Shared hosting is the definitive starter web hosting solution. It is cheap and lets you get online reasonably quickly. Often making use of powerful servers running control panels such as cPanel or Plesk, hosting providers offer a cost-effective method to getting online. However, shared hosting also has its downsides.
Your website is often competing with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of other users for the server’s resources, which can make your site slow to load, especially if other sites are poorly designed or heavily used. Also, when you look through the terms and conditions for your usage, you’ll often find that any usage of the service not directly linked to your website is prohibited and could get your hosting terminated.
VPS Hosting = More options
With a Virtual Private Server (VPS) on the other hand, hosting a website can be just the beginning of what you can do with your hosting. In general, there are no limitations placed upon what you can do with your VPS, something you should definitely take advantage of.
First, we’ll look at email. If you’ve set up a website then you’ll already have a domain name that you’ll likely want your email to go back to. Email hosting that allows you to use your own domain name generally costs money with you often having to pay by the mailbox used. With your VPS you can host your own email server on the VPS, making use of your domain with as many mailboxes as you require for no extra cost.
Next up is name servers. Your domain provider will typically provide name servers that you can use to configure your domain’s DNS records. Depending on the provider there can be limitations on the records you can set or extra charges to set custom records. Hosting your DNS on your VPS can put you in full control of your domain.
Another option is to take on the web hosting companies at their own game. If you have the knowledge and understanding to install a control panel (such as cPanel, Virtualmin or Plesk) then you can easily provide web hosting to other people. You can then provide hosting with your rules, whether to help out friends or as a small web host selling hosting to customers.
Secure backup location
Pretty much everyone has files and data that they don’t want to lose. It’s always recommended to keep backups of this data and best practice is to keep a copy in a different location to where the real data is held. With a VPS you can keep a remote backup of your most important data files to help protect against loss.
Private game servers
Online gaming with friends can be a great way to unwind at the end of the day. Private game servers can be costly to play on, but if you have a VPS with spare resources you can run your own game server on the VPS. You also aren’t tied to a specific game so can change what’s running as needed. So whether it’s Minecraft Mondays or Team Fortress Thursdays, you and your friends can play together without interruptions.
Alongside gaming, voice chat with your friends while you are playing can make things more fun. While some modern games come with voice chat built in, many still don’t. Running a voice chat server such as Teamspeak on your server gives you the ability to chat with your friends while you play with full control over the chat audio quality and chat room setup.
Once you get a VPS it opens the doors to a number of options that shared hosting can’t give you. We’ve just scratched the surface of what you can do here, and the possibilities can be very exciting.
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