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VPS vs. Dedicated Servers: When Should You Make the Switch?

Harry Stewart
Harry Stewart
31
November 29, 2018

Your VPS has been serving you well for a while, but now you’re wondering if it’s time to upgrade.

You could be running low on resources, struggling to cope with excessive traffic, or simply wanting more control over your rig.

Either way, that can only mean one thing: business is booming.

Congratulations!

But is it really necessary to upgrade to the final phase: that coveted yet considerably more expensive dedicated server package?

Let’s find out.

The Pros and Cons of a VPS

As the middle ground between a shared and dedicated server, a VPS is something of a stepping stone in the web hosting world.

VPS vs. Dedicated Servers: When Should You Make the Switch?

Advantages of a VPS

  • Partition provides a barrier between other users on the host server
  • High level of control over the operating system and software
  • Ability to customize, optimize, and add functionality
  • Much cheaper than a dedicated server

Disadvantages of a VPS

  • Most plans are unmanaged; thus a degree of technical skill is required
  • Cannot comply with the strictest security protocols
  • Must share resources with other websites on the host server
  • Usually unable to easily and quickly add extra resources

The Pros and Cons of a Dedicated Server

The dedicated server is the biggest and baddest web hosting service on the market. But it comes with a hefty price tag to match.

Advantages of a Dedicated Server

  • It’s all yours — no need to share precious resources with anyone else
  • Offers massive amounts of storage, bandwidth, and processing power
  • Complete control over software and operating system
  • Optimal webpage load times and uptime
  • Able to handle heavy spikes in traffic
  • Highest possible security features and customizations
  • Ability to add extra resources without downtime or instability

Disadvantages of a Dedicated Server

  • Three or four times the price of an average VPS
  • Requires a large degree of technical know-how (although premium managed plans do exist, and you can also hire staff to manage the server)

VPS vs. Dedicated Servers: When Should You Make the Switch?

When to Change from a VPS to a Dedicated Server

Upgrading to a dedicated server is a big decision.

After all, on top of the hassle of actually making the switch, you could potentially be forking out a few hundred dollars more per month for the privilege.

With that in mind, you want to be sure you’re making the right choice. You need to figure out if it’s really necessary.

First, check if your web host has any better VPS plans. A simple VPS upgrade might work out much cheaper than migrating to a dedicated server.

If not, evaluate the cost of a dedicated server versus your requirements.

Will the added benefits of a dedicated server earn your business more than the additional monthly expense?

To do so, consider the following four most common reasons for upgrading to a dedicated server from a VPS.

1. Performance Issues

Given they’re sharing with others on a server host – albeit with a partition – a VPS has limited performance, especially during peak periods.

If you’ve already maxed out your VPS plan and you’re still not getting the performance you need, it’s probably time to change to a dedicated server. This holds especially true for fast-growing e-commerce stores or media-heavy websites that require plenty of power.

But remember, many performance problems are temporary. First ask your web host if they can fix the issue, perhaps by switching you to another VPS. You may also want to consider cloud hosting, particularly if your website is prone to getting huge spikes in traffic every once in a while — but then is relatively underutilized the rest of the time.

2. Bandwidth and Space

So many potential punters are checking out your website that you keep hitting your bandwidth and storage limit.

That’s a win.

However, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to upgrade.

Videos, for example, hog a huge amount of bandwidth and space. Instead of hosting them directly on your website, try uploading them to YouTube or a cloud platform like Amazon AWS and then embedding them instead.

If you’re still running low after you’ve fully optimized your storage and space, then it’s time to move on to a dedicated server.

3. More Control

A VPS is relatively customizable, especially compared to a cheaper shared server.

Nonetheless, nothing is as flexible as a dedicated server. Through it, the systems administrator can install whatever software they like and even choose their preferred operating system. They can reboot when necessary and add extra hardware such as RAM, processing power, or storage on a whim.

If your business requires such flexibility, then a dedicated server is the only option for you.

4. Better Security

Nothing comes close to a dedicated server in terms of security. And for highly sensitive operations such as government agencies or data breach prone private organizations, security is a key consideration.

Dedicated servers allow the administrator to install and configure sophisticated security software to keep the bad guys at bay. Only then can they legally comply with the most stringent security protocols.

However, if your VPS is suffering from security issues, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to update to a dedicated server. The solution could be as simple as switching to a competing web host with better security features.

What to Know Before Switching from a VPS to a Dedicated Server

If you’ve decided to go ahead with the upgrade, keep the following in mind to simplify the process.

  1. Don’t wait until you’ve completely outgrown your VPS. Try to anticipate your growth in advance and lock in that upgrade ahead of time.
  2. Upgrade with the same web host if possible. If your current provider has a suitable plan for your business needs, then stick with them. The migration should work out a lot easier.
  3. Order a new dedicated server plan, but don’t cancel your current VPS yet. You want to make sure the transition has been a success before canceling your old account.
  4. Back everything up. In the unlikely event that you lose data in the migration, you’ll easily be able to get it back.
  5. Ensure your new dedicated server is not on a blacklist. Blacklisted IP addresses can cause huge problems down the path which are difficult to overcome.
  6. Don’t make any updates to your website during the migration. Any changes will likely fail to transfer across.
  7. Install your web applications before uploading your databases.
  8. Add your email IDs to the new server before switching the DNS.
  9. Test everything thoroughly, particularly the photos, links, and optimization.
  10. Once you’re sure everything is in working order, go ahead and update your DNS which should take 24-48 hours.

Sound complicated? That’s because it is. Thankfully, you’ll be able to bring in some technical support. Ask your web host about how they manage the process.

Switching to a Dedicated Server

A dedicated server provides numerous advantages over a VPS, although at a substantial extra price. Use the information above to help evaluate your costs versus requirements.

Is it time to change?

If so, then congratulations. You’ve made it through to the final web hosting stage.

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