and the steps are correct, otherwise a control panel makes your life easier and you can get things done quickly.

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Why do you need a VPS?

Many bought VPS, thinking it is a server. But until……. Yes, someone is telling you are still sharing a server. Huh?  am I? Yes, in the web hosting market a server may cost you a few hundreds a month, a VPS may cost you as little as $10, it will make no sense if some hoster is selling a server at $10. It is never possible.

So, what is a VPS? VPS shares a server and the server is partitioned into a few VPS. Sharing resources like CPU, Memory and even operating system. Alright, it is sharing, isn’t the same as shared hosting?

Not exactly, even they are sharing a server but overheads on VPS is still higher. VPS has its own operating system, control panel and a dedicated IP. Don’t get me wrong, shared hosting user gets or an option for dedicated IP but control panel is shared for sure.

So VPS is better? It may not the case if the hoster uses an operating system like ClloudLinux they can limit the usage of resources of one user sometimes not advertised. As such, User can decide to choose a VPS with greater resources for better performance. But if the hoster is not doing this, and the server is not overpopulated, shared hosting can be a better performance than a VPS.  A shared user can consume what is available since there is no limitation.

Thus CloudLinux is a popular choice to hosting providers sell Shared Hosting because it will throttle your usage as soon as you hit the limit.

Another reason is dedicated IP is available out of the box for VPS, there is no additional cost. So, you are sharing the same IP address with others especially good for outgoing email because of RBL.

Resell web hosting space is also the reason of buy VPS, instead of a few shared hosting accounts, you can administrate your own customers, their control panel accounts, FTP accounts etc.

Most VPS has the greater room of expansion. You can upgrade the resources like RAM, CPU or disk place and some even let you choose between SSD or the conventional hard drive.

I personally like VPS for its flexibility. I move an instance often, thus portability is important. Currently, our VPS offers this and it is easy to back things up or roll back especially they are your Sandbox.   Basically, I use them for my own reason. How about you?

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Virtualize or not virtualize

VPSEver since there is virtualization especially these few years, your IT team might have been bothered by this question. To virtualize a server or….? The answer is depending. Depends on? Clearly, there are more advantages to virtualize; example license of the software is cheaper, you can install more than one instances on the same server, a virtual switch, it is portable etc.

However, there are a few things to consider that virtualization might not work for you. If you need to split the instances for different departments and it has total privacy. Virtualization does not give you true isolation, there is risk your virtualized server is accessible through the underlying virtualization OS.

Disk IO is started to divide with the number of guest machines you have deployed. The greater the number of guest machines, the slower the disk IO. If you are still using hard disk storage, this is a crucial factor for the SQL database to some.

Failure risk – if your server has failed due to hardware, you might have more than one servers are failed if you virtualized. Especially to those do not have spare resources or a virtualized cluster. Not for dedicated servers, if one failed, the rest will continue to work.

If your guest machines are not paravirtualized, there is a performance overhead, For example, a true hardware ethernet will perform 2 ~4% better than a virtualized network card.

Some software makers have realized they are missing the virtualization segment and have made changes from processor count to core count license but the end of the day virtualization will save you money if you environment permit you to do do.

 

 

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A Snapshot vs a Backup

backupMany have not understood what is a snapshot? What are the differences? Which is better? Today, we are here to explain to you the differences, the pros and cons of the backups and the snapshots.

Snapshot is only available to a VM. Whether they are called VPS or something else. If the instance is virtualized, a snapshot is possible. Backup is installing an agent into the guest OS or the dedicated server, transfer the partition or files into a backup storage device.

Snapshot takes an image of the instance of its current state and dumped into a compressed file format like LZO. It is only possible to restore the entire VM. to restore files, you will have to extract files after you have restored the VM to another instance which is very time-consuming.

However, you can restore files from a backup. Even a bootable partition for some backup solutions. To restore a partition, you must have a temp portable partition on the memory to restore the restored bootable partition backup. This is a very slow process especially the restoration involved a huge partition.

Files restoration is the fastest and if you need to roll back the entire server, a snapshot restoration is much faster than restoring a bootable partition. However, if your backup retention is longer, you will need lesser space on your backup devices.

Most snapshot use NFS. It is cheaper to build an NFS storage than a proprietary backup solution. Nowadays, VM snapshot uses LVM-Thin to conserve disk space, it helps reduce disk space usage significantly. There is a drawback using LVM-Thin, the server must have a faster write and read space especially restoration, otherwise, it will affect the speed on other guest machines on the same server.

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VPS ran out of space, are you informed?

Many users are tied up in their day-to-day routines. It is difficult for them to find time to check disk usage on their VPS on a daily basis, until one day they come to realize server has stopped working, website is down and emails are not sending.

Putting the customer at the heart of our business at Vastspace is our objective. To help customers to save time and ensuring good up-time of their VPS, our monitoring system collects daily disk usage statistic from each VPS. Engineers will identify the VPS have consumed 90% of the total disk storage and inform the customers in a timely manner.

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VPS with Ploop

To understand the benefits of having PLOOP On OpenVZ container (Linux VPS), we need to knows what are the limitations of the traditional file system on VPS.

  • Since containers are living on one same file system, they all share common properties of that file system (it’s type, block size, and other options). That means we can not configure the above properties on a per-container basis.
  • One such property that deserves a special item in this list is file system journal. While journal is a good thing to have, because it helps to maintain file system integrity and improve reboot times (by eliminating fsck in many cases), it is also a bottleneck for containers. If one container will fill up in-memory journal (with lots of small operations leading to file metadata updates, e.g. file truncates), all the other containers I/O will block waiting for the journal to be written to disk. In some extreme cases we saw up to 15 seconds of such blockage.
  • Since many containers share the same file system with limited space, in order to limit containers disk space we had to develop per-directory disk quotas (i.e. vzquota).
  • Since many containers share the same file system, and the number of inodes on a file system is limited [for most file systems], vzquota should also be able to limit inodes on a per container (per directory) basis.
  • In order for in-container (aka second-level) disk quota (i.e. standard per-user and per-group UNIX dist quota) to work, we had to provide a dummy file system called simfs. Its sole purpose is to have a superblock which is needed for disk quota to work.
  • When doing a live migration without some sort of shared storage (like NAS or SAN), we sync the files to a destination system using rsync, which does the exact copy of all files, except that their i-node numbers on disk will change. If there are some apps that rely on files’ i-node numbers being constant (which is normally the case), those apps are not surviving the migration
  • Finally, a container backup or snapshot is harder to do because there is a lot of small files that need to be copied.

 

In order to address the above problems OpenVVZ decided to implement a container-in-a-file technology, not different from what various VM products are using, but working as effectively as all the other container bits and pieces in OpenVZ.

The main idea of ploop is to have an image file, use it as a block device, and create and use a file system on that device. Some readers will recognize that this is exactly what Linux loop device does! Right, the only thing is loop device is very inefficient (say, using it leads to double caching of data in memory) and its functionality is very limited.

Benefits

  • File system journal is not bottleneck any more
  • Large-size image files I/O instead of lots of small-size files I/O on management operations
  • Disk space quota can be implemented based on virtual device sizes; no need for per-directory quotas
  • Number of inodes doesn’t have to be limited because this is not a shared resource anymore (each CT has its own file system)
  • Live backup is easy and consistent
  • Live migration is reliable and efficient
  • Different containers may use file systems of different types and properties

In addition:

  • Efficient container creation
  • [Potential] support for QCOW2 and other image formats
  • Support for different storage types

 

This article is extracted and found at : https://openvz.org/Ploop/Why

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