What to Know When Moving to a VPS

If you have been using a shared hosting plan for a long time, you may be ready to upgrade to a Virtual Private Server (VPS). VPS hosting plans offer more control and resources. Before upgrading, you should be aware of the responsibilities you have managing a VPS. This way you can prepare for the basic systems administration required to best use a VPS!

In this article:

From Automation to Administration

Shared servers are configured with a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Everything that can be automated on a shared server is automated. A VPS will not do this by default. The upside to this is that you can configure your server to work best for your site. You can set up nonstandard software and configurations if you need to. This can be anything from non-standard versions of PHP to custom framework installation.

The downside to this is that you might forget something. A VPS will not make decisions for you. If you do not install a critical security update, no one else will. If one of your clients uploads pirated software, the rightful owners will ask you why you didn’t take it down. With all this new responsibility, it’s helpful to know what problems you need to watch out for.

Root and SSH

If you are going to have a VPS, you must get comfortable with using Root access. This can be intimidating– you may worry about breaking something! Take your time and always look for more information or check with our 24/7 Support Team if you have questions. Checking from root is the only way to get the full picture. No other account has accurate and complete information about the server. Plus, you can only change certain configuration settings using the root account.

Now that you are a system administrator, you’ll also want to give the command line a try. You’ll want to set up a Secure Shell (SSH) connection to your VPS– remember to add your IP address to the VPS firewall! The command line can be intimidating if you’ve never used it before. Don’t worry! There are many great tutorials available for free. Get started with something simple like this great introduction from Linux Survival.

Don’t Forget Backups and Snapshots

Backups are important. Site backups and cPanel backups should be in place, or at least available, for all your sites and clients. Don’t wait to set them up! Now that you’re on a VPS, you can even schedule cPanel backups regularly from within WHM.

Our VPS plans come with server snapshots. They are a copy of your entire server stored on an external drive. You should not rely on snapshots as a ‘regular’ backup. Think of them as an emergency use backup that restores the entire server to what it was like on the day of the snapshot. Be sure to enable your snapshots in AMP— otherwise they won’t be there when you need them.

Keep an Eye on Your Disk Space

Every VPS hosting plan has a set amount of disk space. There are a few things– like server backups– that are easily misunderstood. To avoid running into trouble with your disk usage, please review our guide on the topic.

Plan for Updates

If you have ever managed a website, you know how important it is to keep things updated. This applies to your server’s software as well! Everything from your operating system to cPanel will need to be updated. Keep yourself informed about when these updates come out. You can update this software yourself, or get help from our 24/7 Technical Support team!

Watch out for Your Clients!

Remember, you’re responsible for your clients and the accounts you’re hosting on your server. A great example of this is your IP address. If one of your clients is flagged as sending spam mail, they may end up getting your VPS IP blacklisted. Anti-spam sites will list the IP as a known spammer, causing all mail from that IP to bounce back. Then, you’ll need to both stop their inappropriate behavior and go through the time consuming process of ‘de-listing’ your IP. This can be quite a hassle!

It’s best to prevent the problem before it happens. Make sure your clients know that spamming will not be tolerated. Keep an eye on their activity and watch out for significant amounts of bouncebacks! Use strong authentication protocols. This keeps a small inconvenience from becoming a real issue.

There’s a lot to keep track of with a VPS, but most of it is straightforward. The key is learning to prevent problems before they happen. Once you know what to look out for, it won’t take much to keep your VPS running smoothly!

Remember, if you need help getting started and setting up security, we offer Launch Assist! If you need further help with advanced configurations, consider a consultation with Managed Hosting.

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