without control panel offer Virtual Server web hosting for about £30. But then they add ‘Parallels Plesk Control Panel’ for another £10 each month. They say without it I will need to “administer the server on the command line directly”

i do not know what this means. For £120 a year (obviously over 1000 for 10 years) can I learn how to “administer the server on the command line directly”

i plan to have Secure web pages at my site enabling the customer to enter their card details so I need to make sure the server is ‘administered’ correctly.

Can anyone point me in the right direction to learn about ‘command line’ entry for servers?


Unless you are a programmer geek, I’d say you need a control panel. Using command lines (at least in my book) is a dark art! (Or to put it another way: if you don’t know what using the command line means, I strongly suspect you need a control panel.)

OK - Furthermore do you know about loading speeds and concurrent usage when using MySQL and PHP?

Sometimes with the PHP/MySQL site the page loads without CSS styling. The formatting then kicks in about 1-2 seconds later. Is this a server problem?

Second some web hosts limit the number of concurrent users to between 50 and 300 depending on server package. Others do not. We are not a huge company but we do hope/plan to grow. Do you have any comments on how to get around this? Do you always recommend a Virtual Servers rather than shared hosting? Is 50 enough? I would hope to receive 200 people at one time or another each week or month!!?!??


I don’t know much about this stuff, I’m afraid, but a VPS that serves only 50–100 people at a time (if that’s what you’re saying) sounds pretty crummy to me. A VPS should offer much better hosting than shared hosting.

Run your site through yslow (a firefox addon for site speed monitoring and analysis) this might give you a few clues to how your site is performing. It’s also possible to get a measure of server bandwidth by uploading a large test file, then downloading this from known fast servers to see what the maximum throughput is.

The styling issue could be server related but could also be down to your page structure, both the amount of data to load in scripts and images, and the order they are requested.

With regards to administration, depends on how much you need - plesk would typically be used for setting up domains, emails and databases. If you need to control all of these on your vps then it’d be a stretch for a beginner to facilitate this via a command line. If you don’t need these (e.g single domain and ftp account, external email) and the hosting is classified as ‘managed’ then you may be better off asking the host to perform the initial setup for you and save some of the money and server resources that plesk will consume.

VPS is much better than shared hosting in terms of reliability and stability.
It gives more freedom and resources while running IT services.

Pingdom Tools can be good to determine what part of a web page loads slow.

Second some web hosts limit the number of concurrent users to between 50 and 300 depending on server package. Others do not.

Most of the ones that don’t, will have other limits in place that essentially do the same thing - ensure that the chances of a user taking up the whole server for himself are pretty slim.

As for your VPS, there will be no such limit, or if there is one, you can modify it. However, you still have no guarantee that your VPS has enough computing power or memory to handle traffic peaks. For example, with a 512MB VPS, you only really have 200-300 MB to actually power your site, the rest is used up by all the services you must run to have a working server in place.