What Is VPS Hosting?

For growing businesses who need more hosting features than basic shared hosting, but aren’t ready for dedicated hosting on a private server, VPS, or virtual private server hosting, can fill the bill. Flexible, scalable, and more secure than shared hosting, VPS offers users the experience of a private server with the economy of a shared physical space.

How Does VPS Hosting Services Work?

VPS hosting combines features of both shared and dedicated hosting, designed for those whose sites have outgrown the limitations of a shared hosting environment. This hybrid model uses a form of virtual technology called hypervisor to partition a single server into multiple independent spaces, or virtual machines, each with its own operating system and infrastructure. Although each VPS site on the server operates in isolation, it receives an allocation of the server’s shared resources, which are distributed among all the sites using that server.

A user’s virtual machine can be used to host a single company website, or to host multiple websites under a single account – a strategy that might be used by startup web hosting companies for hosting the sites of multiple customers. But, all sites hosted by an individual virtual machine must still draw a share from the available resources of the single hosting server.

In this way, virtual private server hosting allows users to configure and manage sites independently, as with a dedicated server, but at a much lower cost. In a VPS hosting environment, users can enjoy complete control over virtually all aspects of a site’s features and functions, with better performance and scalability than shared hosting. For many businesses, VPS hosting services may have all the features needed to accommodate growth, without the need for “upgrading” to dedicated hosting at all.

VPS Offers Control and Customization

In shared hosting environments, users typically have relatively limited control over the features and functions of the sites they own. A host’s individual hosting packages can establish which aspects of a site can be changed or reconfigured but, in general parameters, are set by the host, and users typically are not given the level of access needed to configure core aspects of a site’s appearance and functions.

As in all other hosting environments, the VPS hosting provider is responsible for the maintenance of the physical server, as well as for upgrading server software and managing its core resources of memory, bandwidth, and computing power. But, users can take control of all other aspects of configuring and managing their sites.

In VPS hosting, users have full access to the site’s operating system, including unrestricted root access and administrator permissions. That allows site owners with experience in web development and design to configure their sites from the ground up, with the ability to configure the site’s infrastructure and install any software or applications that are relevant to the company’s operations. That might include installing industry-specific security features, payment gateways or apps for protecting consumer information. For those without this level of technical expertise, though, VPS hosting providers typically offer support and assistance for setting up and maintaining sites on the virtual server.

VPS Improves Performance

Sites in a shared hosting environment can be affected by issues involving neighboring sites on the server. Surges in traffic, security breaches, and other events affecting other sites can cause a site to experience slow speeds or downtime – or even crash because of sudden demand placed on a shared server’s resources spread among hundreds or thousands of sites.

VPS hosting improves site performance because it reduces the risk of problems like this, although it doesn’t eliminate them entirely. Because each VPS site is isolated from others on the server, users face a lower risk of “contamination” from a compromised neighboring site. But VPS users still share a single server, even if it hosts fewer sites than a typical shared server would. That means that each account has an allocation of overall server resources, just as in a shared hosting environment. And, in the same way, when another site on the VPS server happens to draw more than its allotted share, that can affect the performance of other sites around it.

VPS Enhances Security

VPS hosting can be significantly more secure than shared hosting, thanks to the virtual partitioning that keeps sites separate. It also has the ability for users to install the kind of security features that are relevant to the site’s specific needs.

VPS hosting providers are responsible for installing and maintaining the essential security features of the server itself, which provides protection against a wide range of web-based cyber threats or prevents cybercriminals from attacking. But, because sites on those servers maintain their separateness, the risk of infections by malware and viruses from an adjacent site is greatly reduced. Users are also able to directly install any type of security and monitoring applications they need within the site itself so that security measures can be customized to suit individual needs.

VPS Can Be Scalable

For users looking for more room to grow, VPS offers a level of scalability that’s beyond the scope of most shared hosting and offers users a smaller slice of a server’s shared resources. With fewer accounts drawing from the resources of a VPS server, users typically have access to more bandwidth and memory. But, those resources are still finite, so a site that experiences rapid growth and a significant increase in traffic may still need to upgrade to another service tier or find another hosting solution, such as a VPS host with larger allocations or even a dedicated hosting provider.

An Economical Solution for Growing Businesses

VPS hosting plans offer an economical hosting alternative for small but growing businesses. With basic VPS plans that can rival the higher tiers of shared hosting packages, VPS offers many of the benefits of much higher priced dedicated hosting services. Within the VPS hosting environment, users can also choose from a variety of tiered plans with varying service options ranging from completely unmanaged to managed services that handle most aspects of a site’s setup and daily maintenance. Within the parameters of the shared physical server, VPS hosting can be upgraded as needed, at predictable monthly rates.

VPS hosting isn’t for everyone. But, this hybrid solution combines essential features of lower cost shared hosting with the privacy and control of higher-end dedicated server hosting to offer growing businesses a flexible hosting option for the present – and the future.

Setting Up an eCommerce Site With WordPress

There’s never been a better time to open an online business, and WordPress makes it easy, with an array of tools and themes to help website owners set up a complete eCommerce store for selling physical and digital products of all kinds. Whether you’re an experienced web developer or a complete newcomer to the world of online selling, you can turn your WordPress website into an online storefront in just a few steps, with options to suit every budget.

Why Use WordPress?

WordPress powers nearly a third of the world’s websites, ranging from personal blogs and small businesses to many of the Internet’s top 100 websites. This free and open source site-building platform consists of a set of core code that defines the basic framework of a website, which can be developed in virtually limitless ways to create unique sites of all kinds with thousands of WordPress themes, plugins, and plugin extensions.

The “mix and match” versatility of WordPress makes it possible for users of all skill levels to build a fully functioning online storefront on an existing WordPress site in almost no time, and to customize it for selling all kinds of goods. Because WordPress is the world’s most popular site builder and content management system, users can also choose from a multitude of premium and free WordPress themes and plugins, as well as compatible eCommerce platforms to optimize any WordPress site for showcasing goods, services, and memberships.

Online Storefront Essentials

The configuration of your WordPress eCommerce site depends of course on the nature of your business, your goals, and the kinds of products and services you plan to sell. In general, though, a full-service e-commerce website needs a set of core functions that make it easy for site owners to manage the store, and for visitors to find and buy what they’re looking for. To do that, your WordPress eCommerce solution should offer:

  • Easy to manage product pages, with options for promoting featured products and special opportunities.
  • Shopping cart and checkout pages that include essentials like currency converters and shipping calculators for physical goods or download links for digital products.
  • Secure payment portals that protect buyers’ payment information.
  • Full customization that reflects the business brand.
  • Contact features, such as contact forms, live chat, or a support number for handling customer issues and questions.
  • Mobile responsiveness to reach the growing number of users who shop for tablets and smartphones.

The best eCommerce setup for your WordPress site depends on your budget, technical skills, and the scope of your eCommerce venture, but whether you’re an absolute beginner with no web design skills who is preparing to launch a business or you’re a developer creating a storefront for an established retailer, WordPress hosting can turn your dreams into a reality.

WordPress eCommerce Themes

Themes are a core component of the WordPress system, and thousands of them are available in both free and premium versions from the WordPress theme directory, and from third-party developers all over the world. Themes define a site’s appearance and layout, and some themes are designed to support specific functions, including eCommerce.

eCommerce friendly free themes, like the mobile responsive Shop Isle and The Store, offer users different ways to showcase products, add landing pages and featured product images in galleries, and even run a blog. Premium versions of these and other themes include more features to round out the essentials of an online store, but users may still need to add some essential functions with plugins, such as shopping carts and payment portals. Some, such as the Storefront eCommerce theme, is directly compatible with WooCommerce, the most popular WordPress eCommerce plugin of them all.

eCommerce Plugins

Along with themes and the core code, eCommerce plugins for WordPress round out the list of essentials that make up a site. And like themes, there are countless plugins set to perform specific functions of all kinds on a basic WordPress site. eCommerce related plugins for WordPress range from full storefronts to dedicated plugins that allow you to set up individual features like shopping carts, payment portals, and more.

The most famous WordPress e-commerce plugin is WooCommerce, which powers over 40 percent of the web’s e-commerce community. WooCommerce can be installed on any compatible WordPress site and adds the full spectrum of research related features to a basic site and theme. The free version of WooCommerce offers all the essentials, and the premium version adds additional features, plus extended support.

WooCommerce may be the best known and most widely used WordPress e-commerce plugin, but it isn’t the only one. A large and growing number of other plugins such as WP eCommerce and EStore also add a fully functioning online store to WordPress sites of all kinds. Some, like Easy Digital Downloads, support a particular kind of product or service, while others are designed for building a membership or subscription site.

Integration With eCommerce Platforms

eCommerce themes and plugins work to turn a basic WordPress site into an online store, but it’s also possible to integrate a WordPress site with popular standalone eCommerce platforms, such as Shopify and Ecwid.

Sites like Shopify offer a full-service e-commerce solution that also includes managing all the associated store functions from a single dashboard. That makes these sites appealing to new users looking for a no-fuss way to run a store. But WordPress users can also add the platform’s plugin to an existing site, which adds e-store functionality. Although adding the functions of an e-commerce host to your own site can help to extend the reach of your brand, it can also add additional costs. Although Ecwid is free to set up, Shopify charges a monthly fee to host your shop.

Online shopping is the fastest growing retail sector worldwide, and many users of online retail outlets say they’d never shop any other way. Now, anyone with products to sell can set up an online store – and WordPress makes it easy, with eCommerce options to suit every budget and level of expertise.

To learn more about our web hosting packages, check out our extensive resources on Allinwebit.com.