Best VPS For Streaming

When it comes to self-hosting, vServers, virtual servers, are an increasingly popular alternative to home servers. With low prices and high flexibility, they offer the ideal balance between classic hosting and the advantages of your own server.

In principle, a vServer behaves like an independent server. It has its own IP address, its own operating system installation, its own hard disk space, and for its owner, who may call himself “root”, i.e. administrator, it is fully available for a completely individual system configuration.

In fact, a vServer is not its own hardware. Rather, it runs together with other vServers in parallel and yet isolated on a very powerful “host system” and shares resources such as processor power and RAM. Experience shows that applications such as normal web hosting, even with PHP and databases, do not constantly demand the performance of an entire system. This might also be true for streaming purposes. Costs for hardware that is idle most of the time for root servers are eliminated anyway, which makes vServer so inexpensive.

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Minimum resources guaranteed to each vServer ensure smooth operation. During temporary load peaks, the host system dynamically provides more resources that other vServers do not currently need. When the load returns to normal, the vServer releases the resources so that they can be held as a “performance reserve” for other vServers. This mechanism of dynamic resource management is controlled fully automatically by the host system. The vServers running on it are not aware of this.

In order to have sufficient resources plus performance reserve for all vServers, the host system must be generously equipped. For example, a test vServer at 1blu (www.1blu.de) runs on an AMD Opteron 246 multiprocessor system with 8 GB RAM. Depending on the vServer package selected, the configuration can be up to 16 GB, with only 20 vServers sharing such a system in the largest package.

Administration of your own server doesn’t have to be difficult. Our test vServer comes with the Virtuozzo PowerPanel and Plesk 8, both from SWSoft (www.swsoft.com/de/) and the standards for managing vServers. A simple web browser is also sufficient for administration.

virtuozzo power-panelThe Virtuozzo PowerPanel controls the basic functions of a vServer, such as startup and shutdown, as well as monitoring running processes and system services. Since vServers run completely isolated, they can also be started and shut down independently of each other. Conversely, this means that a vServer crashes and should it therefore need to be restarted, this does not affect the other vServers, even if they are running on the same host system.

Other features of the Virtuozzo PowerPanel include creating and restoring backups. A backup includes a 100% snapshot of all data of a vServer, i.e. including the files and settings of its operating system. Reading back to a previously “frozen” state works at the push of a button, also directly from the web browser.

More serious bug fixes or diagnoses can be done in repair mode. The vServer is restarted with a rescue system that has a lot of tools at its disposal to analyze a possible damage and to fix it if necessary.

And if everything doesn’t help anymore, you can start an automatic reinstallation at any time. The complete operating system of the vServer is reinstalled within a few minutes and optionally the entire configuration is reset to its original state. However, you should not forget to back up all important files and databases beforehand.

While the Virtuozzo PowerPanel controls the basic operation, Plesk 8 manages the configuration of the vServer. Domains, web space, FTP accesses, databases, e-mail addresses and much more can be configured just as easily via a web browser. Note the idea of “clients”, which is mainly intended for resellers.

plesk interfaceAny number of clients can be created in Plesk, which can be assigned individual permissions, limits such as available web space, monthly traffic or the maximum number of databases or e-mail addresses. The assignment of the domains on the vServer to the clients also takes place.

A client can also log in and define further settings such as e-mail addresses, databases, protected areas or FTP access to the individual domains according to its authorizations and limits. If this has been previously set by the administrator, a client can even add more domains to its account.

Of course, Plesk provides the administrator with additional functions. For example, he can create cronjobs (automatic execution of commands at certain times), start and stop services, manually edit or add DNS entries, configure the mail server with integrated spam filter, set the date and time of the vServer and much more.

In addition, Plesk can be equipped with further modules, which then, for example, also enable the convenient setup of a VPN or the administration of game servers such as for Battlefield or Counter-Strike.

The most outstanding strength of a VPS for streaming is the possibility to configure it individually on system level. While in shared hosting a server is set up at the discretion of the provider in order to satisfy all customers hosted on it as much as possible, the vServer itself can be configured and completely adapted to one’s own needs, i.e. to maximize both comfort and performance as well as security.

In addition to the Virtuozzo PowerPanel and Plesk, the advanced administrator can log in directly to his vServer via SSH if settings on the server are required. With SSH, keyboard commands can be sent directly to the server in a shell, comparable to the “command prompt” under Windows XP.

For example, the PHP option “register_globals” is often used by providers to ensure compatibility with older PHP scripts. However, if the vServer only contains up-to-date scripts, it makes sense to switch off this critical setting in favor of security. Also the performance can be increased with just a few settings. With shared hosting, a large number of Apache and PHP modules are often activated, in case one of the many customers hosted on the server wants to use them. With the vServer you can decide for yourself: What is not needed can simply be deactivated. This also benefits security, because where less runs, there are fewer points of attack.

software

But also the installation of additional software packages is no problem with vServers. Since SuSE Linux (version 9.3) is installed on our 1blu-vServer, we can call the central configuration program YaST via SSH and conveniently search for, select and install further required packages.

Via Plesk, the administrator can also grant individual clients the right to log on to the vServer via SSH. A possible scenario would be to download large amounts of data such as log files. When logged on to the server, these usually huge text files can be compressed to a fraction of their original size in order to save download time. Of course, the clients do not have root rights and thus the possibility to make settings on the vServer.

If you place high demands on your web hosting or streaming service, shared-hosting quickly reaches the limits of what is feasible – or rather what is permitted. Whether individual server configuration or the installation of additional programs via SSH root login, VPS (vServers) offer maximum flexibility. With assured resources, they offer very good performance and thus enough power even for demanding websites. Thanks to the clear configuration with the Virtuozzo PowerPanel and Plesk, even non-professional administrators will quickly find their way around. And with low prices you offer a real alternative to root servers. So: Try it out!

Images: watch Live streaming © phasin; server room © monsitj – Fotolia.com
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