Virtual Private Servers (VPS) can be a solid investment for those who need a reliable compromise between the affordability and simplicity of a shared hosting plan, and the additional resources and flexibility offered a dedicated server.
Ideal for those gaining large numbers of traffic, managing multiple websites, or ones that just have a great deal of large files to upload, a good VPS will usually provide all the space and bandwidth you need, along with access to those server management features usually prohibited in shared hosting plans.
OK, you say, this is all well and good, but aren’t Virtual Private Servers a pain in the proverbial to set up? Especially for those of us who aren’t exactly experts when it comes to web hosting?
In the following tutorial, we’ll show you just how easy it can be by guiding you, step-by-step, all the way from choosing a plan that’s right for you, to getting your VPS ready for action.
Choose the best VPS plan for your needs
There’s a whole number of different companies offering affordable VPS hosting plans. We’ve opted for GoDaddy’s three-month plan at £19.99 per month, though you might want to explore your options before you decide.
For the rest of this tutorial, we’ll be setting up a Virtual Private Server on GoDaddy, though the general instructions will apply to other hosting providers, too.
Set up your server
Once you’ve paid for your new VPS hosting, you’ll be taken to a page which lists your current hosting plans. First and foremost is a nice little box which instructs you to set up your Virtual Private Server. Click the green button in the bottom-left-hand corner to get started.
Add your server credentials
Clicking that green button will take you to a clean-looking page where you’ll be asked to name your server and create both a username and password.
Fill those in, then scroll down further, and depending on the hosting plan you purchased, you may or may not be able to choose options such as the data centre and control panel you use for your new server.
Create your server
Click the big ‘Create Server’ button at the bottom of that page, and you’re ready to move on to the exciting stuff.
Wait for set up
Clicking on ‘Create Server’ will take you to a new page, where you’ll be asked to wait for up to five minutes whilst everything is set up for you.
When that’s done, the purple banner across the top of your screen will turn to a green one, signalling that everything is ready for you to use.
If, as we found, your hosting provider insists that everything ready despite that circle continuing to spin around beneath the ‘IP Address’ column, you may need to refresh a few times.
From there, click on the name of your new server.
Familiarise yourself with your dashboard
Next, you’ll have the opportunity to explore your dashboard, where you’ll manage every aspect of your new VPS hosting plan.
As you’ll see above, the left-hand column provides some basic stats about your site usage, such as how much disk space and ram you’ve used, whilst the right-hand column is where you’ll really get into the action.
Let’s look at each of these in turn.
Clicking on the big power button will reveal whether or not there’s any issues with your server. If you do come across an issue that can be resolved by simply restarting the server, here’s where you’ll do it.
A simple one this one. If you need to change your account username or password, the access button is where you’ll do that.
You shouldn’t have to change your server or hostname very often, but if you do, your settings is the place to do it.
It’s from here where you can also enable access to the root folder and even start from scratch with the useful ‘destroy and rebuild’ option.
As you might expect, the backup button provides you with the option to backup your server. Since we haven’t added anything to our server just yet, we won’t bother with this option for now.
It’s from this box where we’ll start to create websites on our new server, but more of that in a few moments.
Server details and resources
Need to quickly check the basic details of your plan? They’re all here for you in one panel. Apart from managing your IP address, there isn’t much you can do from this particular box, but it’s still useful to have those details to hand.
Access your VPS control panel
Going back to the cPanel sites box, click ‘Create with WHM.’ That reveals your VPS control panel, where you’ll have full access to everything you need to properly manage the individual sites on your server. As you’ll see below, you have a whole range of options at your disposal, but today, we’re only interested in configuring our server.
Click ‘Server Configuration’
To do that, we’re going to use the first box marked ‘Server Configuration’ which brings up even more options, as seen below.
Again, we only need the first box here, so click on ‘Basic cPanel & WHM Setup’ and let’s continue.
Add your contact details
If there’s an issue with your server, your customers will need a way to get in touch with you, which is why your first job is to provide them with contact details such as an email address, AIM username, and ICQ ID.
Fill in your details, then head to your ‘Basic Config’ tab.
You have a lot of options to play around with under the ‘Basic Config’ settings, though in our case, we found that we were pretty happy with the default settings and didn’t to change much.
If you know what you’re doing and feel you could benefit from changing some of these options, go ahead and do so now. Otherwise, we recommend leaving them as they are.
The same goes for your nameservers, which you’ll find when you scroll down past the Basic Config setup en route to the ‘Save Changes’ button.
With that, you’re all set up and good to go, meaning you can start creating packages for your customers, adding websites to your account and more.