Growing Blog? Consider Moving to VPS Hosting

Many readers/client/friends have contacted me because their blogs are growing and their shared hosting plan isn’t cutting it anymore.  What does all this mean?  Lets take a step back for a moment.

What is Shared Hosting?

Shared hosting, like highly recommended Bluehost, put multiple sites on a single server (ie. computer) with the intent of sharing the system resources.  As a result of “sharing” the resources, hosting services are able to keep their costs low, thus it’s a low cost way to host your website. 

Shared hosting is great for a site just starting out, or even a site that’s growing aggressively, but there will come a point where a growing site simply uses too many resources on the server.  As sites share resources, hosts typically remove sites that are “hogging”.  That’s right, it’s common practice for shared hosts to simply lock out or shut down a site if it’s drawing too much traffic.  It’s at this point that the site will have no choice but to upgrade their service to a more robust hosting solution.

More Powerful Hosting – Go VPS!

This contrasts to Dedicated Hosting, which means the site gets the server/computer all to itself and can handle a boatload of traffic.  Not only that, the owner now has complete control over the machine and can even start hosting other sites if so desired.  The trade off of course is the cost, dedicated hosting can cost anywhere from $300-$800/month.

In addition to cost, the owner is expected to keep all software up to date and the initial setup is quite a steep learning curve. Fortunately, there is a happy medium between shared and dedicated hosting, and it’s called Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting.  Instead of a single site on a dedicated machine VPS typically allows between 2-6 sites per machine which means significant dedicated resources per site.  VPS still requires a good bit of setup initially, similar to dedicated, but the monthly cost is significantly reduced.  A typical VPS hosting service will cost around $50/month.

When to Switch

How do you know when it’s time to switch?  If you are getting emails from your host that your site(s) are using too many resources (CPU, RAM etc) then it may be time to move.  The first step is to check to make sure that your site isn’t running any new scripts that may be causing the increased load.  But if your site is getting over 10k pageviews per day, then it is likely that you’ll need to move soon as the host will simply lock down the site if the resource hogging continues.

Recommended VPS Hosts

What VPS host do we recommend?  The VPS that we’ve had the most success with to date is SERVINT.  Our sites on SERVINT can handle an immense amount of traffic along with any traffic bursts that are thrown at us (stumble, digg etc).  In addition, they provide top notch 24 hour email support with super fast responses (sometimes within minutes). We have played around with other VPS hosts, like Media Temple, but haven’t been pleased as of late.

How to Transfer a Blog from Shared to VPS

For those of you who are not technical, moving a site is not a trivial task.  At a high level, the steps are:

  1. Purchase a VPS hosting plan.  As mentioned, we recommend SERVINT.
  2. Setup VPS and install WordPress on the new host, install plugins, theme, images etc.  This setup will need to be completed in a temporary URL, and database will need to be modified to reflect that.
  3. Download database from old site, upload to new site.
  4. Login to domain registrar and point to domain to VPS DNS.
  5. Voila done! 

As we have done this setup before, we can offer this service,  just email us for a quote.

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