July 09, 2008

VPS Media - My New Hosting Provider

Blogger Buster is primarily hosted by Blogger, and uses the custom domain feature for my dot com URL. However, all of the background images, scripts, Blogger templates and other downloadable content are hosted externally, since these cannot be hosted by Blogger.

For me, reliability is of chief concern for Blogger Buster: I offer free templates; have more eBooks in progress, and am working on an integrated forum to accompany the site. I wasn't sure that my shared hosting package could handle it, and am certainly not in the position to purchase a dedicated hosting package just yet! So when VPS Media contacted me about their Virtual Private Server packages, I couldn't wait to give it a try!

What is a VPS?

A VPS is the link between shared and dedicated hosting: it is an isolated partition on a server and each partition the appearance and capabilities of running on its own dedicated machine. In effect, it's like having a dedicated server, without the huge price tag!

Until recently, I was content to use a shared hosting solution. Shared hosting means that many hosting accounts are present on the same server (and often share the same IP address too); this is the cheapest form of web hosting (often free), though it does have limitations and issues of reliability.

My new hosting provider, VPS Media, provides blazing fast Xen VPS servers and guarantee 100% network uptime, so I know reliability is not an issue with this company! What's more, I have complete control of my VPS: this means I can run any applications required; install my own mail server, and can use my VPS to host multiple websites too.

What I'm using now

 At present, I'm using the VPS starter package, which offers 384 MB of dedicated RAM, 15GB of data storage and 150GB of data transfer which costs $20 per month. There are no set-up fees and no contracts either. While this is slightly more than I previously paid for shared hosting, I'm more than happy to pay this for reliability and the fantastic support I've received surpasses that of any other hosting company I've used.

A VPS offers a much better standard of web hosting than a shared hosting package; however, this comes with a great degree of responsibility and the requirement of technical knowledge.

A VPS package is installed with only the bare minimum required to make it operational: it doesn't already have a web-server, email, PHP or database packages, so in order to be able to use my VPS for web hosting, I needed to learn how to install these myself.

Considering that I had no previous experience of using Unix operating systems, I must say that this was a steep learning curve for me! Thankfully, VPS Media has a VPS article library available so customers can learn how to install various packages and use their VPS effectively. Carlos Taborda also kindly pointed me towards some highly useful articles over at How to Forge where I learned about the best set-up for my Debian operating system and other useful insights.

How my VPS will help improve Blogger Buster

As I mentioned earlier, I found my existing shared hosting package to be unreliable at times. Blogger Buster readers may have noticed slow loading times, missing images from the template, or that templates (and other downloads) are temporarily unavailable (for which my host was unable to offer any explanation!).

Now that I am hosting with VPS Media, I know that my web hosting is completely under my control. The 100% uptime guarantee assures me that my server will always be accessible, and if something goes wrong, I will be able to discover the problem and deal with this myself.

New features are on their way!

With these assurances, I feel confident in making some dramatic changes to Blogger Buster. In the next week (or so) this site will undergo a complete redesign, including the new Blogger Buster forum and the release of a new (and rather large) eBook.

I'm also in the process of transferring all my images, scripts and downloadable content over to my VPS which should result in faster page loading and that downloads will be available at all times. And since I can host multiple websites on my VPS, I'm also considering starting a new blog...

Is VPS Media the hosting company for you?

A VPS is the ideal solution for bloggers, designers and developers who require a powerful and reliable hosting package to serve their pages, content and scripts.

Here at Blogger Buster, I provide a great deal of content for the Blogger community including Blogger templates (and related images); scripts used for widgets; eBooks and more. For me, VPS Media provides an excellent and affordable hosting solution.

Most Blogger users will not require such an advanced hosting package, especially as this is a highly technical solution which requires knowledge of Unix and console access. However, for those of you who are looking for a reliable external hosting package, VPS Media gets a great big thumbs up from me!

If you are interested to try out a virtual private server package from VPS media, Carlos Taborda has generously offered a three month starter package as a prize for Blogger Buster's forthcoming (and very interesting) competition! So be sure to subscribe to learn more about this, and also to see for yourself the transformation that my VPS hosting will offer to this site!

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All existing posts are still available to view while I'm working on the site, albeit seen in a much simpler interface. Feel free to browse through the archives to find tutorials, templates and articles to help you build a better blog:

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