UK VPS vs Shared hosting
September 25, 2010 12:54 PM   Subscribe

Super reliable UK shared or VPS hosting for low volume site?

I have a low volume site which requires super reliable uptime. I have had a few problems with shared hosting, regarding downtime. I am wondering if upgrading to a VPS will solve these issues, though I don't particularly need the extra control a VPS affords.

The shared hosting has been hacked a couple of times, and sometimes has downtime lasting up to two hours. But would a VPS at the same host have the same problems?

Perhaps I would be better off finding a more reliable shared host, rather than upgrading . Or perhaps I have unrealistic expectations of shared hosting, and VPS is the only way to go.

reccomendations welcome. UK is essential for SEO reasons....
posted by choppyes to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Linode with a UK box; you can choose your location. Simply having a VPS isn't, however, going to solve any security problems unless you manage security on the box - which is your job when you have a VPS.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:06 PM on September 25, 2010

I used EUKHost a while back for shared hosting for a small, resource minimal site and they were actually pretty impressive. I probably wouldn't want to try and run Drupal on it, but for something simple I'd recommend them.
posted by Hartster at 1:31 PM on September 25, 2010

DarlingBri - But maybe it would be more secure from being isolated from other domains? i don't think it was my actual files that were hacked....r

Hartster - I am actually with EUKhost now, but as my joomla site gets more comlpex, I'm having problems. Is a VPS important for Drupal from a performence/uptime point of view? I don't need anything beyond cpanel to admin my site.....
posted by choppyes at 2:47 PM on September 25, 2010

Upgrading to a VPS from shared hosting will not solve uptime problems because VPS *is* shared hosting. Granted, it looks like a dedicated server, but there's still multiple VPS instances running on the same physical hardware, and the shared resources -- especially processor and network interface -- can, in many setups, be pretty quickly monopolized by other VPS units on your hardware.

Moving to a VPS on a different host might help, if that host puts fewer customers on the same physical hardware or monitors their usage more closely, but that's not a function of a VPS, it's a function of a better host.

If you absolutely need uptime, you want a managed, dedicated server. You will pay for it, probably handsomely, but if you "require[] super reliable uptime", the only way to guarantee that is to get other people off of the hardware you're using.

You might also look into using a cloud computing alternative, which might work better -- I've used Amazon EC2 and, while somewhat pricey, I had no issues with downtime or server resources I needed being unavailable.
posted by toomuchpete at 4:42 PM on September 25, 2010

Is a VPS important for Drupal from a performence/uptime point of view? I don't need anything beyond cpanel to admin my site

Yeah, I've never tried to run Drupal on a shared host (although I have on a few cloud hosts like MediaTemple and Rackspace) but the most important things you need for Drupal in terms of performance are:
  1. decent memory limits for PHP - I try and give PHP at least 96MB of memory. My suspicion is some shared hosts may prevent you changing that via htaccess
  2. a good MySQL database with low latency, as each page can result in 100+ queries. If your visitors are "anonymous", you can run a module like Boost (which caches pages as static html so you never hit PHP or MySQL) and get good performance for visitors on pretty low-end hardware
I don't think a VPS is essential for small sites, but I can see you running into issues depending on complexity: the more queries and modules you run, the more MySQL and memory is getting to get hit.

I'd definitely recommend trying out EC2 or Rackspace Cloud Sites or Linode before getting a VPS. You can spin up an instance for a couple of cents an hour and see how you get on. For EC2 and Linode there'll be AMIs/Stackscripts that include apache+php+mysql+joomla for a really quick start. I've never tried loading CPanel on them, but there'll be guides on how to do so, plus again you may find an AMI that includes it.

(There'll definitely be plenty of places saying that CPanel is a massive resource hog and that if you're using VPS/Cloud Servers you should stick to the command line).
posted by Hartster at 4:07 AM on September 27, 2010

I like linode (no referral link here, so they won't get money from this reccomendation) because I don't have to worry about shared CPU problems. From their FAQ:
How do I get my fair share of CPU?
We limit the number of Linodes placed on each host machine. We also only place one plan type on each host. In the worst-case scenario, you're splitting CPU time evenly with your fellow Linoders, but are still able to use the full potential of the host if others are idle.
They also mention how they load their servers in their FAQ as well.

To be honest, the biggest "sharing" issue that toomuchpete doesn't mention is disk IO. Years ago they had a IO token system, now that everything is running on Xen, so no IO Tokens as they used to be, but run heavy IO for a while and you will to get bogged down.

While toomuchpete mentions using cloud computing, you're still "sharing" a server then with other Amazon customers. I'd even argue that since people approach Amazon with the mentality of "I'll spin up more servers when I'm under load" that means that all other EC2 instances you're sharing a server with are more likely to be under full load which means less for you (though again, like Linode, you'll still have access to your slice of the phyiscal hardware).

I've posted this link twice before on MeFi, I think, but here it is again: VPS benchmarks. This was run before Linode increased the RAM in all of their plans 42%, so I imagine the results now will be even more impressive.

Like toomuchpete and his Amazon EC2 experience, I have had no issues with downtime (99.998% for the past year) or server resources on Linode. EC2 looks nice, but until their prices match Linode's and their performance beats Linode's, I have no reason to move. I pay for what I use and can spin up another VPS or migrate to a larger one instantly, just like EC2.

I can speak to running Drupal on shared hosting. I manage a dozen small (independent) Drupal sites and host most of them on Linode. I have had two people insist that they use their shard hosting (in this case, DreamHost and HostGator) and performance was not nearly as good and I found the shared hosts to be missing software I wanted (e.g., Git, etc) that I could not install due to the nature of shared hosting.
posted by Brian Puccio at 7:23 AM on September 27, 2010

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