Should you get a regular VPS or CPU-optimized, or memory-optimized instance? Many of the biggest VPS companies (Linode, Digital Ocean, Google Cloud, Amazon) now offer several different instance types. But how do you know which one is the best for your web server?
My recommendations below are intended for WEB-SERVER use only. I do not account for gaming server, bitcoin mining, or any other kind of server use.
STANDARD plans are best for general use
Don’t know what you need? If you have to ask this question, I highly recommend the general plans for you. They typically come with a CPU/MEMORY ratio of 1:2. Which is 1 CPU CORE for every 2 GB of ram. I find it to be a nice balance with enough CPU to process things and enough ram to store frequent processes and database queries.
Again, if you don’t know what you’re doing…stick to the standard general plans and then you can always upgrade from there depending on your resource usage. Standard plans are fine for 99% of the sites out there. I’ve never ran into a scenario where we really need one of the more extreme plans like CPU-optimized or MEMORY-optimized.
Example sites for STANDARD plans:
- Any site, really.
- Blogs, business, ecommerce, etc.
CPU-OPTIMIZED plans are best for dynamic processes
Are you CONSTANTLY running many dynamic processes and almost none of it is cacheable to storable in memory? Going with more CPU cores or a dedicated-CPU plans are a great idea here. Do note that having more CPU cores means you probably get a faster burst whereas having a dedicated CPU means your cores aren’t shared with anyone else (theoretically) and less subject to noise from neighbors. The former is better if you simply like having faster overall speed. The latter is better if you need guaranteed around-the-clock performance. It’s like having to share 4 laundry machines with neighbors vs having only 1 but it’s all yours.
Good candidates for high CPU usage are any sites with heavy processing and/or mostly showing private (uncacheable) dynamic content.
Example sites for CPU-optimized plans:
- Sites with many [uncacheable] logged-in members. Membership sites.
- Sites with lots of recent numbers, scores, tickers, stocks, etc.
- Some ecommerce sites.
- Any site not using much caching and preferring to process everything dynamically.
MEMORY-OPTIMIZED plans are great for caching processes
Do you have tons of cached database queries or have a need to cache many items in memory? Do you really have items that need to be stored in memory because SSD’s and dynamic processing isn’t fast enough? Memory-optimized plans may be the right choice for you. Great for heavy object caching. Great for caching many items and/or items with short expiry times.
Example sites for MEMORY-optimized plans:
- Can also be any sites with ecommerce, logged-in members, or also numbers.
- Any site preferring to short-term cache items instead of processing them dynamically.
Nice and clear details.
Hey thanks, man…and nice to see you on here. 🙂
Thinking of a cpanel server with multiple sites, would a general vps run slower than cpu optimised?
Eg digital ocean use around 2.3mhz on general, 2.6-2.7!9! Optimised.
Then an e3 server can do 3.3 or more.
Do a cpanel server on 2 cores e3 could be faster?
Does speed affect websites?
Great questions that warrant a guide for it! In general, a general VPS is all you need. The CPU or MEMORY optimized version are only specific use cases where the server is processing to max capacity at all times. For web servers, we usually cache things as much as possible to reduce dynamic processing load so you won’t notice the difference as much. Of course, speed affects websites.
Nice and useful.
with woocommerce so CPU or RAM?
WooCommerce would benefit from RAM if you do lots of object caching, and CPU if you have many checkouts. So a bit of both. Small stores lean towards CPU.
I was doing some research what hardware would be sufficient for a web server. Now I have a good overview.
Hey Johnny, this is a great article. It is so hard when you are not that technical to work out the balance of what resources you actually need! So I wonder what your thoughts are on this…
Currently we are at Kinsta on a plan with 12cpu and 8gb ram with 16 workers. We have talked to them about a dedicated package with 8cpu and 32gm or ram. Our site is a pretty large woocommerce store (big database) so was wondering if you thought this would give much of a boost?
At that level, I think you can find much better value with another webhost than Kinsta. I’m not high on Kinsta.
Interesting, I thought they were highly rated which is why we went with them. Although over the years it has become apparent they like simple sites that are easy to cache and therefore serve fast. However, they are not so keen on highly dynamic sites with a lot of wp-admin activity, like ours… Do you have any suggestions? I am not sure I have time to manage my self through gridpane etc. I did look at cloudways, who I like, but for google cloud servers are similar in price to what Kinsta are offering on their dedicated package with us. I also demo’d serve bolt but their back end panel was very basic and creating staging sites was a nightmare. Interested to hear your thoughts.
Have you seen my webhosting review guide?