I have some sites hosted on a shared-hosting/cpanel environment and need to make a move up. I have some experience running my own server, but it is very basic (a local box to do live testing/file serv). My question is how difficult is it to run a VPS, should I buy a managed VPS (with stuff already installed), or unmanaged (blank box), and lastly if I go for unmanaged what steps should I take to keep my VPS secure? Edit: Also how difficult is it to backup files and databases? Can it be automated?
Hostway|HOSTING Virtual Private Server technology allows you to create your own shared hosting platform. You can allocate bandwidth or storage to each site from anywhere using your web-based control panel. Host sites that use different content management systems or development languages independently. You can easily set up new sites in the control panel, or migrate sites from another server.
A virtual private server (VPS), also called a virtual dedicated server (VDS), is a virtual server that appears to the user as a dedicated server, but that is actually installed on a computer serving multiple websites. A single computer can have several VPSs, each one with its own operating system (OS) that runs the hosting software for a particular user.
Get the control panel you prefer by selecting it at order time. Either is available - it's strictly a matter of personal preference. Many people opt for cPanel, because of its popularity - and we can't fault them for that. However, it’s your VPS – so you’re in control - you can have other control panels and software installed instead - it's totally up to you (but faster setup times if you pick cPanel or DirectAdmin).

However another option is to pool together a cluster of physical servers into a cloud arrangement whereby the data is stored across several physical disks in several physical machines. This dramatically reduces the possibility of hardware related downtime by spreading the load and the risk of hardware failure. This is a High Availability Cloud setup which Pickaweb uses.
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For plans or packages featuring unlimited websites, domains, or email accounts, we do not enforce any official limitations. Customers are able to utilize as many of these features as they wish. That said, these are of course not infinite resources and there are inherent maximums associated with the technology powering them. For example, while email account creation is unlimited, these rely on the file storage available on the account. Therefore customers need to be operating within the Terms of Service to ensure resources are available to fully enable email functionality. Customers operating within the Terms of Service have yet to come up against technical boundaries for email, domains, or websites.
koding.com has a free VM running Ubuntu. The specs are pretty good, 1 gig memory for example. They have a terminal online you can access through their website, or use SSH. The VM will go to sleep approximately 20 minutes after you log out. The reason is to discourage users from running live production code on the VM. The VM resides behind a proxy. Running web servers that only speak HTTP (port 80) should work just fine, but I think you'll get into a lot of trouble whenever you want to work directly with other ports. Many mind-like alternatives offer similar setups. Good luck!
There is a good chance that your company or the clients you are hosting will want to create their own custom nameservers for their properties, opting to use ns.yourdomainhere.com over a host-specific nameserver. Updating nameservers for domains is very simple within our Account Management Panel (AMP). If your domain is currently with another host/registrar, you also have the option of pointing the nameservers to ns1.inmotionhosting.com without transferring the domain to InMotion Hosting. Creating custom nameservers requires root access, which is available by request for all VPS Hosting plans.
However another option is to pool together a cluster of physical servers into a cloud arrangement whereby the data is stored across several physical disks in several physical machines. This dramatically reduces the possibility of hardware related downtime by spreading the load and the risk of hardware failure. This is a High Availability Cloud setup which Pickaweb uses.
Over the last year, I’ve spent days testing and reviewing multiple virtual private server platforms for the best VPS option. If you don’t want to deal with installing software on a desktop or server, and you just want a VM to run your application now, then these 3 done for you virtual machine software solutions are guaranteed to work. Spin up a VM in the cloud on SSD storage for as little as $5 per month…
Another benefit of virtualizing servers is that they are no longer tied to a hardware platform. This provides the ability to virtually expand or upgrade (upgrade) the hardware platform during operation without significant downtime (~ 1 second downtime). Also, a hardware problem does not result in longer downtime (assuming existing spare capacity) because the VPS can be restarted quickly on a different hardware.
Virtual servers are scalable and come with dedicated core and memory allocations. They are a great option if you are looking for compute resources, that can be added in minutes, with access to features like image templates. The hypervisor is fully managed by IBM Cloud, and you can perform configuration and management tasks by using both the IBM Cloud customer portal and the API. Virtual servers are deployed to the same VLANs as physical servers, allowing you to spread workloads across virtual servers and bare metal servers while maintaining interoperability. Virtual servers are fully customizable when you 
order them, with options to scale up as your compute needs grow.
For plans or packages featuring unlimited websites, domains, or email accounts, we do not enforce any official limitations. Customers are able to utilize as many of these features as they wish. That said, these are of course not infinite resources and there are inherent maximums associated with the technology powering them. For example, while email account creation is unlimited, these rely on the file storage available on the account. Therefore customers need to be operating within the Terms of Service to ensure resources are available to fully enable email functionality. Customers operating within the Terms of Service have yet to come up against technical boundaries for email, domains, or websites.
Virtual means that the server runs in a virtualized environment, a cloud server rather than a physical server. This differentiates Virtual Private Servers from dedicated servers, which are physical machines in a data center rack. Virtual servers have the same functionality as a dedicated server and they look more or less the same from the client’s perspective, except that several virtual servers live on a single physical server.
VPS hosting is like you are living in an apartment complex. It means that other people are living in the same building, but you have your own secure apartment. You will get more room and restrictions will be fewer as compared to living in a dorm. It also means that if your neighbour is misbehaving, it is the problem of owner of building, not yours.
Managing your virtual private server has never been so easy. Thanks to the VPS Control Panel, now you can manage and control your virtual server simply with a few clicks. Your private servers can be easily rebooted, powered on or off, absolutely new OS or web scripts can be installed, root access password or trace server stats and VPS hosting resources can be easily changed in real time. With no worries you can backup and restore VPS container via cpanel too.

We offer managed VPS and unmanaged VPS located in the USA and the UK. We want to make sure that all of our clients receive the fastest possible VPS that is located near their audience. Feel free to select the location best suited for your website visitors. Both of the facilities offer premium network connectivity and class leading uptime. We guarantee you would not be disappointed. If you need help to choose the best location please contact our sales team.

We strive to offer you a 100% worry-free hosting experience. How? HostGuard Management is included with your VPS. With HostGuard, our 24/7/365 Guru Crew Support team manages your account's network, hardware, software and security. You won't find this level of service with any other provider! HostGuard means you can focus your attention and building your site and promoting it to your audience.
cPanel and WHM give you all the power you need when managing multiple sites, domains and clients. Create as many cPanel accounts as you need within WHM's account dashboard, assigning the cPanels to each respective property. Once set up and assigned, you can view usage, manage account stats, modify, upgrade or suspend accounts and much more. This allows you to manage your server exactly how you want it, including splitting your clients up for billing, resource and support purposes.
A Virtual Private Server (VPS) uses virtualization software to partition physical servers into multiple "virtual" servers—each having the ability to run its own operating system and applications. VPS is not for everyone, but is quickly becoming the hosting preference of choice for advanced Web developers who require root access to the server to run their own software.
Perhaps the best way to approach the virtual server is the idea of a virtual machine. A VM allows you to run an emulation of a computer within your computer, drawing on the resources of the physical one –  disk space, RAM, CPU, etc. This tactic allows you to run an entirely separate operating system (OS) solely for the purposes of the VM, even if its type and version of OS are identical to what’s on your hardware.
In unmanaged VPS hosting, the user enjoys full freedom to control the web server. The user gets access to the remote web server and they get the administrative power of the server. Unmanaged VPS hosting thus give you complete administrative functions of the web server and the user gets the freedom to select the administrator who can control the server technically.
For companies that implement certain programs and scripting languages, such as PHP, MySQL, or Perl in combination with other software programs, Linux VPS hosting is an excellent option. JaguarPC’s VPS hosting services are especially beneficial for small to medium-sized businesses. Through a VPS, you and your company will enjoy a secure, affordable, and fully scalable pool of resources.
Because you only are using a portion of the resources for the VM, you can have several of them running on one computer or server, as is common with hosting services. A hosting provider that offers VPS hosting has a vast number of physical servers that each contain multiple virtual machines. While demarcation and intrusion prevention within the physical machine is not a huge concern on your own PC, VPS hosts must have security safeguards in place to ensure isolation of each customer’s server. That’s why the terminology virtual private server is used – to denote the attention paid to privacy and the server programs that are typically loaded onto this type of VM.

You’re writing SQL, CSS, HTML and PHP, Ruby, Perl or Python. You’re a developer. Don’t you have enough to deal with? Our Guru Crew Support team has done the research and the work to make sure you're hosted on the best hardware with the best network and settings. That's how you'll know you'll get ultra-reliable VPS Web Hosting! Your VPS is even backed by our 99.9% Uptime Commitment. That means you can spend your time developing your projects instead of dealing with downtime.

We hope the above better explains unmanaged virtual private servers to you. If you think unmanaged virtual private servers is right for you, please look above for our most recent unmanaged virtual private servers real user VPS reviews. We are positive you'll be able to choose the right unmanaged virtual private servers that is right for your needs.
I was in a similar situation about a year ago, had a managed VPS for some years before i needed a better server and had to switch to an un-managed VPS. Although i had another un-managed VPS without a control panel previously, this time round i chose an un-managed box with cPanel already installed. This was quite handy as i didn't have to deal with installing and licencing the control panel. As have always used cPanel, setting up sites, databases, DNS and all the other configurations was straight forward and fast.
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