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I have a website that's currently on a shared server plan. It's been working fine. In about a week, I'm expecting a spike in traffic during a specific 4-day event. I could have as many as 1000 visitors at one time on my site. My site is basically a phpBB 3.0 forum. I'm not sure what would happen with such a spike. Would the server crash or would access to the site slow to a crawl?

My host is offering to switch me to a VPS or dedicated server for a month. I'm not concerned about the cost. I've never done this before. I'm concerned that the transition won't go smoothly and my website won't work on the new server (VPS or managed dedicated), without troubleshooting my code and making changes.

My website is on a shared server that uses cPanel. Not sure if this makes the transition to a VPS of dedicated seamless and reliable. I would appreciate some insight and advice on what to expect in this type of transition.

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4 Answers 4

Typically, the only way you know if a system will handle certain loads is by testing or trial by fire -- that is just seeing if it survive a real load spike.

In terms of a VPS, there is no guarantee that a VPS would handle the load any better than your shared hosting account.

All servers have limits and if your traffic hits that limit, it may fail or be too slow to use. Bigger servers typically can support higher levels of traffic but not always.

Inherent issues in your application programming can impact scalability as well.

Also the type of traffic is important too ...

1000 users/sec reading != 1000 users/sec posting

It is pretty easy to scale read-only activity with caching or services like Cloudflare. But scaling out interactive functions, like making a new post, requires much more testing and planning.

If you expect most of the traffic to be read-only, then consider a service like CloudFlare or other CDN. If you expect a lot of posts, then testing would be needed to see what loads either your shared account or VPS account can handle.

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If you take CPanel complete backup then it can be restored as it is in the VPS. Everything should keep working.

Only that maintaining VPS, the DNS etc could require some skill.

But good shared hosting like that of Hostgator's can handle 3-4000 unlogged visitors/per day. But not 1000 people/moment.

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There are four things that you will have to look into:

  1. Setting up the VPS/Dedicated server from scratch.

Your web-host can help you in this regard, as learning it by yourself and doing it is a really tedious and time consuming procedure.

  1. Shifting all the files to the new VPS/Dedicated Server.
  2. Backing up the database and shifting it to the new VPS/Dedicated server.

Since you are using cPanel, this can go really easy, thanks to pre-installed tools such as phpMyadmin and filemanager, this should not be difficult.

  1. Changing the DNS settings. If you use the DNS settings of your domain registrar, change the A records to the IP of your VPS/Dedicated Server. If you use the DNS of your hosting provider, then they will take care of the rest for you.

Note: There might be anything specific that you may have to do in addition to what I had mentioned, depending upon your website.

Under ideal circumstances, this should not get really difficult, but specifics depend on the type of your website and is beyond the scope of this answer at present.

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Create backup of all files.

Ensure that you have license to use cPanel, DirectAdmin or other control panel on the vps that you're migrating to. Setup control panel before migration.

If your sites are active, use your stats to determine best time to change DNS so that you can restore from backup when you upload backup to new vps. And after you setup website accounts and upload backups...

Change dns so that propagation can occur within 24 to 48 hours. Lots of folks like to do server work on Fridays which is a party day. `

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