When you outgrow your shared web hosting account the next move up is usually a VPS (Virtual Private Server). Not every web host offers these virtual private servers as part of their product offerings and so you might have to go shopping for a new web host. While the technology is often the same due to web host depending on the same backend, the end result might be different in regards to how the web hosting product looks like.
What is a virtual private server in web hosting at all? A VPS is pretty much the process or method of partitioning a physical server computer into multiple “virtual” servers. You clearly have to separate the point of view between what the web hosting provider sees and what the customer or web hosting client sees. A VPS appears like a real server to the client. Each virtual private web server has the appearance as if it would be a physical dedicated server and it also has the capability of running on its own operating system – completely independent from what ever else is hosted on the same phsyical server. The VPS has its own dedicated amount of RAM (Memory), CPU (Processor) and of course hard disk.
When in the market for a virtual private web server the most important piece to look for is memory. Memory is usually the item that makes or breaks a website. If memory is available the website can “fly” more easily, but it does not matter how fast the processor is if memory is rare. A lot of data gets stored in memory to speed up things. As an example data from a MySQL database can be cached in memory to increase response times dramatically when the data is requested. This comes in handy for websites that forums or large ecommerce databases with thousands of products stored inside the web hosting database.
If you are using Virtuozzo VPS you can check the available memory through the Power Panel. Click on “Resources”, then click on “Extended”. Click on “Secondary UBC Parameters” and “Auxiliary UBC Parameters”. Now you can see the current use of memory (privvmpages / represents how much RAM your VPS has allocated). To identify how much RAM is currently in use you need to look at the oomguarpages value as it shows how much RAM is actually being used.
When buying a VPS web hosting solution you also need to know how much burstable RAM is available. Burstable RAM is the amount of memory that is available beyond the guaranteed of ram. As an example your VPS might have 160 MG guaranteed RAM, and the web host offers up to 1024 MB burstable RAM on top of it. What does this mean? This really means is that after you have used up your guaranteed RAM (here 160 MB), there is another 864 MB burstable RAM available for sudden demand of traffic. This is the so-called burst usage. However, the burstable RAM depends on the available memory on the web server – you can only use burstable RAM IF there is enough free memory available on the host server. If other users of the server (other VPS customers) use all their allotted memory at the same time, you might only get a fraction of the 1024 burstable RAM.
So, if you are looking for a new web host who offers web hosting VPS and you know your website(s) need more RAM, do not go cheap and hope for the best. You rather want to sign up for a package that already has a certain amount of RAM guaranteed.
If you look around, some web hosts still offer VPS packages that are so 2007 in my opinion. Personally I like the Host Gator VPS solutions as they use Virtuzzo and cPanel. A sample configuration looks like this: 1.13 Ghz CPU | 768 MB RAM | 30 GB Disk Space | 500 GB Bandwidth | 2 dedicated IP addresses