Moving to VPS
October 13, 2004 8:05 AM   Subscribe

Fed-Up-With-My-WebHostFilter: Is it time to move to VPS? What are your experiences with VPS or dedicated servers? When did you make the switch from shared hosting? How much time per month would you say you spend on administration duties? [mi]

The current web space I'm using for the sites I work on is space bought off of a reseller I found through a collegue 2 years back. At the time it was the ideal solution as I needed some extra bells that most shared hosting plans weren't providing at the time (now said bells are pretty much included in a standard install).

However I grow increasingly frustrated with this guy as there have been various problems with email. Each time I had a problem (emails bouncing, not downloading, etc) his response was to move my account to a new server. This would have been only mildly irritating if the transfer script he used actually copied everything, but it continually buggered my database, forcing me to dump and recreate by hand. A mild pain in the ass, to be sure, but it irritates me to no end that I would read the docs concerning say Enim, email him with "I have this problem FOO strating from 0000-00-00; According to the docs it could be being caused by BAR or CAR. Can you look into this for me?" and his only response is to move servers.

This does not inspire confidence in one's hosting provider. He also has the irritating habit of not notifiying me when hardward maintainence will be performed.

I now have a side project who's current space is inadequate and outdated; they have agreed to move servers on my recommendation. So I have a grocery list and have been researching plans and such, none of which seem to be 100% right. A few have come close but failed the "FooBar sucks" googling test. I'm beginng to wonder if getting my own reseller plan or VPS might not be a better option, but I am not fluent in *nix-ese as of yet. I know enough to set up my Win box as a semi-clone of the hosting space I currently use (Apache/OpenSSL/PHP/Perl/MySql etc.) so I would hazard a guess that I know just enough to be dangerous. As the respective budgets are tight enough to exclude a/an un/managed dedicated server, VPS packages are looking rather attractive. But I wonder if that would be getting in over my head for now?
posted by romakimmy to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I've just noticed that Dreamhost have another of their very nice promotions on at the moment - it's not a virtual server, but there's a hell of a lot of bandwidth and capacity on their current "code monster" offering.

I've been using them for the last year (I got in on the super-cheap "strictly business" when they were discounting that) and they've been very solid. Support is good, but not all that quick (24-48 hour turnaround).

Before that I had a virtual server with dsvr.co.uk - which ended up being more than I needed. Expensive, but the support was absolutely fantastic - responses within a few hours on weekdays. All the bits and pieces on the server were more up to date than dreamhost was at the time too (latest PHP, GD libraries, etc).
posted by cell at 9:07 AM on October 13, 2004


Maintaining a virtual server is pretty simple; every host I've seen provides a GUI control panel of one sort or another (e.g. plesk) for the usual admin tasks (adding/removing domains, email addresses, etc.)

My host uses Ensim, which works fine for me; the only times I've run into trouble are when I tried to outsmart the GUI and do something from the command line: sometimes there's some extra magic required beyond what you'd normally do on a "real" server, which the GUI takes care of for you. Also some config files are tucked away in nonstandard locations, so I always have to keep notes on where httpd.conf and my log files are hidden.

As long as you know how to move files around and set permissions, you should be fine.
posted by ook at 9:08 AM on October 13, 2004


I've been trying out VPSs at a few companies. I think a small VPS with control panel is exactly what you're looking for. One highly recommended company is VPSColo, and another really good one (who actually upgraded my account for free yesterday, after I signed up for an account with a poor quality control panel called Confixx) is PowerVPS. I'd recommend either CPanel or DirectAdmin as a control panel. CPanel is more popular, but I think DirectAdmin takes less memory, is faster, and more secure. Both companies have superb service, and good pricing.

VPSs are a bit of a hobby for me. I'm trying to compile a guide for new users, to help explain what they're all about and make it easier for people to decide which one they like. I've only just started, but if you want to check it out, it's here.
posted by websavvy at 9:47 AM on October 13, 2004


Thanks for the info everyone. Websavvy, excellent start to your guide.
posted by romakimmy at 8:14 AM on October 14, 2004 [1 favorite]


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