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VPS VS. CPANEL Hosts – Which Options Is Better

2019-11-08 by Kosta Kondratenko

When it comes to hosting your site – the only real option that has been out there for web developers (outside of putting up a server in your house) – is to go to a cPanel host. When I say cPanel host – this is basically a host that does everything for you. A perfect example of this – and some brand names that many people recognise – is GoDaddy or CrazyDomains. These are two companies I don’t recommend to my clients by the way but my bet is you have heard of these companies.

Their central offer is to make getting online easy for businesses. After a brief call they can set you up on their shared hosting service.

Now the idea behind companies like GoDaddy and CrazyDomains is that they have a bunch of server houses around the world – you pay a certain amount to occupy a small virtual space on one of their servers – and you pay monthly for this access.

It’s quick, easy and if you choose the right host – will work without a hitch. However there is another option available – which is a Virtual Private Server. This is very similar to what you get from GoDaddy and the like – except the difference is you hire a bit of server space and you have a choice of exactly what you install on that server and how you choose to use it.

The VPS option may seem complex but let’s go through the pros/advantages of each option:

Multiple Database and File Read Copies

With a traditional cPanel installation – you have a file manager and a database in phpMyAdmin – you upload the files you need and create the database to your specification. You may have a staging site but really you don’t have control over where your files are.

Some cPanels have backups also – in case something goes wrong.

However a VPS can take this to the next level with read copies and it works like this – and I’ll take Wordpress as an example.

With AWS you can have one instance which is the gold standard and houses your site and database – now when you login to make changes you will go into this instance. However when users access your stie they are not seeing this instance – instead they are seeing a mirror copy – which is copied every let’s say 2-5 minutes.

Not only that but you can have a read copy of your site in various data centers around the world as required (yes – you get to pick which data centers you want the read copies in). Now – if your Wordpress site is hacked – only the read instance is hacked – the original is unaffected.

Alternatively if a data center goes down AWS (or your VPS host if it’s configured correctly) can automatically switch to another read copy.

All of these things are entirely within your control. While a smaller company may not care if a site goes down for 8 hours while their host has issues – for another company it could mean a lot of money in lost revenues.

Ease of Setup

Without a doubt a standard cPanel host install is the easiest option. You call the company you want to host with – they ask you what your domain is – and they set everything up for you. Using a cPanel is no child’s play either – but with a cPanel you have a 1-click install of Wordpress and you are good to go.

Nothing beats the simplicity of the cPanel install.

In contrast – with a VPS you’ll have to really get your hands dirty. For example – if you are setting up Wordpress on AWS (Amazon Web Services) – which is the most popular virtual private server solution on the market right now – you’d be looking at running your own bootstrap script – an example of the script you’d need to run is below:

#!/bin/bash

yum install httpd php php-mysql -y

cd /var/www/html

wget https://wordpress.org/wordpress-5.1.1.tar.gz

tar -xzf wordpress-5.1.1.tar.gz

cp -r wordpress/* /var/www/html/

rm -rf wordpress

rm -rf wordpress-5.1.1.tar.gz

chmod -R 755 wp-content

chown -R apache:apache wp-content

service httpd start

chkconfig httpd on

You don’t have to know what all this means – but suffice to say – including the fact that you will have to SSH into your server to edit files it’s definitely a bit of a steeper learning curve. However it doesn’t stop there.

Support Differences

Unlike with hosting companies like GoDaddy – there’s not really that much support on a VPS. Sure – AWS has a phone support plan which you can purchase should you wish. But really – you are creating and modifying your VPS as you wish – so the support is very limited in how they can help you – you’re not really enquiring into one of their service products.

Between me and you though – AWS is very supportive when you call them – and will walk and talk you through any issues you have. However officially your cloud host in many cases will not be there to walk you through things if something goes wrong. So just be aware of this.

This is one of the biggest setbacks to VPS – you really need to know what you’re doing – because in many cases the support you’ll receive for your VPS will be very limited.

Scaling Cost Effectiveness

This is really where a VPS shines – and in many cases businesses may not need this. If you’re just a local business handling real customers getting 100-500 visitors a day you may not have the need for a VPS. However if you are looking to deliver some kind of online service and expect it to potentially spike in traffic – then a VPS is right up your alley.

Now it is true that a cPanel host can accommodate and help you scale your business. However the difference is that they will usually charge an arm and a leg – and simply won’t give you the scalability options that you’re looking for.

Let me give you an example.

Let’s say you decide to run a marketing campaign that will look to launch 100,000 visitors to your site over the period of 3 days. With a traditional host you’ll need to upgrade to a bigger plan just for those 3 days – but with AWS or other virtual private servers you can actually elastically expand the capacity demand without any issues – and you only pay for the bandwidth! No other extra charges. This elasticity and ability to handle demand is very powerful.

Only Run What You Need

Unlike with traditional hosts – who will install a whole bunch of stuff on your server that you may not need – with a Virtual Private server you can install only what you need – to ensure that your system runs smoothly and efficiently.

Summary

So in summary – the option for what you are looking for will depend on your experience with VPS. My suggestion is to start with Amazon AWS – they have a free tier available where you can play around and try their services. There are online courses you can take from Udemy (and they have a money back guarantee if you’re not happy) – so go ahead and take one of those courses and install Wordpress on a VPS – and see how you like it!

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Author

Kosta Kondratenko

Kosta Kondratenko is a web developer working for his company Head Studios – https://www.headstudios.com.au. He is a Sydney wordpress developer and SEO guy. He has over 10 years of experience and loves to write blog posts about topics happening in his industry. He’s passionate about sharing his knowledge and helping others achieve their goals.

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