Five Ways to Use a VPS (for discussion)

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THERE ARE ENDLESS WAYS YOU COULD USE A VIRTUAL PRIVATE SERVER. HERE ARE 5 OF THEM.

HOSTING

What we see quite often are web developers or designers who also host their client’s websites. Some go the route of reseller programs, but a virtual private server gives them the flexibility to run programs and applications that may not otherwise be available to them with reseller plans.

cPanel/WHM makes this so easy, as each site can be assigned its own cPanel account and be managed independently from other accounts on that server.

With enough accounts, the cost of the VPS can be recouped very quickly, and in many cases, these types of clients prefer to pay annually, which helps with initial cash flow outlays.

More often than not, in these types of arrangements, the client’s are not given cPanel access, as the web developer maintains everything on their end. Customer service calls tend to be more amicable as the client typically trusts their developer’s judgement.

Management is usually billed in a la carte segments or in blocked periods of labor-time.

E-COMMERCE

While e-commerce sites can be run on shared or reseller plans, a virtual private server gives businesses and organizations some options they may not have on those plans. First and foremost, you’ll need to determine if you need managed or unmanaged services. If you’re not server literate, then management of the server would be best left to a professional.

You’ll also need to determine the amount of resources you’ll require. If you’re running cPanel/WHM, they recommend at minimum 2GB of RAM. Hard drive space will depend on how large your site is currently and how much you project it growing. For optimum performance, we do recommend SSD over HDD drives. You’ll be soundly amazed at the performance improvement. In today’s environment, HDD drives are more often used for back up.

Another concern should be bandwidth and the network supporting your server. Port speeds are typically 1Gbps, but I’m still seeing 100Mbps on various sites. Shop around and ask for files to speed test your future provider’s network.

A major consideration when running revenue producing e-commerce websites is uptime. While most providers offer an uptime guarantee, that usually only involves issuing credits in cases involving downtime. Always read your prospective provider’s Terms of Service. It’s always better to be proactive rather than reactive.

TESTING

It’s amazing how many virtual private servers are used for testing purposes, and are never put into production. Actually, it’s an extremely inexpensive tool on which to conduct research.

One way to use your VPS for testing would be to create a Chroot Environment. This would allow you to build, install and test software separate from your normal OS, or run 32-bit applications in a 64-bit environment. Why do that? Possibly to determine how applications would behave in a contaminated environment. There are countless possibilities.

GAME SERVER

For game servers, you should be looking at a VPS with great CPU speed and outstanding latency. Once you start adding an appreciable number of players, you should opt for a dedicated server, but a virtual private server works well for small groups. One advantage of a VPS is that it can be easily upgraded to more vCores, RAM and disk space. Another key component for successful gaming is DDoS protection, as it seems game servers attract more than their fair share of cybercriminals and attacks.

EMAIL SERVER

A lot of folks never pay a whole lot of attention to how email works, or how it gets from one computer to someone else on the other side of the country or world. The backside of email servers can get fairly complex, especially since there are so many safeguards in place to protect consumers from spammers and scammers.

You’ll have to understand the ins and outs of SMTP and IMAP and how to set up Postfix, Sendmail, Qmail or whatever you plan to use. Then there’s spam protection to deal with, so SpamAssassin would be good to know. Add in how to manage DNS entries, SPF and RBLs and you get the picture.

The plus side is that you’ll control your email, and while this won’t provide you total privacy, it will help.

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