You’ve got a VPS server, now what?

When you get a new VPS everything feels nice.  You’ve got your own server, without the dedicated server price tag. However, everything may not be as it seems.

A key thing to remember; A low end VPS does NOT have the same amount of resources available.

The first thing you will want to do with your server is setup everything. Assuming you’re using it for web hosting, this may include;

  • Control Panel
  • Web server & PHP / Python etc
  • E-mail with Anti-virus/Spam detection
  • DNS
  • Database Server
  • Log file processing

Be careful when doing this.  You are likely getting a VPS because your website is now getting enough traffic, or you are hosting enough sites that shared hosting just doesn’t cut it.  By adding all of those services. you could be eating into valuable resources.

If your VPS is for your website, it’s for your website, and ideally not the extras. Consider the following;

Control Panel

After your initial setup there probably isn’t much need for a control panel. Where possible, disable it. Virtualmin/Webmin/Usermin for example runs as its own perl process and while not very much it still uses memory that most of the time you don’t need. You can always login to the machine and enable it again via SSH.


Consider using Google Apps (or similar any number of good quality email hosting providers). You can offload all of your E-mail, virus checking and spam checking to someone else. Gmail is a huge platform and most of you know the features offered by this. Google Apps allows all of that on your own domain name. There is 7gb of storage per account, for free. If you need more, or feel like offering google some money, its £33 per account, per year (at the moment)


Many server providers, like linode, have DNS servers that are free for you to use. Utilize them. BIND, on this very server, was utilising over 100mb of memory.

Log file processing

Webalizer and AWStats are both common log file processing tools. Do you really need them though? In some instances, yes, in most…no. Use Google Analytics (or something similar).  If you get a lot of traffic, processing millions of lines takes minutes to hours, during which time your website could be sluggish. A slow website really kills the user experience. If you really want/need something like AWStats, install it on your own computer and process the log files manually or create another VPS to process files periodically.

Web Server & Database Server

As this is your web server, you can’t do much about the overhead of a web server and perhaps a database server (unless you’re running multiple virtual machines). What you can do, however, is limit what is running. The default installation of Apache on Debian includes a lot of modules you will likely not need or ever use. Disable extensions that you don’t need.

Or….you can get a bigger VPS or multiple VPS for all of your services. Instant (or at least quick) scaling is one of the many benefits of a virtual server.

Remember: the faster your server runs, the faster your website runs, the happier your users are, the happier Google is, the happier you are…….well hopefully.

Leave a Reply