Virtual private hosting (VPS) is increasingly turning out to be the default choice for people hosting their websites for the first time. Not long ago, shared hosting was the default option owing to its low cost. However, that cost advantage comes with strings attached as shared hosting offers a lower level of resources, security and other features when compared to virtual private server hosting.

A VPS is simply a virtual server in another powerful actual server. Purely from a technical point of view, it acts as both shared hosting and dedicated hosting. Or in other words, it combines the best of both worlds.

That said, choosing a good budget VPS is a tricky affair, especially if you are a first-timer. But the points explained below are a good primer on selecting the right VPS for your website. This also applies to existing users of shared hosting or VPS hosting who are looking to graduate to a better and cheaper VPS hosting service.

Windows or Linux

Your efforts at narrowing down to a good budget VPS should begin with choosing between a Windows server and Linux server. Since its open source, hosting on Linux servers turns out to be cheaper. They are also quite user-friendly and offer numerous applications. However, Windows servers support every kind of application out there; including the ones not supported by Linux. In other words, choose an environment as per the applications you’ll run on the server.

Amount of RAM

The amount of RAM (Random Access Memory) you need for running the server and the operating system is among the most important factors when buying budget VPS hosting. If your website is new and this is your first experience at paid hosting, ensure you buy a minimum of 512 MB of RAM for a swift and trouble-free browsing experience. Ideally though, 1 GB of RAM and 20 GB of disk storage offer a better balance of current and future needs. The benefits of higher RAM will be apparent as your website prospers.

Managed vs. Unmanaged

These are the two types of VPS plans. If you are really tight on budget, an unmanaged VPS is ideal as it costs lower than a managed VPS. However, taking care of the unmanaged server is entirely up to you and if you do not have the requisite skills to do so, hiring a professional is the only option. A managed VPS plan, although costlier, works better for normal users as it manages your server for you. This is a trade-off that you’ll need to consider. If you possess the necessary server management skills or know of professionals who’ll do the same at a low cost, then by all means go for an unmanaged VPS. If not, a managed VPS is a better choice, higher cost notwithstanding.

Bandwidth & Date Transfer Limits

Most VPS providers impose limits on the data transfer allowed for an individual VPS account. There are also certain others offering cheap VPS plans with no limits on the data transfer. However, they tend to throttle the bandwidth instead by limiting the port’s speed. You should confirm exactly how much bandwidth and data transfer is allowed for your plan and choose a VPS accordingly.

100% Uptime – Is it Possible?

Several VPS services market themselves as offering an uptime of 99.9%. Realistically speaking, this is neither feasible nor possible. So how do you assess the uptime levels of VPS providers when their own stats cannot be trusted? The simple answer is to look around for customer complaints and testimonials about the downtime and latency of a VPS service. Choose a VPS provider offering the lowest downtime and a high number of positive reviews from customers.

Faultless Customer Support

A good business stands on the shoulders of good customer service. Likewise, a good VPS provider should be able to solve your problems with urgency. Ideally, the support should function 24 hours a day as problems with hosting can arise at any moment.

Price

The above criteria should help you narrow down to five or six budget VPS hosting services. Compare different packages from these services and choose one that offers a good mix of features and affordable pricing. As an aside, go for a provider that offers a money-back guarantee.

Judging every VPS hosting service on these parameters will help you select the right one. While your budget is important, even more vital is for your website to have low downtimes, quick loading speeds and an overall seamless experience.

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Virtual private hosting (VPS) is increasingly turning out to be the default choice for people hosting their websites for the first time. Not long ago, shared hosting was the default option owing to its low cost. However, that cost advantage comes with strings attached as shared hosting offers a...