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Author Topic: hosting: moving away from shared, and into Virtual Private Servers (VPS)?  (Read 6850 times)

urlwolf

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My year with my current Host is expiring, and I have to pay full (i.e. no coupons) to renew). I have seen that for a little more you can get into Virtual Private Servers (VPS):
http://www.webhostma...com/bg/review_vp.asp

This seems pretty cool!
Have you had any experiences with VPS?

Veign

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I have been on VPS with GoDaddy for the past year and would never go back to shared hosting again.  Just understand that you are responsible for the server and the admin of the server which, in some cases, can be tricky...

tinjaw

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I have much experience with VPS. 80% of the time you can answer the question "should I get a VPS?" by answering the question "can you handle system administration of all aspects of a linux/windows/BSD that is sitting exposed on the internet 24x7?". If you can answer yes to that question, then you should get a VPS. If you can't, then I suggest you just get a feature rich web hosting account and start playing with linux/windows/BSD in your spare time until you can comfortable run your own server of your at home internet connection 24x7.

If you can safely and competently administer a VPS server, then there are some other things you should keep in mind.

With a VPS, you are paying for versatility, often at the expense of performance for popular tasks. For example, an inexpensive web hosting account will probably provide better performance for serving up static web pages and low-end PHP/CGI/Perl scripts. That is because the shared web hosting server is tuned for such work and probably has much better hardware.

Some VPS accounts are process/bandwidth sliced enough that you can't really run IRC daemons etc., even if allowed under licensing. You almost, without a doubt, cannot run a game server for more than two or three connections, if at all.

There are several other items, but in general:
1) If you are considering renting a dedicated server or collocating in the next 6-18 months, consider a VPS as a test run.
2) If you just want to play with a dedicated server without the cost of one, and you have the skills, consider a VPS.
3) If you just are an advanced user of hosting services, move up to a better web hosting account with more features, and don't deal with the hassles of updating, keeping secure, etc. that goes with VPSs.

urlwolf

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Quote
"can you handle system administration of all aspects of a linux/windows/BSD that is sitting exposed on the internet 24x7?"
I have done quite a lot of linux sysadmin stuff, and I know that you can easily spend a whole weekend just updating and cheking dependencies for new software. I have NOT done much re: "exposed on the internet 24x7" which sounds like a whole new level of potential problems.

Quote
With a VPS, you are paying for versatility, often at the expense of performance for popular tasks. For example, an inexpensive web hosting account will probably provide better performance for serving up static web pages and low-end PHP/CGI/Perl scripts. That is because the shared web hosting server is tuned for such work and probably has much better hardware.
Well. I was expecting having better, not worse, performance. This is news. For example, having ruby on rails and the ability to install gems is one of the reasons I want root access (it simplifies installation). RoR could be pretty intensive on the host.

There are hosts that provide "out of the box" RoR environments with mongrel etc. Dreamhost, my current host, does support RoR but the reviews are mixed.

RoR is not the only issue. Having several IPs can be very good,and being independent from your neighborhood is nice.

But you are right that, on paper, storage, bandwith etc is lower for the same $$ in VPS vs. shared. I was expecting better performance for VPS, mind you...

Thanks!

urlwolf

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on the other hand, some VPS share the kernel, so much of the updates, config problems, etc are their resposability. Plus some, like liquidweb, offer one-click install/updates with fantastico. I guess one could run a VPS leaving all the sysadmin stuff to the host. Again, with no VPS experience, I have no idea.

tinjaw

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on the other hand, some VPS share the kernel, so much of the updates, config problems, etc are their resposability.

That sounds possible, but I have not heard of such a thing. The domain 0 kernel is maintained by the hosting provider, but the domain 1 kernel is maintained by you. They will provide you with the base install, but it is up to you to patch it, etc. Similarly, there will be a firewall maintained by the hosting provider for the bare metal server your VPS resides on, but it will be up to you to maintain your own firewall, ACLs, etc.

Plus some, like liquidweb, offer one-click install/updates with fantastico. I guess one could run a VPS leaving all the sysadmin stuff to the host. Again, with no VPS experience, I have no idea.

In those cases, you are probably going to have automated installations work fine until you decide to customize something. This is no different than prepackaged RPMs and similar means.

tinjaw

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Well. I was expecting having better, not worse, performance. This is news. For example, having ruby on rails and the ability to install gems is one of the reasons I want root access (it simplifies installation). RoR could be pretty intensive on the host.

There are hosts that provide "out of the box" RoR environments with mongrel etc. Dreamhost, my current host, does support RoR but the reviews are mixed.

Yes, the reviews are going to be mixed depending on how crowded the servers are an what the hosted accounts are doing. You get what you pay for. Paying more (should) get you on servers that are less crowded and offer more CPU time and bandwidth per hosted account. If there support service is good you can also asked to be moved to a different server if you complain that it is slow and they check and their numbers agree that it is slow.

Having several IPs can be very good,and being independent from your neighborhood is nice.

Well, if you have a VPS, you will still not be independent of your neighborhood. You will still be on a subnet and if that subnet has problem children and is blocked, your VPS will be too. And non-VPS hosting accounts also offer static independent IPs if you want them. So IPs is really a moot point.

mouser

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my experience with VPS has been like tinjaw, they will set it up for you and get your OS configured in the begining, then it's up to you to keep it updated, etc.

however, a major difference in hosts is how friendly and willing (and able!!) the tech support are with regarding to helping with such stuff.  in my experience, unless you are very good and enjoy diagnosing hosting problems, pay extra for better support.  liquidweb doesnt have the fastest tech support, but they are knowledgable, and that can go a long way.

iphigenie

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Any OS that is on a VPS will have one of your automated software install system and a version of something like webmin and other tools to allow you to configure it.

They probably won't have cpanel or similar at the low end of the price tag list because those have costs associated - but if you want a fully managed server then you are probably better off with a really good hosting plan or a managed server, not a vps.

If on the other hand you wish you had a dedicated server so you can tweak it just right and install non standard things etc. but you can't quite justify the cost, then a vps might be just the ticket.

f0dder

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Btw there are multiple ways to run a VPS, isn't there? Full virtualization like vmware, hybrid thing like XEN, and iirc the BSD family has some super jailing feature that isn't exactly virtualization but does offer isolation.
- carpe noctem

iphigenie

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Most rentable vps are of the xen variety or jails.

I have a toy server BSD jail and it's a lovely server to mess about with, install things, remove things, reset to blank state...

gammaray1

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I've been using a Windows VPS with Godaddy for about 3 months and have to say it's horrible.  You are are the mercy of everyone else that's using other VPS's on the same physical server.  My server is getting "rebooted" constantly but I expect it's not just my server and actually the physical server.  Twice now my server has run out of memory and CPU, yet I know it's not actually my VPS since the ONLY thing it does is serve up an ASP based WAP site with a max of 15 users online.  To give an idea of it's usage, since Jan 1 I have only used 1.3G of bandwidth on the site, clearly not a big hitter  :)  compared to my dedicated servers that do 15-30GB/day

I have a  number of dedicated servers that I run the real stuff on (all Linux) and have never had any problems with them.  Dedicated is the way to go!!


iphigenie

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I have had less-than-good experiences with godaddy in almost all non-domain services I tried

Of course dedicated is the way to go if you can justify the cost but around here dedicated start at about £49 and a good VPS around £12 so if your needs are actually mostly covered by the capacity of a shared server but you want the control