Cheap ISP supporting virtual domains sought ...
July 31, 2010 3:04 AM   Subscribe

Cheap ISP providing support for virtual domains?

We've currently got an excessive number (as in a bakers dozen) of servers via ICD Soft in Hong Kong. ICD Soft provides seriously great support, but their product offering is relatively simple and straightforward. As a result we've ended up purchasing a distinct (virtual) server for each domain name we bring up. Hardly frugal, as you might expect.

We'd like to migrate to an ISP that will effectively sell us a chunk of a a machine, then let us allocate those resources as we see fit. Not interested in Colo where we provide the hardware, we'd rather purchase this and leave support to the ISP.

We need the LAMP stack, with cgi-bin access, anonymous ftp, preferably cpanel (or equiv) and not a whole lot else. Precisely 10 GB storage overall would do us, as would about 20GB / month bandwidth. We'd prefer an ISP that is not too expensive should either suddenly surge, as sometimes we're hosting digital media (videos of conferences or seminars, all above board) and pages get hit a lot in a short period of time. We're looking for an ISP that will allow us to subdivide the resources such that each domain can appear to be hosted on a unique machine. I think this is pretty standard these days, but I'm not really an Internet type of person and have no idea where to look, hence this query.

Even with a resellers account we're paying $42.35 per year for a single (virtual) machine with 1GB storage / 20GB bandwidth.

Final points - we like a fairly large, stable company with a solid track record. And for reasons not germane to this query, the ISP must be located outside the United States.

Thanks for your help !
posted by Mutant to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Almost any VPS (virtual private server, also seen as VDS - virtual dedicated server) provider in the industry can give you exactly what you want.

My favorite for this is SliceHost - You create a virtual server with the specs you need, and you get full system control as if it were your own dedicated server. Root access, access to anything you want to do.
posted by Rendus at 3:13 AM on July 31, 2010 [2 favorites]

Rendus is correct - just set your Apache vhosts file and point all the domain names to the same IP address.

If you need to run SSL servers for several of your domains, you might need more than one IP address though, to support people with out-of-date browsers.
posted by Mike1024 at 3:32 AM on July 31, 2010

Linode offers Xen VPS servers similar to SliceHost but they also offer servers in the UK. I believe SliceHost only has servers in the US. In my experience Linode's support is top notch and their offerings are a bit more generous than SliceHost.
posted by ChrisHartley at 7:51 AM on July 31, 2010

Seconding Linode. Linode beats the pants off other VPS providers. $240/year for the smallest VPS they offer and you can host as many domains as you like (DNS, HTTP, SMTP/IMAP, Jabber, etc, it's a VPS, so do whatever you want).

I'm a happy customer for several years, but there's no referral link here, so there's no financial gain for me.
posted by Brian Puccio at 8:41 AM on July 31, 2010

I use Linode and have had good experiences as well:

sometimes we're hosting digital media (videos of conferences or seminars, all above board)

I don't know what your requirements are, if the videos are behind some sort of authorization wall this won't work obviously, but I decided to just host on Youtube and embed the videos.
posted by geoff. at 9:48 AM on July 31, 2010

I like Linode and am a customer. They recently upgraded the RAM in their plans, which is generally the bottleneck in VPS hosting. After the announcement, I rebooted the server, and bam, more memory. They have decent documentation and support, however cpanel is not an option unless you install it yourself. You can buy extra IPs if the sites really need to appear independent to close inspection.

Linode is based in the US, and while they have offerings in the UK, I'm guessing anyone wanting specifically non-US hosts is concerned about jurisdictional issues. You might want to ask your legal counsel if this is good enough.

Pricing wise, there's one thing you might be interested in: they offer discounts for upfront payment. 10 percent for 1 year and 15 percent for 2 years. If you need to cancel, you get a prorated refunded as if you never had the discount, which is a bit arm twisty but better than the "unbreakable" alternative. What I did was pay monthly while I was building the system up and convert once I was sure what I had met my needs.
posted by pwnguin at 10:53 AM on July 31, 2010

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