How To Buy VPS Hosting Without Losing Your Mind

You want to buy vps hosting but not sure how to compare plans from one company to another. You are not alone. To be successful takes just a few simple rules. If followed you will buy vps hosting that fits properly.

Comparing Plans - How to buy vps hosting

Can I Buy VPS Hosting Based On Comparing Resources?

There’s dozens of metrics to compare like RAM, DISK, CPU, GHz, I/O, Bandwidth, Transfer, Connections, Page Views and so on. Some companies have their own way to define the “size” of a customer.  If you’re evaluating, don’t only consider these numbers. Ask deeper questions. You might uncover ways to save time or money (like not overestimating). With only a few exceptions!

Today You’re On Shared Hosting

If you’re currently using shared hosting there’s probably a reason you’re wanting to move. Make sure that’s crystal clear. Why do I want or need VPS Hosting? This will help set the expectations for what you’re getting into.

Finding The Correct Match (price & your exp)

Read this fully before buying the cheapest VPS hosting. The usual instinct is to purchase the lowest cost plan when moving from shared. It’s probably sticker shock. You’re paying $5 per month, a VPS is more! If it’s super cheap like $5-25 there’s something you need to know. By default it might not run your website well at all.  By default means the lower cost servers CAN be customized to work. But that means YOU have to know or learn how. Not recommended for the novice.  To find the right match, using the smallest plan as your base contact the hosting company you’re interested in. Here’s a good one to start with:

If I move my website which is a (.NET, WordPress, Mura, other programming language or CMS) with moderate to low traffic will it run without having to streamline anything?

You want a clear “Yes” on this question. If not, then ask about the next VPS tier up. That’s a simple approach to finding the best fit. Use this regardless if you’re sizing Windows VPS, cPanel VPS, ColdFusion VPS or something else. Next ask:

Do you have an example customer where you’ve see this plan work well? Or is there something that works much better?

The goal is not to overbuy, or underbuy. Either one of those and you’re wasting time or resources.

DON’T BUY BASED ON NUMBER OF VISITORS

One of the worst ways to buy is based on visitors.

I have 1000 visitors per day. Which plan will fit my need?

That’s like saying, I have 100 animals to move per day. Which size truck do I need to move them? Without knowing what type of animals, without knowing their sizes; it would be impossible to answer the question with that limited amount of information. Similarly without knowing exactly what visitors do, and what impact that has on the load, you can’t determine which VPS fits!

The #1 Exception From Shared to VPS Hosting

If you’re being asked to vacate a shared hosting account because you’ve hit some limit (disk, connections or other) learn more. Find out exactly what limit. Or if you’re website is under attack constantly, get protection first (we suggest CloudFlare). A VPS alone won’t solve problems if it does NOT address the problem you’re having.

You Should Have These Answers

  1. Which plan minimally do I need for my type of website?
  2. Are there additional things I need to do to get the VPS ready?
  3. Am I really solving the problem with a VPS?
  4. How would I upgrade from this new VPS plan to the next size?

Already Using VPS Hosting?

If you’re already hosting with a VPS or multiple Virtual Servers that’s great. This gives you an idea about where to start. But it can get you in trouble in two ways also:

  1. You believe what you have now is necessary. For hardware and software experts this might be just fine. But sometimes you’re overbuying and it’s just wasting money AND increasing complexity. Both unnecessary.
  2. You may not plan for expansion. Getting the absolute minimum you need means there’s a good chance you’ll be have to upgrade. Or scrambling to optimize like crazy to insure your site is stable.

The same basic principles can be used for buying VPS from a new provider.

  • Build a list of services you MUST have (whittle down if possible)
  • Find the best match based on price and real requirements (be flexible)
  • Don’t buy based on number of visitors

Find out what the hosting provider can do to help you accomplish. Both in scalability for growth, and controlling cost. It’s not unreasonable to say there’s 50% or more variance on either side of average hosting costs. Staying at the low end could get you trouble, the high end might be wasting money.

Hostek – Solutions That Work

We try hard not to overprice our VPS hosting plans. We also add a ton of value by supporting 24/7 and providing patching for our VPS’s. These are things we do at no extra cost (for most plans). If we can help an organization accomplish their mission, that makes us very happy. 

If you’re planning a migration or need help determining how to proceed with a VPS – you can easily reach our team. Easily chat from the hostek homepage or schedule a consultation from any VPS hosting page.

We Reviewed Perch CMS And Love It

When designing a new site most need a CMS. We write a lot about WordPress because it’s the most popular. There are some other AWESOME CMS options out there. We’ve tried & supported many. Perch CMS being one of them, we really like.

Perch CMS - Content Management System

If you search the phrase “best CMS” you’ll receive over 2.4 million results. Stuff And Nonsense a well known agency uses Perch, we found that interesting.

Stuff And Nonsense doesn’t normally develop, but on occasion they’ll put their amazing designs on a CMS. Most of the times they choose Perch CMS the “really little CMS”. You can read why other people choose perch.

Perch CMS is built by & for developers

It’s delighting to see Perch CMS was built by developers for developers. In this case it means a laser focus to make Perch CMS small, fast and useful.

Rachel AndrewDrew McLellan are the developers behind Perch CMS. They operate the development shop edgeofmyseat.com.

It’s a paid CMS

This might drive some people away but wait. There are impressive benefits! Support and  a nice library of “addons” are a few. Community support is good sometimes. Perch however turbo charges a community style support system. The Perch team monitors and replies – other community members can share useful info too.

You don’t get that with any free CMS’s. Think of the time you’ll save!

And.. it’s pretty cheap approximately $80 USD.

Impressive Upgrade Path

One of the things that makes Perch CMS stand out. Beyond the simplicity is thought they put into scalability. If your small site grows and you need to scale you can upgrade to Perch Runway. This includes built in support for cloud storage, CDNs, Varnish, Dropbox and more.

The Runway edition costs a bit more. But with huge advantages NOT found in other CMS’s. And let me include, that coding additional features for your website to support these will cost you much more in time.

How Can I Start Using Perch?

We have Perch CMS flawlessly running on customers sites at Hostek. It works perfectly on our cPanel VPS hosting or shared cPanel hosting.

If you want to test Perch CMS for yourself, demo Perch here. Although that just gives you a preview of the CMS. It doesn’t even scratch the surface of how Perch CMS makes developing 10x easier.

Within a few minutes you can have a site with editable regions. And there’s flexibility within Perch CMS to change your editor. You can also use no editor at all for regions that don’t need formatting.

Perch CMS - Easy Content Management for Developers

A few MORE things that are awesome about perch CMS:

  • Built in forms plugin (it works so nice)
  • Easy to add Google analytics code and metadata
  • Editable regions can be a simple or full featured (WYSWYG)
  • Templatable navigation, pages and more..

See this short video on getting started with Perch by Rachel. Another resource for getting a feel for how complex problems can be solved with perch see their shortcodes. Or the Perch CMS documentation, which has great examples.

From what we’ve experienced Perch is impressive. It’s easy to start, supported (and updated). You can find quite a bit about using Perch from the site. But we plan on sharing more about using Perch in the future.

10 Ways To Make WordPress Faster

You can make WordPress faster and there are some good reasons to. We can’t overstate the importance of speedy websites – we recently shared on improving website speed, and well kept webpages.

Here’s some interesting stats about time impact of slow web pages:

Microsoft Found

“A two second delay in response time for Bing, reduced user satisfaction by 3.8%, resulted in 4.3% less revenue per user.”

A Report By LoadStorm Confirms

One second delay in your website load time means 7% less conversions, 11% fewer page views and 16% decrease in customer satisfaction.

& Google counts poor performance against you.

Anyone Can Make WordPress Faster

One of the more frustrating discoveries is there are mostly one size fits or outdated tips on the web for WordPress. Many of the current enhancements can be made by just about anyone with access to the WordPress admin. Word of caution, backup before doing any of them.

What Makes WordPress Slow?

The company that created WordPress – Automattic can’t just “make” WordPress faster. WordPress has become the multi-tool of choice, it’s built to apply to just about anyone. It works good out of the box for most folks. But it can be customized to run much faster.Multitool depicting WordPress - 10 Ways To Make WordPress Faster

What we do with our WordPress site & the hosting environment matters. If we took a multitool and left it in the rain to rust, it won’t work it’s best. But stored, oiled and sharpened it’s useful – so is WordPress.

Speaking of environment, this video by Automattic engineer Iliya Polihronov describes a large scale server setup. The same used by WordPress.com for hosting. This proves it’s takes more than the default WordPress install to make WordPress faster.

You could essentially set up the same exact environment using our Linux cPanel VPS servers with some customization.

Top 3 WordPress Performance KILLERS

  1. Executing PHP code.
  2. Database calls.
  3. Downloads.

Executing PHP code means the web-server (or place your wordpress site is hosted) has extra work to do every time a page loads. Some of the time it’s needless. For example – some huge gains can be seen replacing php with static HTML or using a caching plugin.

Database calls are like making a phone call. It requires picking up the phone, dialing, talking etc. The fewer outbound “calls” to the database means less time it takes to fully load a page.

Downloads means anything that a visitors browser needs to make the page complete. Like images, javascript, embedded elements, css and so on.

How To Make WordPress 100’s x Faster

There’s 10 ways you can immediately make WordPress faster, much faster! There are probably more, but we believe these are the best. We also added some “Advanced” (tips 11-14) suggestions for speed and workflow.

  1. Get Caching & CDN ASAP. The most painless way is sign-up for CloudFlare. Utilize their CDN and caching to offload the work of creating dynamic pages. There’s a few other options discussed under WP Super Cache further down.

  2. Optimize the database. This also includes deleting spam comments and remove trackbacks (also spam, read here), set a scheduled task to do this for you every so often. The WP Optimize Plugin can do this.

  3. Install WP Super Cache. Once you’ve activated it, and enabled there’s a few more things you can do. With WP Super Cache you can enable “CDN Support” companies like MaxCDN, CloudFlare and others can provide this. Also, within the “Advanced” tab check the “Recommended” options.

  4. Eliminate or Replace Slow Plugins. Use the P3-Profiler to analyze the drag for each plugin installed. Consider removing or replacing plugins which cause more harm than good.

  5. Optimize images. People still pre-optimize their images for lowest possible size within reasonable quality. If your like most folks however you don’t want to do this, so instead use EWWW Image Optimizer. Once enabled it will reduce the sizes of uploaded images. You can have it also optimize images already uploaded using the “Bulk Optimize” feature. For images that still don’t compress well, consider using this utility for Mac, ImageOptim.

  6. Compress & Browser Cache. To tell browsers they can “cache” things like files & images your site can declare when to let them “expire”. This is referred to as “expires header”. If you don’t declare browsers can cache things, they might redownload each time the visitor comes to your site. GZip compression is another way to speed things up. This tells the browser to that you’re sending compressed versions of files. The Far Future Expiry plugin helps manage both of these features (for Linux or Cpanel users with mod_expires enabled). See these posts with links to manual steps for browser caching for both Windows and Linux & modifying the .htaccess file for speed.

  7. Control & Remove Revisions. If you often write and edit, saving “drafts” after each edit you’re likely going to have a long list of “Revisions”. While negligible for most, it adds overhead. Limit the number of revisions and eliminate the junk with Revision Control.

  8. Stop Hotlinking. This is particularly helpful if you have content like images or videos on your site that others might want to “use” on their site but using your web-server to do the work. If you’re using CloudFlare, this is an option, see their explanation. If not, by editing the .htaccess manually, adding rules to redirect traffic elsewhere.

  9. Minify Scripts. Luckily this can be done with a plugin we’ve tested. Otherwise if you’re probably going to need to get someone (a developer) to help get this done. Better WordPress Minify makes this easy. The default settings should be enough. Even though we use CloudFlare, we didn’t check the “Enable CDN Support” feature. It works fine without.

  10. Keep WordPress Updated. This is easy, and now it’s automated. Updates can be auto-applied. It’s good practice to also make sure Theme updates and Plugin Updates are applied also, manually. Always backup first.

  11. [Advanced] Use Memcached with Batcache. This advanced feature involves setting up a secondary server and installing Memcached. Memcached serves cached content in memory – not static file based content. Preferred for a multi server setup so cached content is consistent. Batcache is a WordPress Plugin created by Automattic that helps WordPress and Memcached work together.

  12. [Advanced] Restructure Theme. Replace php code with html where possible, this can reduce the overhead on generating pages. If you’re caching this isn’t critical, but good practice. Also consider moving any scripts to the footer manually to reduce render blocking scripts from slowing page load times.

  13. [Advanced] Use GIT. If you’re managing a WordPress site, and make manual updates frequently, use GIT. Develop a workflow that includes a local development environment, and push changes to your production servers. If something breaks, you can easily discover where and roll back. You can also have multiple people contributing. Get started easily with Github.

  14. [Advanced] Monitor for Errors. Airbrake seems to have a super intuitive interface for tracking application errors. We’ve discovered others using this with their WordPress install. You can also check the server’s logs manually for free :)

What else?

We hope this get’s you excited about the possibilities increasing the speed of your WordPress site. Making wise choices about plugins, themes and where you host your WordPress, either on VPS or shared can have an impact.

We’re always exploring ways to make Hostek cPanel VPS and Windows VPS the best choices for WordPress Hosting. If you have questions about these tips, or want hands on help with Hosting questions, talk to support, or consult free with a VPS expert.

We’re glad to help!

References:

Use Mura CMS? Attend MuraCon!

MuraCon 2016 - Mura CMS ColdFusion CMS ConferenceThe Mura CMS Conference

This year BlueRiver will host their annual MURACON in Sacramento. The official dates are February 18-19th 2016 (<- You can register right here). Incase you didn’t know Mura CMS is a Content Management System built with ColdFusion (CFML – the language).

Mura CMS is used by organizations all over the globe like Scientific American, NATO and CSX to mention a few.

Where is this hosted?

Sacramento California, at The Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel.

Did you know Sacramento is among the US cities with the highest number of independent coffee shops per capita. That’s enough reason to attend for most developers!

What’s the schedule like?

Two days, two stages and almost a dozen talks on Mura CMS.

Click to jump to the schedule..

And… they just announced the some of the speakers today, pretty cool folks like Grant Shepert (@grantshepert), the Matt Levine (@mattlevine), and Greg Moser (@bitsofgreg) of SlatWall.

What’s the big deal?

The schedule includes blazing hot topics using the Mura JSON Api with Node.js and Mura & Docker Integration. But also practical talks on theme design, development and workflow.

MURACON is all the hype for Mura CMS lovers. We hope you attend.

P.S. At these events you’ll speak one on one with the Mura team. This is an invaluable opportunity to turbo charge your Mura development, learning right from the authors.