Gary, consider installing the latest 1.9 on your VPS. Then you might be able to compare the difference in speed because you already have a sense of how responsive your 2.4 is. Create a database, then install 1.9 with its own unique folders, such as moodledata19, and moodle19. Make sure not to put anything into your 2.4 folders.
Hardware and performance
Ease of access of users with low bandwidth/poor computer resources to 1.9.19 vs. 2.4+
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