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Thoughts on setting up a VPS

Having a personal website is a good thing. It can serve as a portfolio, help you learn new webdev things, improve your existing webdev skills and so on.

After a long time, I have finally settled upon setting up a VPS over a shared host, as a VPS allows great control over almost everything about the setup.

What is a VPS?

Virtual private server (VPS) is a term used by Internet hosting services to refer to a virtual machine. The term is used for emphasizing that the virtual machine, although running in software on the same physical computer as other customers' virtual machines, is in many respects functionally equivalent to a separate physical computer, is dedicated to the individual customer's needs, has the privacy of a separate physical computer, and can be configured to run server software. -wikipedia

My initial use case for a VPS is to host a static website and some minor web applications. My only requirement is Debian as the OS.

A few months ago, I was shopping for a VPS host for hosting my personal website. I searched on reddit/hn/SE for VPS recommendations and most people mentioned Linode. Linode seemed like a great start. But even their cheapest plan was above my budget. Then I looked for some local options and found HostDime had some plans closer to my budget and they offered Debian 6. So I planned to go with HostDime once Debian Wheezy (7) becomes the Stable version.

Fast forward to the present day, I was surprised to see the prices of VPS hosting options of HostDime had gone up considerably and they did not have a cheaper plans they had few months back. After some initial disappointment, I found that it is best to go with a hosts that offer cheap VPS solutions. Some options in this space are BuyVM, prgmr, hostigation,, ideastack. After some more research into VPS solutions, I decided that I would go with something like BuyVM or prgmr.

While studying about opinions and experiences of other people on setting up VPS, I realized that there are still a plenty of things I am clueless about and have to spend a good amount of time learning. In no particular order, those things are:

  1. sysadmin skills
  2. securing a VPS, iptables, managing ports
  3. working with nginx
  4. managing serving both static and dynamic content
  5. doing backups
  6. using existing domains
  7. doing subdomains for apps
  8. working with ssh
  9. monitoring

So while researching for VPS, I found a lot of links that I would be needing later when I actually get started with a VPS. Here are some of those links with relevantly interesting information. I guess it would take me about a month or two to absorb all this information.

Cost effective way to host site / VPS / yourself?
Choosing between a dedicated and virtual dedicated server for my startup
Is a dedicated server similar in setup to a VPS?
What should I know before considering a VPS or dedicated server?
How much VPS ram would I need to run Wordpress, Apache, SVN & MySQL?
VPS Administration for the Absolute Beginner
How to learn/master (tutorials) for managing a VPS? - newbie VPS user
How hard is it to host from home? [closed]
Most important things you should do after your VPS server has been “built”?
What a beginner should know/learn for sysadmin job?
Add domain to VPS
How widely used is VPS hosting for personal sites?
How difficult is an unmanaged VPS?
How Can I Secure A VPS Installation?
How to find who's accessing my server? My server is Ubuntu
Is there a way I can test which one of my VPS's is better?
How can i monitor my VPS real bandwidth usage?
How to check VPS is performing optimally?
How to calculate maximum number of request in 128 MB VPS performance?
I'm moving up from managed hosting to a VPS, what do I need to know?
How to secure a server?
VPS Upgrade - Anyone use
What does r/webhosting think of $15/year VPS services
How Can I Secure my SSH Server?
Linux and SSH
Suggestions for securing a simple SSH server
VPS Recommendations?
Questions about hosting my website, blog and application demos at one host?
What is VPS Hosting and When to move to VPS?
New Personal VPS, what software?
18+ Million Hits per Day with 120 Mega Bytes RAM, on a Small Linode
I have 4 relatively low spec. Linux servers. What do.
Linux Security
The ABCs of virtual private servers, Part 1: Why go virtual
The ABCs of virtual private servers, Part 2: Getting started