You have a successful website (or blog).
You installed WordPress, and found a cool theme.
You figured out plugins and widgets.
Best of all, you figured out how to bring traffic.
Take a bow and pat yourself on the back. I raise my drink to you, Rock Star of the Internet! But excess can bring a hangover…
Your site is so successful that your traffic is slowing other sites on your shared server. Your hosting company has suggested you switch to a Virtual Private Server (VPS).
You might think, “I got this far. I’ll save a few bucks and manage the VPS myself.” If you are truly a tech ninja this is fine, but there are hidden dangers with managing a VPS yourself.
PC users might appreciate an analogy.
Warning for Mac Users
Skip the bullet points ahead (you won’t believe them anyway).
Just put your dominant hand in a blender. It will be faster and will hurt less.
- Imagine that you have a program that requires MS Access and a special framework to handle the network interface.
- Your program won’t work with the plain vanilla version of those, it needs some add-on modules installed.
- You have to manually install and configure the software and add-on modules.
- In Iambic Pentameter. From a DOS prompt.
- It’s all keyboard. No mouse. No drag-and-drop.
- Undaunted, you search Google, but the only documentation you can find is at least 2 years old.
- Oh, there’s no Undo button, either.
- What about security? Or will you just leave the door to your house open with your wallet on the dining room table?
THAT is a Debian Linux VPS. I love the idea of open source software, and Linux is an incredibly powerful and adaptable system. But it’s also extremely complex and requires a lot of care and feeding, especially in the harsh environment of the Internet.
I’m new to the world of VPS, but I have a few questions I would ask before diving into it.
- Is your site or business bringing in enough revenue to support the higher server costs?
- Will they provide support (managed service), or do you do the heavy lifting yourself (unmanaged service)?
- Is it included with your monthly subscription, or is it by the hour?
- What flavor(s) of Linux do they provide?
- Can you find documentation for it?
- Do they have experience with the requirements of your platform or CMS (Joomla!, Drupal, WordPress)?
- Do you have the knowledge to maintain a secure environment?
- Is it really worth your time (and sanity) to try administering your own server? (A: No.)
Share your experiences and other questions in the comments. I would love to learn what your experience has been.