This post was originally written on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 2:24 PM.
Ten pages into the search for “How to manage VPS Hosting” on Google and I still haven’t found what I was looking for. I was trying to find comprehensive information on managing Virtual Private Servers (on commercial VPS hosts) that are written especially for newbies but to no avail.
90-95% of the results showed companies that offer both managed and unmanaged VPS hosting but not much talk about how to manage unmanaged Virtual Private Servers (VPS). A few forums here and there were recommended (mostly WebhostingTalk) and websites like Quora where people asked about anything and others would answer them.
I wonder. Maybe this field of hosting is really that new.
Web hosting, you could find and search for anywhere on the Internet, particularly WordPress hosting. But Virtual Private Server hosting is a different story.
Shared hosting frustrations
It all started with my frustration when I availed of a GoDaddy product (Economy Linux Hosting) which was on sale at $1/ month and supposedly paid annually. Luck has it that I can only host one website on that plan.
I could create multiple websites but “1 website” means I can only use one top level domain (example1.com) and not be able to use another domain (example2.com) for the same hosting. What a bummer. I really thought I was going to like it, but I didn’t really delve further into the details before purchasing. The devil is in the details, as they say. Alas, the power of marketing… 😳
In my frustration, I went on in search of other web hosts that would fit my needs. I even tried reseller hosting. But one thing I noticed about these web hosts (shared hosting) was that, no matter what their claims of speed and uptime guarantees are, the websites still ran slower.
Later on, I found that shared hosting meant you would have to share resources on one server. Since you’re not necessarily informed by the web host as to how many other users exactly are on the same server, there’s no guarantee to speed (particularly in cases where other users might be using too much memory on the same server). I really thought about it and it made sense to me.
And then Virtual Private Servers
I was very enthusiastic about the concept of web hosting (and free web hosting) since 2006 but didn’t realize that I was only touching the surface. When I bought my first VPS from BuyVM.net at $3.50 per month, I was ecstatic and unstoppable. I would sleep 5am or 6am because I was so engrossed with setting up my server, using whatever Linux distributions I could think of. I’m not particularly well-versed with Linux systems. But I can manage running them through—yep—Google.
Anyhow, I would feel like a zombie in the day time and it would seem like I’m running on steroids at night. Before sleeping, I would think about what I’m gonna do next with my websites or which operating system was better or what information I was going to search to improve my hosting. These were the moments.
After BuyVM, I switched to Digital Ocean due to my discovery of Server Pilot, which was a very interesting concept. Server Pilot acted as a control panel for your server but it was not situated on the same server—sort of an “external” control panel.
Server Pilot needed a server that was on KVM (whatever that meant, I didn’t research). All I knew was that my BuyVM server was running on OpenVZ and so it was not supported.
So I purchased a Digital Ocean droplet (that’s what they call their virtual servers) and connected it to Server Pilot. It took me hours to do this. As I said, I’m no good with Linux and command shells. But I did have it up and running and, voila, every webmaster’s dream come true! The fastest in serving web pages yet so far in my history of setting up websites!
Now, truth be told, I haven’t set up websites with that much traffic yet, so I wouldn’t know how effective this setup would be for those instances. But, in my mind, if even the simplest website would be this fast at this rate, then it must run faster on a high traffic situation.
P.S. You can try DigitalOcean + ServerPilot for free through this referral link and you’ll be able to get $10 worth of credits.