How To Choose A Specification For Your VPS: Part 1
One of the biggest challenges when getting started with a VPS, or any server for that matter, is ensuring that you’ve chosen a suitable specification of server for your requirements. This is even more difficult the very first time you get one as you have no previous references to help you. Here we are going to cover some techniques and hints to help you estimate what you’ll require in order that your site or service runs at suitable performance levels for your needs.
The first step is to explain what we mean by specification. Pretty much all computers consist of three main elements that you’ll alter to meet your needs: storage, memory and CPU. By storage we are referring to the place where your data is stored when it’s not in use. On a traditional computer this is its hard drive or solid-state drive. When we talk about memory, we mean the Random Access Memory (RAM) that the computer will use to store data that is in use. Finally, by CPU we are referencing the performance of the Central Processing Unit on the computer that does all of the work for you.
At this point it’s worth noting that one of the big advantages a VPS provides over a dedicated server in this situation is the flexibility to easily adjust the resources assigned to your server whenever you need. With a dedicated server, if you need more resources than your current one has then – depending on your server – it can be as awkward as raising a support ticket and having to endure downtime to have more RAM, or another hard disk or CPU installing. Also, if you’ve reached the limits of the support on the motherboard there may be the need to build a whole new more powerful server to replace the original.
Going back to a lower specification machine if you no longer need those extra resources is a repeat of this process. However, with a VPS you can alter the resources in your control panel, and the worst case scenario is simply a reboot. This means that the resources assigned to the server can be adjusted whenever you want, as long as you have available resources on your account.
With that sorted, let’s start with looking at one of the easiest to cover resources: storage. This is where your data is ultimately going to be stored, so it’s important that your storage is large enough to store all of your data. If you are migrating from another service, such as a shared hosting environment, then you can easily determine how much space you’ll need for your site or service by looking at the storage space you currently use. If not, then you’ll need to look at your software specifications. Note that you must take into account the amount of space required for the operating system. If you want to know exactly how much it will use then you can create a base VPS with the OS installed on it to see how much it will be using before you start.
Something else to consider with storage is expansion. If you are regularly adding content to your site, or if users are adding content to your site, then that is going to need more storage than the original setup will need. You’ll need to take estimates on how much content you expect to be uploaded to the site, as well as the rate at which it will be uploaded in order to calculate the amount of additional space required.
In the next part we’ll be looking at memory and CPU usage, and how you can work out what you need there.