Have you just jumped on the VPS hosting bandwagon? Or are you doing your research before taking the plunge? I used to host all my websites on a HostGator shared hosting account (Baby Croc package). But as traffic and the resource usage alerts grew, I needed something more powerful and scalable. I love researching in detail. So after a lot of reading and searching, I chose a ‘fully managed’ SSD-VPS package from KnownHost (SSD-1). I am so glad I did.
What is a VPS?
A Virtual Private Server (VPS) is a web server that runs on a virtual slice of a hosting provider’s server. So you are able to buy a guaranteed section of a powerful server’s resources at an affordable price. VPS hosting generally comes in three flavours – unmanaged, semi-managed, and fully managed.
- For developers and experts, unmanaged is the best value.
- Semi-managed is more expensive but still needs some server management experience.
- Fully managed is where the hosting company manages the server for you. This is naturally the most expensive of the three, but also the best option for those who have outgrown the CPU and RAM limitations of shared hosting and need reliable VPS hosting.
The fully managed option is usually available only if you install a control panel such as WHM/cPanel. But if you are going for the fully managed option, you wouldn’t want to use the Command Line Interface (CLI) anyway!
My choice – KnownHost SSD VPS hosting
I chose KnownHost because all their VPS packages are fully managed and they have an excellent reputation. With shared hosting, I had one cPanel user account and all my websites had to be add-on domains in that one cPanel account. Thsi was perfectly fine before my websites grew to the size they are now. With KnownHost VPS, not only can I manage the server through WHM, but I can create as many cPanel accounts as I want. This is where the ‘fully managed’ part comes in – after the initial setup of the server I can either start doing whatever I want or raise a support ticket to get it done for me. Let me tell you – if you are a beginner to VPS hosting and don’t have the time to learn server management (like me!), you must go for a fully managed VPS server with a WHM/cPanel license. I recommend KnownHost – their service levels are just insane!
Moving from shared hosting to a VPS may seem quite daunting, but it is very straightforward. So I want to show you step-by-step how to use that shiny new VPS to hosting your own WordPress blog.
How would you like to install WordPress?
If you have no websites on your VPS yet, you can install WordPress in your root cPanel account (go to STEP 3 directly). But if you already have a website running and you want to add a new blog, you have 2 ways of doing this:
- Install your WordPress blog as an add-on domain in your main cPanel user account (Out of scope of this article).
- Create a new cPanel account and install WordPress to that user account – Recommended.
So, after doing some research and discussing with the excellent people at KnownHost technical support, I concluded that the second approach of having one cPanel account per website is ideal for a VPS. This is because each website is isolated from each other – great for security and stability purposes. You can also assign usage limits to each cPanel account.
So here are the detailed steps for creating a new cPanel account on your VPS and installing a WordPress blog.
STEP 1 – Create a cPanel account
- Log in to WHM securely with your root account and password
- Type ‘create’ into the search box on the top left, then click on “Create a new account”
- Under Domain information:
- Enter the domain you have purchased here, for example, wpblog.com
- The username will be automatically filled in by WHM, in this case wpblog. It is important to keep this to less than 8 characters if possible – the WordPress database prefix will be the first 8 characters of your cPanel username by default
- Choose a strong password.
- Enter an email address now, say email@example.com, we will create it in the next step.
- Under Package:
- You can always choose a package later. For ease of use and administration, if you plan to have more than one website or blog, it may be worth creating a package. A package is a set of rules about how much bandwidth and storage space each cPanel account, and thus the websites in it, can use.
- If you would rather not create a package, you can still define the usage limit rules manually at this stage by choosing the “Select options manually” option. A new section will now appear where you can enter these rules for this cPanel account and all websites that will live in it. You can then also choose “Save Manual Settings as a Package” to create a package with these rules.
- Under Settings:
- Keep the settings at their defaults as seen below.
- Dedicated IP is needed only if you need SSL security on your new blog – this is usually not needed.
- Make sure the Reseller section options are not checked.
- Leave the DNS settings at their default. Make a note of the nameservers – you will need these later to tell your domain registrar where your website is hosted (unless your VPS host is your domain registrar, in which case you do not need to do this).
- Leave the Mail Server settings at their default.
- Click on Create – you should see a confirmation that the new cPanel account has been created.
- Log in to WHM securely with your root account and password
STEP 2 – cPanel – Create the email address you provided
- Go to the Secure cPanel login of your VPS
- Login using the new details you created above
STEP 3 – cPanel – Install WordPress using your VPS’s one-click installer (KnownHost provides Softaculous).
- Scroll to the Softaculous section, and click on WordPress if it is shown.
- If not, click on Softaculous and then use the search function on the left to find WordPress.
- Click on the Install button.
- Software Setup section – make sure the directory field is empty.
- Site settings section – you can change these settings later in the WordPress dashboard.
- Admin Account – make sure you choose an admin username and password that is different from those of your cPanel and admin email accounts. This is a good way of improving your website’s security. You can use the admin email address created earlier.
- Choose language and plugins sections – I recommend not installing any plugins at this stage.
- Advanced Options – I recommend using a database prefix similar to your blog name. Leave everything else as seen below.
- Select Theme – You can selet a theme here, but I do not recommend installing a theme at this stage.
- Click Install.
- You should now see a message stating that your WordPress install has been successful.
- Proceed to your WordPress admin and login using the username and password you created above.
If the WordPress site is your only website on the VPS, and your domain was not registered through your hosting provider, you will need to update the domain nameserver details at your domain registrar to point towards your VPS. Check with your domain registrar to see how this can be done. Your hosting provider may also have published guides for the common registrars or be able to guide you.
If you purchased your domain through your hosting provider, your domain will already be configured to find your VPS.