VPS: How much RAM do I need for a server?

You are sitting in front of an order form for a VPS and you see the offers and it may confuse you, where to focus on? The disk space? The CPU, the RAM? Lets say one thing at the beginning: The RAM is the most important factor of a VPS.

How do you know how much RAM you need?

There is no answer in general. It depends what you like to install on your server. And it depends how many requests your server must serve, in other words how much visitors you expect. But first lets focus on what you like to install.

Which service you plan to run on your VPS?

Do you plan to run more than one service on your server? For example web server, database, mail server all on one machine? Or do you plan a VPS just for your mail service?

In the first case, where you install all typical services to operate a website, keep in mind that each service needs RAM. If the RAM is too less, the server starts to swap. That means that it stores less used parts of the memory on the hard disk. But if he needs it again, it stores other parts of the RAM on the hard disks and gets back the ones he needs. That means swapping. And this process will slow down your VPS noticeably.

So the most important thing is, that you have enough RAM for all your running processes. For a web server, with MySQL installed and little to average traffic, 2 GB RAM is recommended for a VPS.

What about the disk space and CPU?

Keep in mind, different to the shared hosting a VPS does not hold only your website on the disk. The server also needs space for the operating system, kernel updates, backups and logfiles. Therefore a minimum of 10 GB is recommended. Actually with 10 GB you may run out fast, so the better value for disk space is 20 GB for a VPS.

The CPU is needed for computationally intensive operations. This may happen while code interpretion of php for example. But it does not consume much CPU. The CPU is always a little bit bored on a VPS with typical web server services. So you can go with 1 CPU, but if the offer of a VPS is in a good price value relation, so take one with 2 CPU, but you wont feel a big difference.

So as we mentioned at the beginning, the RAM is the most important factor of a VPS.

What about the traffic – users visiting my website?

When we talk about the traffic, there are two measurements: The traffic in bytes, what is transferred between client and VPS and the amount of users visiting your website. Because traffic what is transferred in bytes between the server and the clients is not so relevant anymore – the most web hosting providers offer a huge amount of traffic. In this case we focus regarding the RAM of a VPS on the website visitors.

Every time a visitor visits your website the web server has to create a process to serve the request. This means he needs RAM from the server to spawn the processes. So if you know, you have a lot of visitors, you can expect, that you need the double RAM.

Generally speaking we can say up to 100.000 visitors per month, evenly distributed throughout the month, is little to average traffic. More than 100.000 visitors per month up to 200.000 visitors per month, evenly distributed throughout the month, is a site with heavy traffic. Here it is recommended to take a VPS with a minimum 4 of GB RAM.

But: It also depends if the visitors are evenly distributed throughout the month. Because if you just have peaks where you have really heavy access to your server this can eventually stop a it from working. In this case there you need another solution than a single VPS.

The bottom line

So as you see, it depends on so many factors what will be the right choice for your VPS. Anyway RAM is one of the most important factors of a VPS and the smooth operation of your server. But the amount of RAM depends really on that, what you plan to install on your server.

If you want the assessment of an expert, just ask us and tell us, what you plan to do with your VPS and we can give you an advise what will be the best solution for you. Just click here and we are here to share our knowledge with you!

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