Tag Archives: vps

How to efficiently choose your WordPress VPS plan?

If you have just started to blog, you don’t need too much calculations. You only need to figure out the minimum requirements to run a basic WordPress blog. Here it is, for a basic WordPress installation to run normally, the minimum memory requirement is 256MB. However, it is advised to go for 512MB or higher to cover other components that are using memory.

Once your blog starts to grow then you may consider upgrading to the next higher VPS plan. But what if you are moving your already running blog from WordPress.com or from a shared hosting account to a VPS? How will you choose the suitable VPS plan to avoid any traffic bottleneck or slowness of your blog?

I have talked about the best time to move your WordPress to a VPS in a previous article. And now I am going to help you choose the right VPS plan for your WordPress blog.

Understanding the components your blog needs to runs

To understand exactly what affects your blog performance, you need to know the key components your blog needs to run. The webserver, the database engine, disk space and bandwidth.

Your WordPress blog consists of a number of files and a database, the files includes images and other scripts required to run your blog. The database contains all the text, configurations and the structure of your blog. Every time you open any page in your blog, the webserver receives the information of the requested page from your browser, locates the required page with related resources like images and small scripts.

Before the page loads, it runs queries or requests on the database to get the page data including the text you are reading right now, as well as menu contents and the side bar widgets that displays latest articles and other stuff.

Disk space is where your WordPress blog files and databases exist, and bandwidth is the amount of traffic from and to your blog that you can use. Every time a visitor opens a webpage on your blog, data transmits from the server to his browser, this is traffic. Neither disk space nor bandwidth has an impact on memory and processing power. The webserver and database server consumes memory and processing power and that’s what most of bloggers can’t measure correctly.

Estimating disk space and bandwidth requirements

Back to disk space. In order to know your blog requirements of space, you can easily check your current disk space usage and consider adding extra 500MB for the operating system and other programs and tools. Unlike shared hosting, running systems and applications consumes the disk space of your VPS as well.

For bandwidth, if you are going for unlimited or unmetered bandwidth plan for your VPS then skip this part. But if are not, don’t worry. Just go to webpagetest.org enter the URL of the page you think has the most contents in terms of images, videos or words count. In the results page, check the size of the page and consider it in the below equation:

Average required bandwidth per month = 30 days x Number of Monthly Page Views x Average Page Size

And that’s all!

What about memory and processing power required?

The tough part is estimating memory and processor consumption. Normally when you choose a VPS plan you find a comparison table showing the allocated memory and number of CPU cores. Sometimes the processor power per core is clearly shown on the table. If not, then you need to ask your provider or check the FAQs area on their website to make sure you are getting enough processing power.

Most providers nowadays rely on the latest technology, so you don’t have to worry. But, it is advisable to go for 2GHz per core or higher for your blog to run smoothly, considering your provider is not overselling the server. The primary consumers for your VPS processing power and memory are the webserver and the database engine. To run WordPress you need Apache webserver, MySQL database and PHP to be installed on the server.

It is almost impossible to estimate memory usage if you are using WordPress plugins and widgets that might be resource intensive and poorly coded, but it can be calculated case by case.

Optimizing WordPress for efficient VPS usage

It is important to know that choosing your VPS plan according to the default WordPress installation will just be a waste of money. Why get a big VPS plan while you can get a much smaller plan for the same WordPress installation?

To easily optimize your WordPress and efficiently use your VPS, you will need to use caching plugins like W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache. Those plugins will help skipping the processing of PHP pages each time the page loads and use saved html versions of those page. This will greatly decrease the load by minimizing PHP complication and MySQL database queries.

So, assuming you are using caching plugins you will need to calculate only the usage of served html pages and images on your webserver. This will help you choose a cost efficient VPS plan instead of wasting money a larger plans that you don’t actually need.

The efficient method to choose your VPS plan

I have got the coming piece of information from an already running VPS with WordPress and a caching plugin installed. An average httpd process consumes almost 6MB of memory.

Accordingly, let’s go back to webpagetest.org then enter your average page URL to get the number of requests used to fully load this webpage. Once you get the required info you can use the equation below:

Estimated memory required = Number of requests per page load x 6MB

The resulting number shows the maximum memory required at any time to fully load your page considering all requests/processes stay running in parallel. You may think that this is not very accurate, however you can never estimate the exact memory required in Kilobytes. Many factors may interfere and if you have many plugins installed which are high resource consumers or poorly coded you will never estimate your memory requirement correctly.

Now you know how to choose your VPS plan. You will need to check your current disk space, use the bandwidth equation above, and make sure you have 2GHz of processing power per core then use the memory equation I used earlier and add around 256MB for other running tools. And, you are good to go!

If you find this helpful, or need help choosing your VPS plan with specific requirements, please post your comment below.

When to move your WordPress to a VPS?

It is a matter of time till you realize a simple but important fact, your blog needs to be hosted. Your blog hosting is not optional, if you are using WordPress.com or not, it is hosted. So, hosting is the first thing you need, in order to run your blog.

You may think that creating an account on WordPress.com and start blogging in a few minutes, is everything you need to run a great blog. Believe me this is not enough.

From my perspective, wordpress.com is for entry-level bloggers “no offense”. If the people in Automattic the creator of WordPress believed that wordpress.com is enough they wouldn’t create the self-hosted version on WordPress.org. With a self-hosted version you can download WordPress and host it anywhere you want with full control on every aspect of your blog.

Simply, you can’t use your WordPress.com blog for any commercial activities like Google AdSense or paid posts, you can’t upload plugins or themes and your account will be suspended anytime if you violate their terms of service.

I will focus here on WordPress as the most popular blogging software, and will help you decide which alternative to go for, when it comes to hosting your WordPress blog.

Shared Hosting for your WordPress blog

Most WordPress sites are hosted on shared hosting platforms. Shared hosting is nothing beyond what its name declares, you are sharing the hosting with many others.

Every online application or website is hosted on a computer, we call it a server. The server is a computer with high recourses in terms of memory, disk space and processing power. It can be divided into partitions and rented to customers. This applies to shared hosting and VPS which we will discuss below.

Because you are sharing all server resources with many others, you can’t control your hosting account in a way which affects other accounts. Accordingly, you have almost no control on important areas of your account like running certain scripts or adjusting server settings. You will need to ask your hosting provider to make the required task for you if applicable.

Your hosting provider is also responsible for the fair share of resources, which means if your neighbor used too much resources of the server and slowed down other sites including yours, the provider will be responsible for limiting that neighbor’s resources or suspending his account.

If you use too much resources, your account might be the one suspended. But, if you are the low usage account, you might be still pressured by other high consuming neighbors. You almost pay the same cost for the same memory and processing power as other sites on the same server, why should your neighbors use more resources than you and slow down your site?

Did you run a background check on every hosting neighbor in your shared hosting server? Don’t get angry, I know you didn’t. So, if your neighbors are running illegal sites, doing email spam or publishing adult content, the IP that your site is sharing with them will get blocked by Google. So, your blog will not show on the search engine, which is a disaster. And will get blocked by countries that don’t allow adult contents. Do you provide adult contents? No, your neighbors do and you pay the cost!

VPS is the direct upgrade path for your WordPress

VPS or “virtual private server” has the same concept of a dedicated server. You have full control on your virtual server with full root or administrator access to your account and no one is competing to use the memory and processing power guaranteed to you.

The most important thing that comes into your mind when you hear the word VPS “Oh my god, I am not a tech expert”. Actually, this thought became a history. With the rise of VPS providers who add full management service for your VPS as a free compliment with every package, you need not to worry about any technical skills. Fully managed VPS is exactly the same as shared hosting in terms of easy usage and flexibility. And at the same time you get much more benefits than a shared hosting account.

You don’t have to worry about bigger neighbors, no one will affect your blog. Your WordPress blog can be auto-installed when you order your VPS or you can install or add more blogs later using your easy to use control panel, which is also included in your VPS package.

What about the shared IP issue we mentioned earlier? Your VPS normally comes with its own dedicated IP. No one can cause a block on your IP other than you. Don’t host adult contents, don’t SPAM and don’t run any illegal website and you are safe.

WordPress.org has published an important document on WordPress optimization, they clearly say that shared hosting is more limited in terms of performance optimization for your WordPress self-hosted blog. With virtual server “VPS” you can have more control on components like Web Server, PHP and MySQL database engine that you can adjust to greatly boost the performance of your blog. Of course, if you are on a fully managed VPS you can ask your hosting provider to optimize it for you and don’t get your hands dirty.

Should you start with shared hosting or VPS?

If you are currently on WordPress.com or just starting out, you need to ask yourself one question. What do I need from my blog?

You may say I need to create a great blog with lots of visitors and readers, I need to make a lot of money from Google AdSense or I need a simple blog to share my thoughts but also make money from Google AdSense … etc. The solution to any of those answers is: Go with a Fully Managed VPS plan.

If you start on shared hosting and grow quickly it will be “a must” to move to VPS. Actually, it will be a hassle! However, some hosts can move your blog for you for free.

VPS pricing became almost similar to shared hosting plans offered by reliable providers. So, it is better to start with a VPS for your WordPress. Fully managed VPS is as easy as shared hosting, where you don’t face the disadvantages of unmanaged VPS plans and at the same time you gain all the benefits of a VPS that we listed above.

Then, the answer to the question “When to move your WordPress to a VPS?” is, Right Now!

Are you currently on a shared hosting account or VPS? Are you still starting on WordPress.com? Let’s discuss the problems you face or believe you may face in the comments area below.