Is VPS worth the extra $'s and limited resources?
November 15, 2011 11:36 AM   Subscribe

Comparing VPS vs. Shared Server performance. Are there some ways to compare server performance on a couple of hosting accounts I have. I'm interested in seeing how much better the VPS account performs and then deciding if that's worth the extra monthly charge. Or the inverse: is the shared server account adequate.

Ultimately I'd be running a combination of static HTML website and OpenCart shopping on the shared account, or static HTML website on the shared and ShopSite cart software on the VPS account. Also looking to see if dropping the shared account altogether is something to consider.

posted by humboldt32 to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Yes it is something to consider. The kinds of things you are running for your site are not likely to be affected by better server performance. Both options are bound by external dependencies for your e-commerce functionality: Paypal or whatever is behind the OpenCart solution, or ShopSite in the other. OC will probably be the higher performance option in general, but it's a more fiddly approach since you'll have to integrate it yourself where I imagine ShopSite is a "upload pix and descriptions, then put buttons on your site" type operation.

For what it's worth, internet-store performance is never a problem for me as a customer, and the biggest frustration with everyday e-commerce sites is that they are organized so poorly using one-size-fits-all software. I've seen far too many Yahoo Stores type sites with categories containing 200 pages of items displayed in an unconfigurable 10 per page. That's when I go to Amazon.
posted by rhizome at 12:28 PM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Thanks for your feedback on the load estimates of my applications.

Both stores would be custom built with UX in mind. I'm pretty adept with the ShopSite custom templates at this point. I can handle the details and don't need plug-and-play type ease. So that's not really what I'm interested in looking at.

One thing, the VPS account has a paid-for ShopSite license. I'm reluctant to abandon this $500 value too quickly. But the additional monthly cost and limited disk space compared to the Shared Server will be a concern to my client.

I would like to look at some empirical data so that I could judge the value of paying for the VPS.
posted by humboldt32 at 3:01 PM on November 15, 2011

Do you have a site at all anywhere? Or is this all guessing WRT how popular your site may become at some point to be determined in the future?

If you're on a shared host now, benchmark your site. Is it OK? Then don't spend more money. If it isn't, see what code optimization will get you. You might just need more CPU or more RAM or less IO contention. Upgrade your shared plan if it will give you more of what you need. If not, then get a VPS, copy over everything, optimize your web and database servers' configs and benchmark it. Is it better? Keep stepping up VPS plans until you're cool. If you're still in need for more, then you've outgrown a VPS and need to move to colo'ed servers.

As for data, I've posted this several times before: VPS comparison at How these compare to the billion shared hosts out there is anyone's guess.

Are you asking "what technical tools exist to compare hosts that I have accounts with" or "do I need a VPS"?
posted by Brian Puccio at 5:44 PM on November 15, 2011

Sorry to not be clear. Yes, "what technical tools exist to compare hosts that I have accounts with"? I'm looking for tools and how-to's for doing the benchmarking.

It's just that I have this unused VPS account with licensed software and I'm not sure if it's worth hanging on to it. That, or eat the license and go with shared hosting and opensource cart software.

I appreciate your reply.
posted by humboldt32 at 5:56 PM on November 15, 2011

Another consideration is that shared hosting isn't terribly secure. It has probably gotten better, but several years ago I saw situations where you could access files on another web site if you knew the right path. There are VPS solutions as cheap as $30 out there and the good providers make it easier to scale up when you need it.
posted by dgran at 6:18 AM on November 16, 2011

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