If you’ve been on the hunt for a web hosting company, you’ve probably heard the term “virtual private server.” A VPS is similar to a dedicated server in look and feel as a web host customer, but essentially they are a different service.
Canadian web hosts offer fast broadband speeds, good technical support, and friendly service. Canada’s infrastructure and Internet backbone are among the world’s top 10 services. You won’t find better service in North America, but what type of service should you get?
Why Move On from Shared Hosting?
If you currently use shared hosting, these plans are great for simple blogs or websites that don’t get much traffic, but there are some disadvantages with shared hosting. First, you share the same servers with hundreds (sometimes thousands) of other customers and their sites. Shared hosting is inherently slower, because you have hundreds of other sites using the server’s resources. If one site gets hacked, your site could be vulnerable if the site left a security hole on the server as a whole. Basically, you are at the mercy of several other site owners, and you have no options.
Next, you can’t customize your server’s settings. Maybe you have a custom API, maybe you have specific site settings, or maybe you just want to set up multiple sites on one account. All of these aren’t possible with shared hosting. VPS gives you these options.
If you find that your site is suffering from slowness issues or you need some more flexibility, Canadian web hosting offers VPS service that’s fast and affordable. Of course, suffering from slow server performance isn’t the only issue. Shared hosting also limits the technology you use to connect to your server, storage space is usually much smaller than VPS, and you must use the host’s interface to manage your site instead of the server’s Apache or IIS interface.
What is the Difference between VPS and Dedicated Servers?
Although it feels like the same interface, VPS and dedicated servers are distinctly different platforms. First, a virtual private server is exactly what it says – a virtual server. You have a sandboxed environment from other site owners, but you still share a physical machine. The virtual environment looks and acts like a dedicated server, but in reality the server runs virtual machines with your selected operating system. A virtual machine can be used on any machine, and it gives you the opportunity to run several operating system environments. Software such as VMware runs on the server and lets you run Linux, Windows, and Mac OS on one single machine. The same setup is used with a VPS hosting service.
With dedicated servers, you lease the entire machine. You don’t need to worry about sharing any resources with other web hosting customers. With VPS, you do share the available resources on the server even if the environment is sandboxed from the others. With dedicated servers, you can even ask the host to make changes to hardware and configure server hardware with your own settings.
As you can probably guess, dedicated servers are much more costly than a VPS environment. In most cases, a VPS is a reasonable upgrade from shared hosting. The cost, expanded services, better speed, and better support are all a valuable upgrade from what you get with shared hosting.
You might be looking at a hosting service in the US or Canada. Canadian web hosting has several benefits over the US. First, Canadian privacy laws are far more citizen or customer friendly. Your privacy is always a top concern where US laws allow for random snooping and account information leaks. The US has the Patriot Act, which allows law enforcement to gain access to your information without any kind of notice to the account holder (you).
With Canadian hosting, you also get the latest technology options and some of the best bandwidth available. Canadian web hosting offers between 100megabit-1gigabit/second bandwidth speeds, which is rated as one of the top speeds for Internet bandwidth in the world. Canadian Internet infrastructure also offers up to 4 Mbps broadband adoption, which is implemented in some parts of the country.
What Kind of Security Do I Get?
Security is one of the most important aspects of web hosting. Your web host is the first line of defense against hackers. Does your web host have the right firewall in place? If you use managed VPS hosting, does the web host help defend with regular operating system updates? The Windows operating system has consistent security patches. Does the host keep these patches up-to-date? All of these questions and more should be a part of your web host search.
One way to mitigate security holes is to use a web hosting company that doesn’t have as much attacks. The US is second in the world for attacks. This means that most hackers target and attack US hosts rather than Canadian hosts. If you host in Canada, you can avoid much of the attack traffic that’s seen in US hosting companies.
Also, the US is number one in hosting malware. According to Security Lab Research, Canadian sites are 10th on the malware list. This means that your site not only has a better chance of getting attacked on a US server, but it also has a better chance at hosting malware. Malware is devastating for companies, their search engine rank, and any customers that lose their data to hackers due to your server configurations. Your customer’s data is one of the most important parts of security, and hosting your content on a Canadian server is much safer than working with a US server.
Should You Work with Managed or Unmanaged Hosting?
Managed and unmanaged hosting has two differences. The first is that you control the server and backups with managed hosting. You log in, create your sites, configure your sites, install your software and then perform backups when you need them. All of the control is in your hands when you manage the server. You can do anything you want with unmanaged web hosting. This can be a blessing and a curse. If you don’t want anyone else changing your server configurations or updating software, then unmanaged hosting is right for you. With managed hosting, the web host will stay up-to-date with security updates and software configurations. You especially want this option if you have custom software running on your VPS and can’t have anyone making changes to the settings. It’s also a good option when you have a firm grasp of the technical changes you need to manage your site.
The next difference is the backups you need are under your control. If you need specific backups with certain systems, you have control over the backups. Of course, it might be more beneficial to have the host take backups. Backups are an important part of your website tasks that protect your site in case of an error or issue with the server. If you think your configurations might bring down the server, it might be time to hire managed web hosting services to leave the host in charge of your backups. The host still has backups of your VPS, which means he can restore the VPS server if it completely crashes.
Is It Time for a CA Domain?
If you plan to host a Canadian domain with the .ca TLD, a VPS with Canadian hosting is your best benefit. A .ca domain with fast Canadian web hosting caters to your users and customers who use the Canadian version of search engines. There are already millions of .ca domains registered. Search engines use a country level TLD to geo-target websites specific to the country’s customers. The .ca domain is quickly becoming one of the most popular country level TLDs. Nearly 9 out of 10 Canadian Internet users think the .ca domain is important for sales. More than half of Canadians prefer and opt for a .ca domain over others because they feel more secure with a local domain rather than the international .com version. In addition, 70% of Canadians feel that they need to support local Canadian companies and prefer the .ca TLD.
The .ca domain is much more search engine friendly if you want to target Canadian customers. SEO is an important part of online marketing, because it helps your site get seen among the trillions of other pages available online. Not only will you target Canada with a .ca domain, but having a Canadian web hosting company speeds up your website and improves the performance between your business and a Canadian customer.
There are thousands of web hosting companies to choose from in Canada and the US. Before you decide on a US hosting company, consider the several advantages you have with a Canadian VPS Hosting company. Friendlier service, fast connection speeds, better support, and geo-targeted speeds that target Canadian versions of search engines including Google, Bing and Yahoo. Research the company and ensure you get the right VPS hosting company when you decide to set up your website on a virtual server.