Looking for a VPS provider for a non-coder
February 11, 2007 10:57 AM   Subscribe

Looking for a VPS provider for a non-coder

I am looking for VPS that offers cpanel/WHM pre-installed and supported with upgrades. Most all of the sites are simple weblogs or personal pages.

I am looking to split ~35 sites between two VPS services. I am already using http://powervps.com/ and would like to find a comparable service to use in addition. I have learned not to rely on a single hosting service for all my needs.

While I can do simple command-line work, I am not capable of installing and updating cpanel/WHM on my own. I am looking for a service that manages any security upgrades for me.

Previous AskMefi questions have focused on VPS that allow you to choose what OS to use and assume you can install what you want after that. I do not have those skills.
posted by Argyle to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've been nothing but happy with FutureHost.biz. Select their "Managed VPS" server and you'll have cPanel and some great support. They've gotten back to me with some low-level questions on my unmanaged non-cpanel VPS very quickly.

Alternately, get an unmanaged cPanel VPS and hire a server administrator that for a few bucks a month will monitor and help you support the servers.
posted by SpecialK at 11:03 AM on February 11, 2007

http://www.httpme.com has worked very well for me. (List of plans, including VPS).
posted by null terminated at 11:16 AM on February 11, 2007

I know what VPS is. But how is it better than shared hosting? Lots of VPS solutions give only about 256MB of RAM. Is that enough to run a PHP/MySQL-driven site (ExpressionEngine, to be specific) effectively? Will a site hosted on a VPS account be able to handle more traffic?
posted by lunarboy at 11:20 AM on February 11, 2007

lunarboy: Yes, it's enough to handle quite a bit of traffic, actually. Most of the VPS engines (I prefer Virtuozzo, which futurehosting.biz uses, although I've actually also had great experience with a Xen site -- that contradicts most of what people say about Xen) will allow you to "burst" RAM up, and then dial you back as the traffic dies down.

Web servers were initially created in the days when 16 MB of RAM was a *lot*. Static web content takes almost nothing to serve quickly, same with cached pages. If you're looking at cPanel, which is stuck back on Apache 1.3 due to cPanel SUCKING ASS, then you actually get the bonus of possibly having a pretty lightweight install depending on how your host has configured cPanel.

The other thing that's nice about a VPS is that it's much harder to get your server's IP labelled as a spammer and blacklisted off the face of the 'net. I ran into that on a constant basis -- at least once monthly -- while I was with Lunarpages, site5, and the other virtual hosts I tried.

If you expect a lot of traffic, I'd really suggest making sure you have PHP-APC or another caching solution in front of mod_php (but that's not available with cPanel), as well as running ligHTTPd on a higher port to serve static content like images. (also not available on cPanel...)

Of course, there's no replacement for a competent server admin. That's why I have a job. cPanel really, really sucks and limits what you're able to do if you get any level of slashdotting, digging or whatnot hitting your site.
posted by SpecialK at 11:30 AM on February 11, 2007

SpecialK: Thanks! So if I want to have a caching solution, would Plesk work? cPanel and Plesk are the 2 most popular installs I see...
posted by lunarboy at 1:17 PM on February 11, 2007

What control panel you use shouldn't have much to do with caching. Caching for more complex web apps tends to be done at the application level, because only the application knows if conditions have changed. Basic caching (that uses the expires HTTP header) can be configured via apache with mod_cache. In particular, read this page (the "What can be cached?" section in particular) to get a better understanding of what caching will actually do for you.
posted by devilsbrigade at 1:33 PM on February 11, 2007

lunarboy - devilsbridge is right. The Advanced PHP Cache, or APC, is only compatible with php 5.1.6+. The problem with control panels in general is that they don't allow you to have control over what versions of software you're running -- THEY want to control what version of mod_php and apache that you're running to make it 'easier' for you ... and supportable for them. This is great from a support standpoint, but this is horrible from a user standpoint because you lose the ability to upgrade away from small bugs (like PHP-PDO's random segfaulting in php< 5.2 when you have the mysql 4 client libraries installed...) that 99% of users don't care about. br>
So if it's possible for you, fly without a control panel, or find one (Caveat: I don't know of one) that provides a login and a menu for basic web-based stuff ... without trying to take over the entire box. It's much better for you and your users in the long run if you don't just magically trust a control panel to run your server for you.
posted by SpecialK at 2:19 PM on February 11, 2007

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