Shared hosting isn’t enough anymore…
I own and maintain some domains for myself and clients. Most of them are low traffic sites, tho one of them is busier than all the others combined.
Shared hosting lasted a number of years but it just doesn’t work anymore, even with signifigantly less activity over all my hosted domains. Shared hosting providers must be trying to cram even more customers per server than they’ve ever done as a number of them came out with their own versions of keeping track of server resources (RAM & CPU) a customer uses and setting the usable amount very low. For instance in 2012 my busiest site received the best traffic it ever received in 6 years and I never heard a complaint about it from my host. I didn’t change a thing with how the website was cached and setup, so to my surprise in 2014, it barely received 10% of the traffic it used to get and they shut it down for using too many resources. I then found out that they came out with a “server usage” statistic, which was impossible to stick to – and that’s with heavy caching and using CloudFlare’s free CDN. The act of logging in to the WordPress admin and editing a post was a sure guarantee to exceed my daily share of “server resources”. I knew I needed a new host.
After a ton of research on other shared hosts, I narrowed down my list of possible prospects to a very short list, heavily based on recent positive reviews, and tried one of them for my busiest site. It too struggled to stay within the hosts allowed “server usage”. With that and the knowledge of all the reviews I went over, I knew I was done with shared hosting.
Saving $$ for hosting is of utmost concern, so I was quickly priced out from many of the cloud / grid / elastic hosts. WordPress specific hosts were also not a good option as they usually charge per domain and amount of traffic per domain. Also, although I love WordPress, I’d be stuck with WordPress. I seem to have run out of affordable, easy options.
Enter the unmanaged VPS. I had wanted to avoid this option because of the notion that I’m not a sysadmin. With some very good guides & tutorials and the experience of setting up a few private home servers, I decided to give this idea a chance.
Am happy to say that I’ve found a hosting solution that I’m extremely happy with. It’s amazing what can be done with full access to the server — there’s so many tweaks and things to tune to get more and more performance out of it. I’ve setup a 1GB of RAM VPS to a point that I know I can multiply the amount of websites I host and multiply the amount of traffic they each get and I’ll be fine. I’ll be able to live with a 1GB VPS for a very long time and if I outgrow it it’ll be fun setting up another VPS or scaling up to get more resources.
In my next blog post I’ll share what I did to setup my VPS and the resources that helped me along the way.