To understand the pitfalls of such savings, to begin with, we will determine what a virtual server is generally rented for. Most often it is used for solving such tasks as:
- Hosting web-resources that require specialized applications for their work.
- Flexible configuration of a web server for specific settings of redirection, enhanced security and other “tuning”, which is not available on regular hosting.
- Hosting high-traffic websites to ensure consistently high performance at any time of the day, regardless of user activity.
- Solving personal and business information security issues (setting up VPN, firewall, organization of private networks).
In terms of access and control, VPS is practically indistinguishable from a full-fledged dedicated server, therefore it allows to solve all the above tasks. However, there are a number of limitations imposed by the virtualization mechanism, and it is in this place that the pitfalls of cheap virtual servers are clearly manifested. Inexperienced users perceive VDS as a small dedicated server with modest but stable resources, without taking into account such a factor as overselling.
Virtualization Type and Shares
The most widespread are two types of virtualization: OpenVZ and KVM. Both provide for oversell (the ability to repeatedly resell resources in order to save). And only on a particular provider depends on how “honest” are these characteristics. Among webmasters, OpenVZ is often criticized because this virtualization mechanism allows you to repeatedly resell both CPU and RAM. Overselling is also possible in KVM, but here you can only resell the CPU, the amount of RAM is rigidly fixed. Thus, too attractive tariffs for VDS most often imply multiple oversell, with the result that the key advantage of virtual servers is lost – stability of characteristics.
In addition to overselling, the “weak link” of a VPS is disk storage. HDD performance today is already insufficient, so you should choose tariffs with SSDs, which provide sufficient access speed and IOPS (number of I / O operations per second). However, keep in mind that through the use of SSD, the provider eliminates the most serious bottleneck and is able to increase overselling on the CPU. As a result, the user receives at all the wrong amount of vCPU, which is indicated in the tariff chosen by him.
Limitations and problems of cheap VPS
Summarizing the above, we can conclude that cheap VPS always has less resources than stated in its characteristics. And during periods of increased load on neighboring virtual servers (within the physical server), the amount of resources is further reduced due to overselling. This is especially noticeable when using universal CMS, hung with a large number of extensions. For example, the situation is quite real when WordPress with a large number of modules can load a VPS processor by 100% when an administrator simply enters the admin panel of the site.
Of course, this should not be so. The provider actually misleads the client, promising him specific resources and delicately silently saying that they are not guaranteed. A beginner cannot know all the subtleties of overselling, so he is very surprised to find out how slow his VPS is. This reduces the user’s enthusiasm and overall trust in companies that provide virtual server rental services.
The greatest disappointment is comprehended by webmasters who were convinced that an inexpensive VPS would provide better performance than hosting with a similar price tag. The webmaster is surprised to find out that traditional hosting sometimes copes better with peak load, while on a virtual server the computing power is strictly limited. As the website grows, hosting resources are allocated more flexibly, and when the limits are exceeded, the provider simply offers to switch to a more expensive rate. And in the case of a cheap virtual server, you have to independently monitor the speed of your project.
Because of all the problems listed above, the user has a biased attitude towards the VDS service. And he doesn’t even realize that all the problems are due to the fact that he chose a cheap rate. The low speed of the site leads to a decrease in attendance, profits do not grow, and the webmaster does not have the motivation to rent a more expensive VPS, since he is confident that there will be no difference in performance. At the same time, he condescendingly thinks about his colleagues, who rent “exactly the same” VPS several times more expensive, and does not realize that, unlike him, they get a server with exactly those characteristics specified in the tariff.
Of course, there are certain tasks for which cheap virtual servers are suitable. For example, developers need them to test their applications in different operating systems at minimal cost. But webmasters usually rent VPS in order to ensure their sites a high rate of operation. But an ordinary webmaster is not obliged to understand the intricacies of the server, so he trusts the declared characteristics, not suspecting what harm he does to his own project.
The main mistake of all newbies is the confidence that cheap VPS will provide the site with higher speed than hosting with a similar price. In most cases it will be the opposite. Therefore, the best and most carefree option for webmasters is to stay on regular hosting until it copes with the actual load of the site. And when the attendance grows so that the usual hosting will not be enough, you need to rent a normal VPS for an adequate price , not chasing the cheap.